History of The Terwilliger Home
803 W. Main St., - Council Grove, Ks.

Terwilliger Home 1880
     The front part of the Terwilliger Home was built in 1860-61 by Abraham and Mary Rawlinson, who came from England. This limestone house was built on an 80-acre tract bought from the Council Grove Town Co. before the area was platted into blocks and lots. Mr. Rawlinson was then a carpenter, he later became a teamster. The stonework was done by stonemason Philip Morse, who built the Conn Store in 1858 (at 131 W. Main St.) and other buildings in town. The floor joists, roof rafters, and door casings were constructed of walnut, and the original roof shingles also were of walnut.

Kansas Volunteer Infantry
     Kansas was a Territory when the foundation of the house was laid, but before the house was completed, Kansas had become the 34th State. In April, 1861, the Civil War started and in September, house residents James Rawlinson and George Alexander joined the 8th Kansas Infantry Regiment. The Rawlinsons' son-in-law, David Yarnall, joined the 9th Kansas Cavalry Regiment; his wife and child lived in the house while he served in the War. A company of local Kanza (Kaw) Indians also served in the 9th Cavalry, as scouts. George died of disease in Kentucky in 1862; Rawlinson and Yarnall survived the War and returned home.

     The Santa Fe Trail ran directly in front of the house. This was the last house Santa Fe freighters passed leaving Council Grove as late as 1863. Present research indicates that it is the third oldest residence remaining in Council Grove, and the fourth oldest remaining residence located directly on the Santa Fe Trail in Kansas.

     William Riley Terwilliger and his wife, Mary, purchased the house in late 1870. The Terwilligers had come to Morris County in 1859, first owning a ranch along the Santa Fe Trail in the Southwest part of the county. In Council Grove, Mr. Terwilliger dealt in cattle, ran a livery stable and a grain-buying business, and was on the Board of Directors of the first bank in Morris County (the Council Grove Savings Bank), organized in 1870. During the Civil War, he was a Lieutenant in the Morris County Rangers, organized to protect the County from Missouri bushwhackers who were raiding the area. The Terwilliger family moved to Thomas Station, Utah, in 1891.

     The original kitchen was located in the basement of the front part of the house, and had a dirt floor. There was no inside stairways. Probably a wooden porch with an exterior stairway to the second floor was removed when the South wing was built by the Terwilligers shortly after their purchase of the property. An 1873 "Bird's-Eye View" of Council Grove shows the addition.

     In 1907 the stained glass and picture window in the East wall of the front room were added, and some windows and interior walls were changed. Oak flooring was installed in the front room and upstairs. The Northeast bedroom still has the original, wide, pine flooring. The bead-board ceilings in the South wing were plastered. The plaster and lath have now been removed to restore the original wood ceilings. The South half of the East porch was enclosed for a kitchen. By the 1930s, the kitchen on the porch had been converted into a bedroom. The middle room on the main floor then became the kitchen.

Maple Service Station
     In 1927, the main floor of the front of the house was converted to a filling station. The front room was lowered to ground level and new windows and doors were cut into the stone walls. The Maple Service Station started as a Marland Oil Co. station (Marland merged with Conoco in 1929). The canopied gasoline pumps were located just Northeast of the house, with a driveway between the gas pumps and the house. There was an outdoor service pit East of the house. The ground floor housed the filling station office and a small grocery and merchandise area, separated by a partition. The remainder of the house was used as living quarters for the filling station operators, but primarily it was rented out as apartments.

Maple Camp - - Maple Camp
     Starting in 1927, tourists camped on the site, under the shade of the numerous maple trees, which gave birth to the name, "Maple Camp". In 1929, two stuccoed, wood-frame, tourist cabins were constructed South of the house; they were joined into a single unit about 1936-37. It was razed in 1986. In 1930, two more individual tourist cabins, of clay tile and stucco, were constructed near the alley; they were joined into a single unit by a wood-frame addition about 1944. This cabin has been renovated in the art deco style popular in the 1930s. These cabins had no toilets or showers, so those facilities were provided in the basement of the South wing of the stone house.

     In 1943, four duplex cabins, of wood-frame construction, with brick-pattern, roll-asphalt siding, were constructed along the South and West sides of the property; only the South cabin survives. The cabins were constructed to house personnel at the Herington Army Air Field, which trained flight crews and staged 60% of the B-29s which flew during World War II.

Deckard Service Station
     In 1946, Ralph Deckard constructed a concrete block addition on the East side of the stone home, which included an enclosed service bay extending into the North half of the East porch. A canopy was constructed over the driveway. This connected the concrete block addition with the 1927 gas pump canopy. The station closed with Mr. Deckard's retirement at the end of 1977. The concrete block addition was razed in 1993-94.

Restoration of the Terwilliger Home
     In dilapidated condition, the Terwilliger Home faced demolition in 1994. The non-profit Historic Preservation Corporation was formed to purchase the property to restore it. The house has been restored to its appearance in an 1880 photograph, and its 1907 remodeling.

     Very little of the original front room interior materials remained in 1994. The front room has been reconstructed with a combination of new and antique materials. The floor, front doorway, and windows have been restored to their original positions. An inside stairway to the basement was created, but the recessed outline of the original basement doorway is visible at the foot of the present stairway.

Trail Days Bakery Cafe - - #1 - - #2
     In November, 2001, the Trail Days Bakery Cafe opened in the then-completed portions of the house, which included the kitchen and a small dining room upstairs. It is operated by the Historic Preservation Corporation to provide a source of revenue to maintain this historic site for future generations. The front room was opened to the public in January, 2004, and serves as the primary dining room. The basement was opened to the public in February, 2005, and provides a handicapped-accessible dining room and rest room.

Indian Pictograph
     During the renovation, an authentic Indian pictograph was discovered beneath many coats of paint on the original back door casing- -now the doorway between the front room and the kitchen. The pictograph is believed to be of Kanza (Kaw) or Osage origin, and is believed to have been cut into the wood as a memorial to someone who died.

Grocery Store
     The concrete-block, brick-front building just West of the Terwilliger Home was constructed in 1947 for Baker's Food Market. The Baker family had grocery stores in the area from 1854 to 1981. After the grocery store moved to a new location, the building was used from 1956 to 1966 as an automobile body repair shop.

Atkinson Log House
     The two-story, 1858 Atkinson Log House was originally built along Clark's Creek in Western Morris County, near Latimer. It was relocated to the Maple Camp site in 1996 and a barn was constructed around it to preserve it. The Hays House restaurant in Council Grove and the Atkinson Log House are the two oldest wooden structures presently known to exist in Morris County.

Field School
     The one-room, 1902 Field School house was relocated from its original site about eight miles South of Council Grove to the Maple Camp site in 1999, as an example of the era of one-room country schools. Field School closed at the end of the 1945-46 term. The structure remains substantially unchanged from its original construction, save for the enclosure of a room on the front porch in 1939. Electric lighting, central heating and air conditioning, and a handicapped-accessible ramp have been installed to make the building suitable for present-day activities.

     This entire project is being funded by individual contributions and assistance from local foundations. The Historic Preservation Corp. is an IRC 501 (c) (3) corporation; contributions to the Corporation are deductible for income tax purposes.

     For Additional Information, Contact The Historic Preservation Corp./Trail Days Bakery Cafe, 803 W. Main St., Council Grove, Ks 66846, Tel. No. 620-767-7986.
     Used With Permission of the Author
     Kenneth W. McClintock




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