About ten years ago, my husband and I visited the MaHaffie Stage Stop when I was doing research for a series I wanted to write a series set in Kansas. Little did I know then that my trip to MaHaffe's would inspire me to write a three-book trade fiction series. Years later, I penned a novella called Julia, which is set on the Santa Fe Trail where MaHaffe's is located near Olathe, Kansas. (Julia, is currently on sale for 99 cents.) Now, I'm writing another novella, Laney, with the same setting.
James B. and Lucinda Mahaffie purchased the farm in 1857. In 1858, the Mahaffies used oxen to move the wood frame home from the downtown lot they purchased in November of 1857 to their new holdings, about a mile outside of Olathe. The family lived in that home until the new stone house that still stands was finished late in 1865. The Mahaffie farm was one of the most prosperous in Johnson County in the 1860s and early 1870s. The farm is located on the “Westport Route” of the Santa Fe Trail, which also carried travelers leaving Westport, Missouri and crossing what is now the Kansas City metro region for the Oregon and California Trails as well as the Santa Fe Trail.
It is believed the Mahaffies started serving meals to travelers from their first home as early as 1858. By 1864, coaches began using the farm as a stop. Late in 1865 and until about 1870, coach passengers and other hungry travelers took their meals in the basement of the “new” stone farmhouse, designed to serve as a kitchen and dining hall.
In 1867, Lucinda, her daughters, and hired helpers might have served as many as 50 to 100 meals a day. While coach passengers ate, incoming teams of horses were switched for fresh animals. Follow in the footsteps of these same passengers and travelers when you visit!
What can you see there? The Heritage House Museum gives you some of the history of Mahaffie's, and you can tour the historic farmhouse, barn, ice house, cellar, smokehouse, blacksmith, and more. Check out www.mahaffie.org