Olathe, KS

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site in Olathe, Kansas

CJ Coombs

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J. B. Mahaffie house.Photo by Rmprit, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1857, James and Lucinda Mahaffie left Indiana and arrived in Olathe, Kansas in two covered wagons and a buggy to purchase the site of farm property that is available to the public today. They had five children and one nephew who was an orphan. What once was their 340-acre farm was very prosperous from the 1860s through the early 1870s. Residents of Olathe, Kansas refer to this property as the Mahaffie Farmstead.

The Mahaffie farm was also located on what was called the "Westport Route" of the Santa Fe Trail. The travelers that left what was then Westport, Missouri, would cross over what we now refer to as the Kansas City metropolitan area en route for the Oregon, California, or Santa Fe Trails.

The Mahaffies contracted with Barlow, Sanderson and Company Stagecoach Line providing travelers a place to stop. Mrs. Mahaffie orchestrated the provision of meals and while travelers were eating, the stage coach's horses were exchanged for fresh ones.

It is believed the Mahaffies started serving travelers from their first home as early as 1858. By 1864, coaches began using the farm as a stop. Late in 1865 and until about 1870, coach passengers and other hungry travelers took their meals in the basement of the 'new' stone farmhouse, designed to serve as a kitchen and dining hall. (Source.)

Eventually, the railroad arrived in 1869. In the mid-1880s, the Mahaffies retired. They purchased a home in Olathe. Twenty years later in 1903, Lucinda Mahaffie passed away. Four years later, her husband passed away. Mr. Mahaffie lived to the age of 90. His obituary can be found online. They are both buried in Olathe Memorial Cemetery.

Although the property had several owners since then, in 1979, it was purchased by the City of Olathe for the purpose of preserving the property and operating a museum.

The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site is the only working stagecoach stop left along the Santa Fe Trail. It demonstrates the important role of small farmsteads (and their owners) in opening trade with New Mexico. (Source.)

The Mahaffie Farmstead today

The Mahaffie's house is now a museum and gift shop. American Civil War reenactments are performed focusing on Bleeding Kansas and bushwhackers.

There is also a street named after the Mahaffies and an elementary school.

The property is operated by the City of Olathe’s Parks and Recreation Department. Nearly 20 acres are left of the original 340-acre farm.

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm is listed on the National and Kansas Registers of Historic Places and is located at 1200 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, Kansas 66061. Click here for more information so you can plan a visit to catch a glimpse of history.

The site does have a Photography Policy that can be reviewed here. There is also a large picnic shelter that can be reserved for large events.

Thank you for reading.

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30 years of legal secretarial experience, and a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. Thinker, giver, and lover of life. Born into Air Force service life, my life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, truth, non-fiction, reading, history, and travel.

Kansas City, MO
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