The Saturday before Labor Day I went up to Randolph, KS (aka “smallest town ever”) to go fishing. On the way to the pond I saw an abandoned stone farmhouse that was falling apart little by little. The site of it sent my imagination racing as I tried to create a story about the family that lived here. Who built this? How did it fall apart and why?
I thought it would be fun to take you along with me on my little journey as I explore this place again in my post. I hope you will put up with my silly and creative story I made up about the former inhabitants. I am not an historian and am probably a mile off of what really happened and the actual age of the house.
Here is the old stone farmhouse. It sits in the hills of Kansas, not the valley. Large tin pieces are strewn about the ground and I guessed they made up the roof at one time. Can you imagine the sounds of rain and hail underneath that roof? Judging by the windows it must have had a basement, first floor and second floor. I can just picture it: a hardworking pioneer works day and night until his muscles moan in protest, stacking stones and carefully shaping each concrete step. His young wife helps with whatever she can, but the food preparation and clothes mending and washing keeps her very busy. Maybe they raised a small family here. There was a small stone barn behind the house, so they must have raised their own animals. Kansas farmers, the heartbeat of the nation.
That chimney is amazing! It brings to my mind the warmth it gave the family on those cold Kansas nights. Those windows are on the west end of the house, and I imagine the family did most of the living on that side of the house, especially with the close proximity to the fireplace.
As you can tell from my poor attempt at capturing the full width of the home, it was a modest size. Of course at the time he was building this I am sure Mr. Kansas farmer thought it was the largest home in the world! I thought the basement was divided in half for two primary uses – to store firewood on the left (west) end and keep food chilled on the right (east) end. Wouldn’t you have loved to see this house in all its glory?
Just look at those steps! And the fact that they cared enough to put a front and back door – was that common back then? I wish I knew.
As I walked around the house I could feel the pride of the hard working family that lived here. I wondered why it was in shambles, what made them leave it?
Then I saw the evidence – in the windows of the house and the barn behind it. Charred wood. I am surprised with the ferocious Kansas winds in the hills that any of the burnt pieces remained, but there they stood as a testament of the sad fate of this glorious home. For it to have been a fire that attacked both homes could have started from a prairie fire that just went out of control.
All your hard work, gone up in flames.
I didn’t want to think about that. House fires always make my heart so heavy.
So I am going to move onto some happier times, thinking before the fire.
But what is this? We saw it sitting facing away from the house, on a concrete slab that only had one remaining wall standing. I thought perhaps the concrete slab used to be the slaughterhouse and smokehouse? I am sure I am not far off. Could this be a huge smoker of some sort?
But it is so intriguing. It looks like you could fill it with wood, light the fire and shut the door. Of course the fire would die because there is no pipe for teh smoke to escape. So that theory is debunked.
What else could it be?
I honestly have no idea. It is the great mystery of this farmstead. I’d love to go to the historical society, dig up the records of who owned this land and learn about that family. I am a dweeb like that. I love it when history comes alive with real names and people, and storeis!
Thank you for joining me on this fun journey onto an abandoned farmstead. My imagination sure had fun!