This virtual online tour will give you some highlights of our 14 building Museum. The walking tour of the grounds take about one to two hours. So plan to come early and enjoy your visit.
the video on the Last Indian Raid in Kansas, which occurred in Decatur and
Rawlins Counties on Sept. 30th and Oct. 1st of 1879.
A lot of the artifacts you see in this room were found in the county.
Enjoy the arrowhead collection on the walls. Note the fishhooks, sewing needles, pipes, and grinding
stones the Indians devised to make their life simpler.
Oriental Gem Grand piano is from the 1860’s era. Note the pearl inlaid design above the keys.
The Edison phonograph is perhaps the most original of all Edison’s
ideas. Also called the Standard
talking machine from the 1880’s. It
played the cylinder disks. This
room also contains early day radios, sheet music, records, the wind up Victrola,
player piano, melodeon, and other instruments used to entertain the early day
Parlor—a room used mostly for entertaining.
Quilt Room—a display of sewing items, sewing boxes, quilts, and other
handiwork that the pioneer women were so talented at.
Dining Room—The china is called Flo Blue and was made in Europe in the late
1880’s. You saw other patterns in
the front office. The design was
stamped on and then glazed over. The
glazing caused the ink to bleed onto the white body of the piece when it was
fired in the kiln. The buffet is
called a fan front sideboard because of the beveled glass inlay.
Child’s Room—The quilt called a YO-YO was made in about 1930.
In the 1800’s it was called a penny puff.
Pennies would be placed in the puffs and placed in front of the fire to
warm them. The cradle is handmade, and the clothing hand stitched and
Master Bedroom—The furniture is made from birds-eye maple and
belonged to the Rodehaver family. The
Rodehavers were among the earliest settlers in the county and credited with
naming our town Oberlin, after their hometown of Oberlin, Ohio.
Step into the general store and browse. A general store can very easily be described as the “Wal-Mart” of the 1880’s. It sold everything from A –Z and was also a meeting place for the community as well as the post office.
we have books dating back to the 1700’s.
Much more reading was done before the technology era of television and
is a collection of cameras, early day photos, tintypes, and stereoscopes.
Wooton desk is one of our most prized possessions. A Quaker minister, Rev. William Wooton, patented it in
1874. It is constructed of three
types of wood; mahogany, maple and pine. If
you are interested please feel free to take one of the postcards.
kitchen was the main area of activity in early homes.
Life was made easier after water could be pumped directly into the homes.
Note some of the interesting items: churns, coffee grinder, potato
mashers, butter molds, and crumb scrapers.
The tin canister set is unique. It
was bought in 1901 from a tinware salesman for $12.98. The money was earned by gathering buffalo bones on the
prairie and hauling to the railhead to sell.
Before the automated telephone system operators would
answer an incoming telephone call and connect it manually to the party being
As you continue around the corner and OUT through the side door you will see many other interesting artifacts and the “Hawkeye” exhibit. Hawkeye was an early day community in the county.
This building was one of the early day grocery stores in Oberlin. In 1934 Cliff Marrietta bought the business and was known as Duke’s as Mr. Marrietta wished to be called.
As you pass by the garden notice the limestone posts, these were used as fence posts where they were plentiful in central Kansas. The sod house was built in 1958 on the Museum grounds. It was plastered over in 1967 for preservation. Inside you can envision what true pioneer life was like.
two different sides of this building house the larger items you might have found
in a general store, everything from kerosene stoves to farm equipment.
next stop will be the depot that was built in 1885. One side is set up much like it was in early days and the
other houses a tremendous tool collection.
The depot was the busiest spot in town in the homestead days as it was
the main form of transportation.
Phillips Service Station was opened at the intersection of highways 36 and 83 in
February of 1934. The
building was moved to the Museum grounds after 60 years of use.
rural school was built in 1922. Can
you imagine a teacher in charge of 8 grades each with a different daily lesson?
South Wall Exhibits
you continue around the room you will see other displays of interest---the animal
section, the toy room, and exhibit displaying Oberlin memorabilia.
Watch the video and you can realize the town’s progress.
your left is Oberlin’s first jail built in 1885.
building was moved from Jennings and was the doctor’s office.
building was also moved from Jennings and was the land office of Brock and Tacha.
building was moved from 20 miles southeast of Oberlin.
It was build it in 1906 by the Bohemian Lodge members.
Mark’s Lutheran Church---our newest building, was built in 1888 and was moved
1) As you enter the livery on your right you will see
the blacksmith shop. The
“Smithy” spent his time either making horseshoes or wagon wheels or fixing
the same. The tools of his trade
can be found in this stall.
Next stall is the tack. Saddles,
bridles, leather goods and horse related items.
Third stall you will find the wood working tools of a carpenter.
The pioneers built all of their own furniture no matter how crude and
many new settlers brought their woodworking tools along with them into the Wild
The last stall is full of farm related items essential to the early farmer.
Notice the corn sheller, wheat flails, cream separator, wheat cradle, and
wheelbarrow to gather the buffalo chips for fuel.
Along the south wall you will recognize an old drill,
which planted wheat between the cornrows, sod plows, sleigh, sparking buggy,
surrey with the fringe on top and stagecoach.
See what was used to keep warm in the wintertime, horse and buffalo hide
coats and foot warmers.
The old intertype press was used to set the type in the
Oberlin Herald up until 1974. The
other press was used in the school. We
go from the old print shop right into the computer era. Remember the time without computers??
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