Spring Hill Ranch At Christmastime

Last weekend, Harland and I visited the Spring Hill Ranch at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve down by Strong City, KS. The native limestone house and barn were built in the late 1870s, and today they are open for tours. Each year in December, they decorate for Christmas, period appropriate for the 1870s, and some of the workers dress in costume.  The barn, chicken house, smokehouse, and even the outhouse are dressed in cedar and red ribbons.


Inside the house, the main staircase was decorated.

The sitting room fireplace was decorated.

In the drawing room, there were a few musicians dressed in costume playing old Christmas carols,

and guests joined in singing. We stayed for a while and sang along.

Candles were lit.

That’s Heather in the pic above. She works there and MADE that dress. Isn’t it beautiful?  Here’s the back view of the dress.

Down in the kitchen, cookies were being made.

Visiting the ranch this time of year is like a trip back in time.

It was the perfect way to start the season.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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13 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    This is a wonderful trip. What a great Christmas activity. The dress is beautiful. Obviously a lot of work went into it. Thanks for taking us along with you.

  2. Louise says:

    Loved the hardwood floors and admired the work that went into that dress. It had to have been a challenge! Wonder where on Earth she got the pattern for it. Thanks for the pics and story, Suzanne.

  3. Cindy M. says:

    Lovely photos, Suzanne. I wasn’t aware they did this at Christmas. I’m wondering if there is a mailing list I’m not on?

  4. Marvin says:

    Very nice pictures, it brings back lots of memories since I lived in the house and grew up with my folks there. Dad worked on the ranch for many years.

    • Suzanne says:

      It’s such a beautiful place, it must have been a fun place to be a kid….

    • Edith says:

      It’s so sad that this house did not stay in the family…

      It’s gorgeous. I’ve been in it and I am sure it was a wonderful place to live. What a wonderful Ranch to have grown up on…..makes me sad that it’s been sold where no more family’s can enjoy it’s beauty.

  5. Tina says:

    Beautiful and so festive for the season! I love it. By the looks of the kitchen they also use vintage bowls, cookie cutters etc. when they bake. What a nice trip…I want to go.

  6. Glyndalyn says:

    What a wonderful ranch and house. Thanks for posting.

  7. How lovely it is all decked out for Christmas! We were there a few years ago, but only saw the outside.

  8. Sally Bishop says:

    Those places always get the story juices flowing. It’s hard not to imagine what did/could have taken place with the families that lived there.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the pics! I love seeing the panelled doors and trim in historic houses. Such details were put into everything.

  10. That is really cool how they have cookie baking going on….it must really add to the warmth and charm of the whole experience. I’ll bet the music was so nice to hear. This is my kind of place for sure!!!

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