In 1857, the founder of Olathe, Kansas, Dr. John T. Barton, gave his city its name by asking a Shawnee interpreter to tell him the word for "beautiful." Today, the city has grown to become Kansas' fifth-largest city, with a population of 126,000 and abundant attractions.

Besides being one of the fastest-growing suburban towns in America, Olathe has deep roots in American history. Kansas was the starting point for expeditions heading westward: Olathe's Lone Elm Park state historic site was where the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails met, and western legend Kit Carson once camped here. Visitors to Olathe can do the same, and almost entirely free of charge.

Several free Olathe attractions provide a look at the city's past, present, and future. One must-see sight is Ensor Farm Site and Museum, set in a home built by Marshall Ensor, an Olathe teacher and pioneer in amateur radio. You'll tour Ensor's 1892 farm house and adjacent barn, which offer a look at 1890s clothing, furnishings, utensils, farm tools, and early ham radio equipment.

To discover more of the city's 19th-century roots, take a tour of the Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop and Farm Historic Site. During the 1800s, this 40-acre site was a stagecoach stop along the Oregon and California trails, and today it is a popular local museum where staff dress in period costumes, and the Museum often hosts Civil War reenactments.


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Updated: 24th February, 2020 5:07 AM.