8 Wonders of Kansas history

An 8 Wonder of Kansas History

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, Olathe

Address: 1200 E. Kansas City Road, Olathe, KS 66061
Phone: 913.971.5111
Website: www.olatheks.org/Mahaffie/About

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas History because the original 1865 limestone farmhouse is the only working stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

Where better to experience life on the Kansas frontier than at the only working stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe Trail?

In 1857, James "Beatty" Mahaffie, his wife Lucinda, and their children arrived from Indiana in the promising new settlement of Olathe, Kansas. It was an age of opportunity on the frontier. It was also a time of uncertainty and danger as pro-slavery and anti-slavery guerilla forces made the Kansas/Missouri border their battleground in the years before the actual Civil War began. 


Beatty Mahaffie chose an ideal location for his new farm and his business interests, just a mile out of town and directly on the Santa Fe Trail.  Almost immediately, Beatty and Lucinda started providing meals to travelers. In 1865, they built the limestone farmhouse that still stands today, outfitted to serve travelers and stagecoach passengers. 


Visitors can discover that same farmhouse with its unique dining hall and kitchen as they walk in the footsteps of Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trail travelers who stopped at the Mahaffie farm. Depending on the day of week and time of year, they can ride a real stagecoach, visit the blacksmith, sample something good from the wood-burning cookstove, or help with the farm chores that revolve with the seasons and include planting, cultivating, and harvesting our gardens and fields. Along with the 1865 farmhouse, other original buildings to explore include an ice house and one of the Mahaffie barns. A reconstructed smokehouse, summer kitchen, and blacksmith shop make up the rest of the farm, which is also home to horses, oxen, chickens, goats, and sheep just as it was in the Mahaffies' day.



A new visitor center built in 2008 and open year-round, houses a gift shop and visitor amenities along with exhibits and interactive videos telling the stories of the Mahaffie family, stagecoach travel, the western trails, and the Border War/Civil War era in Kansas



Complementing April to October stagecoach operations, our living history programming recreates life on a 19th
century farm to engage our visitors on an almost year-round basis. Activities range from Winter weekends focused on chores like processing a hog and making sausage, to cutting our wheat crop with a late 1860s reaper in the Summer, to picking our corn crop in the Fall.  The unexpected snowfalls this season even let us offer horse-drawn sled rides. Our visitors are welcomed to get involved, safely, in most of these tasks. Many of our young visitors find themselves mixing dough or washing dishes in the farmhouse kitchen, and our Open Late, 6-8 p.m. summer Thursday nights make these activities available to audiences who cannot visit us in the daytime hours. 


Mahaffie Historic Site is owned by the City of Olathe and administered through its Department of Parks and Recreation. The City acquired the site in the late 1970s, and successfully nominated the farm to the National Register of Historic Places. In more recent years, the site was also designated an official component of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail by the National Park Service.  The Mahaffie Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, advocates for the site and supports programming and preservation efforts. Our new visitor center (Mahaffie Heritage Center) is also home to our partner organization, the Olathe Historical Society.

Mahaffie is open Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m, year round.

Admission charge is $3 adults; $2 children in the winter, and weekdays, Spring and Fall. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children on Spring and Fall weekends and daily in the Summer -- at which times the stagecoach is operating and the living history program is in operation.

Photos courtesy Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farmstead