Our recently remodeled lobby welcomes visitors with a timeline of historical events in Kearny County’s past, tributes to the O’Loughlin Family and charter KCHS members, and collages featuring scenes from early-day Kearny County. Visitors can watch videos covering a variety of topics in the Otis and Mary Lee Molz Theatre. Souvenirs and literature are also available here. Adjacent to the lobby is our town square display where visitors can stroll back in time through the general store, dentist and doctor’s offices, millinery shop, court house, barber shop and numerous other businesses. The museum library and staff offices are also located in the Main Museum.
As visitors step through the main museum doors into the annex, they are transported back to a time when Indians and buffalo roamed the Kansas prairie. In addition to Indian artifacts, the annex also houses an 1831 Conestoga wagon, Santa Fe Trail exhibit, military display, the museum’s fossil exhibit featuring mastodon tusks found in Kearny County in 1981, and much, much more.
The Great White House
Construction on the Great White House began in 1875, making it the oldest home in town. Originally located on the railroad right-of-way near Garfield Street, it was home to Lakin’s depot agent, Alonzo Boylan, and his family. For several years, the house was used for social gatherings including the wedding reception of John and Mary O’Loughlin. The house was eventually acquired by the O’Loughlins and moved to its present location in 1916. The house is currently undergoing major repairs and is open to the public on a limited basis.
Santa Fe Depot
When the Lakin Depot was shut down in 1982, the Historical Society knew the importance of preserving such an important piece of our past. They purchased the depot and moved it to the museum complex where volunteers went to work restoring it and filling it with railroad memorabilia, pictures and equipment. Built in 1882 on the west side of Main Street next to the railroad tracks, the depot was originally a two-story structure with living quarters above and a freight addition in the back. In 1930 the second story was removed, freight room modified, and passenger waiting room moved to the front.
Columbia School House
Our schoolhouse was built in 1893, the year of the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The school’s first teacher, Willard Miller, suggested the name “Columbian” which was used until 1912 when it was renamed “Columbia.” The school originally was located north of Lakin. It was gifted to the historical society by Maybelle Gropp in 1978 and moved to the museum grounds.
The Round Barn
The 12-sided barn was once located about one-half mile west of Lakin. The unique structure was built in 1908 by Robert Glass, a surveyor and superintendent for the Amazon Ditch Company. The barn was restored and moved in 2001. Miscellaneous farm and ranch equipment can be found inside the barn with more implements located outside in the barn and machinery yards.
Deerfield Texaco Station
The Deerfield Texaco Service Station opened in 1923 at a time when petroleum companies were expanding their service to include secondary products such as oil, tires, and mechanical assistance. The station features a “Registered Rest Room,” as well as vintage road maps, petroleum memorabilia and other items of interest.
Visitors to the machinery building will find a one-room sodhouse, grain wagon, oil wagon, vintage fire truck and several antique tractors. Also housed here are assorted dairy items, washing machines, stoves and a barbed wire display.