Built in 1857 the Grinter House is the oldest home in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Located near the historic Delaware Crossing, (also known as the “Military Crossing”) on the Kansas River the historic home was built by Moses and Annie Grinter who were some of the first settlers in the area.
Moses Grinter first moved to the Kansas Territory from Kentucky in 1828 and started to operate a ferry on the Kansas River around 1831. Being on the Military Road between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Scott, the ferry was used by travelers, fur traders, soldiers and freighters who traveled this important road. From 1855 to 1960 Mr. Grinter also operated a trading post selling some 160 different types of goods to the Delaware Indians in exchange for cash and furs.
Being the first permanent white settler in what is now Wyandotte County, Mr. Grinter originally build a log cabin where he lived with his half-Delaware wife Annie “Marshall” Grinter. They originally lived in a log cabin until the current brick home was built in 1857. In addition to the ferry and trading post the Grinter’s also farmed, raised poultry and livestock and had an apple orchard. Mrs. Grinter was one of approxiamently 25 Delaware women who became U.S citizens when Kansas became a state.
The Grinter site was also home to the first non-military post office in Kansas. The Delaware post office opened on September 10, 1850. Later in 1856 the post office was renamed Secondine.
The Grinter House sits on eight acres of land on a hill overlooking the Kansas River. The two story house is built of red, home-Kilned brick which was used for both exterior and interior walls. The design of the home has been called a “colonial, southern type farm house” and was patterned after a Kentucky farmhouse build by Mr. Grinter’s uncle.
The house originally had a separate kitchen that was connected to the main house by a “dog run” which was later enclosed. Most of the rooms in the house are square and many have basically the same dimensions being about 18 feet square. The main floor has a parlor, dining room, central hall and the kitchen. Upstairs there are two bedrooms and a central hall. Covered porches are featured on both the north and south sides of the home.
Walnut and White Pine woodwork adorn the interior of the home with the millwork for the columns and cornice molding being done in St. Louis. The home features five fireplaces designed with shallow fireboxes to help heat the home and prevent the rooms from being filled with smoke.
The Grinters lived in the home until their deaths. Mr. Grinter died in 1878 and his wife in 1905. After that property remained in the Grinter family until 1950 when it was sold to a family that operated a chicken dinner restaurant there until the mid-1960’s. In 1971 the state of Kansas bought the property and it is now operated by the Kansas Historical Society as the Grinter Place State Historic Site. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
Hours of operation:
9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students.
Grinter Place State Historic Site
1400 South 78th Street
Kansas City, Kansas