Explore Olathe’s vibrant past with this collection of compelling documentaries journaling Olathe’s rich historical heritage.
Then, live the history, and visit one of Olathe’s many historical attractions or parks.
Ensor Farm Site and Museum
18995 W. 183rd St. (4 mi. south of Olathe,
1 mile east of 169 Hwy)
- Home of Marshall Ensor, an Olathe teacher and pioneer in amateur radio, this 1892 farm house displays antique furniture, utensils, clothing, quilts, and ham radio equipment.
- Farm also includes a 1890s barn constructed with roughsawed lumber and wood peg beams, picnic facilities, and other structures.
- Open June-Sept., Fri.-Sun., 1-5 p.m. and by appointment. Available for group tours and special events.
Historic Walking And Tour Of Olathe
- Experience Olathe’s rich history. Take a self-guided tour of 37 historic sites - parks, churches, homes, grave sites, D.A.R. markers, and businesses. These historic treasures are pictured in full color and described in a brochure that is available through the Olathe Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau. Maps within the brochure will guide you on a walking tour of downtown or on a driving tour that includes sites outside of downtown. For a copy of the brochure, call the Chamber CVB at 1-800-921-5678.
Lone Elm Park Historic Campsite
167th and Lone Elm Rd
- Visit the spot where the historic Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails converged. Pitch a tent where Kit Carson once slept. Wagon trains, “dragoons” (cavalry soldiers from Fort Scott and Fort Leavenworth), and many others made use of this ideally situated camping spot. Hike trails where emigrants and freighters camped, preparing for their journeys west.
- Explore native prairie wildflowers, too. The park, preserved by the City of Olathe, features interpretive signs that tell the story of Lone Elm campground, as well as recreational facilities, hiking trails, and an impressive stone-and-timber picnic shelter.
- Call for picnic shelter reservations.
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site
1200 Kansas City Rd
- Relive the adventures of early stagecoach passengers traveling the Santa Fe Trail on the Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach Line. The stone farmhouse built by J.B. and Lucinda Mahaffie in 1865 was one of the first stops for westbound travelers using the Westport Route of the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails. Listed on the National Register of Places and recognized as a certified site on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail by the National Park Service, Mahaffie is the only original stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe Trail open to the public.
- Tour the Mahaffie home, which features a full basement that served as the stagecoach dining hall and kitchen.
- See the original Mahaffie timber-frame barn and a unique, two-story stone ice house. Enjoy the working blacksmith shop, special programs, gift shop and ride on a real stagecoach.
- A new addition to the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm, the Heritage Center, features the exhibit “…I knew it was a fine country…” The exhibit tells the stories of the Mahaffie family, Olathe in the 1860s, and the western trails and features a gift shop and other visitor amenities. The Olathe Historical Society presents rotating exhibits on various stories in Olathe history in an adjoining gallery.
- Open year-round. Living history activities, programs and hours vary by season. Go to mahaffie.org or call for hours and programs.
- Admission: $6/adults, $4/children ages 5-11 for full 1860s Living History. Free admission for Thursday nights in June & July from 6pm to 8pm.
William Marra Museum of Deaf History and Deaf Culture
455 E. Park St.
- Discover what it means to be Deaf in America, explore Deaf culture, and learn about the history and accomplishments of Deaf citizens at this one-of-a-kind museum. Interactive modules teach American Sign Language words and provide a fast-paced quiz game that playfully tests what you've experienced.
- Watch videos about Deaf culture, the history of the Kansas School for the Deaf (KSD), and more. Discover how KSD grew with the city, beginning in the early days of Olathe when the school was called the "Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb." Museum displays challenge viewers to see who the Deaf are and how they communicated.
- Operated by the Deaf Cultural Center Foundation, the museum is open weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.