Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm is located in Olathe, Kansas and was an important stop along the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails as well as a stagecoach stop on the Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach line.
Originally part of a 160 acre farm purchased in 1858 by J.B. and Lucinda Mahaffie, the stagecoach stop and farm is now owned and operated as a living history site by the City of Olathe, Kansas. It is one of just a few original stagecoach stops on the Santa Fe Trail left and the only one that is open to the public.
The Mahaffie’s moved to Kansas from Indiana in 1857 and already owned about 200 acres in the area when they purchased the 160 acre farm located at that time about a mile outside the city limits of Olathe. They moved a small frame home from downtown Olathe to the newly acquired farm and lived in it for about seven years until the current two story stone home was completed in 1865.
Their new farm was strategically located on the “Westport Route” which carried traffic for all three trails, Santa Fe, Oregon and California that left from Westport, MO. From 1863 to 1869 the Mahaffie’s operated a stagecoach stop for the Barlow and Sanderson Stage Line providing both livery services as well as meals for the passengers.
The Barlow and Sanderson Stagecoach Line had routes that ran from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Scott as well as one that carried mail and passengers from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The basement of the Mahaffie’s stone farm house was built to serve as a kitchen and dining hall for the stagecoach passengers. During the time of peak travel Lucinda Mahaffie, her daughters and hired help could serve between 50-100 meals a day. As the passengers grabbed a quick bite to eat the livery hands switched the stagecoaches team of horses with a fresh set and very soon the stage would be on its way again.
Completed in 1865 the two story stone house is made from two foot thick limestone blocks that were quarried on the farm. Other remaining original buildings on the farm include the stone ice house which was also built in 1865 and the original timber framed barn which is the oldest building left on the farm having been built around 1860. All three of these historic buildings are listed on the National and Kansas Registers of Historic Places and the farm is also a designated by the National Park Service as a part of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.
While the stagecoach business was an important part of the Mahaffie’s daily life they were still first and foremost farmers which allowed them to continue even once the railroad reached Olathe in 1869 and local stagecoach operations were no longer needed. Mr. Mahaffie served on the board of directors for one of the early railroad companies in the area.
James Beatty and Lucinda Mahaffie lived on the farm until 1886 after which the farm was sold six times before the City of Olathe purchased 20 acres with the 1865 stone house on it in 1979. Since then they have added additional land and restored the farm so it can operate as a working 19th century farm. The site features an in house blacksmith as well as other era-specific artisans. Visitors can also ride a stagecoach and see seasonal farming activities.
The Mahaffie Farm hosts several special events each year with one of the largest being their annual Wild West Show and Bullwhacker Days held each September. This event is full of fun activities and features reenactors, trick shot artists, gun fights, trick rope artists, chuck wagon cookout contests and many other activities and events. The farm also hosts a free Christmas open house on the first Saturday in December.
In addition to the original farm buildings there are also other recreated or restored period correct buildings on the site as well as a modern Heritage Center which features space for special events or exhibits as well as some permanent historical exhibits including a short film about the Mahaffie family as well as the history of Olathe and Johnson County.
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm
1100 Kansas City Road
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Image Gallery