1039. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm

A Red and yellow stagecoach with people inside and on top is pulled by horses in front of a two-story stone house with second story balcony over a front porch.  Property is lined with a white fence and has several large trees.
Mahaffie Stagecoarch Stop & Farm

As the only working stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe Trail, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm offers unique experiences and opportunities that engage visitors of all ages in discovering 1860s farming, life on the Kansas frontier, and stagecoach travel. 

A Brief History

Arriving in Olathe in 1857 from Logansport, Indiana, James B. and Lucinda Mahaffie purchased the farm site you can visit today:

  • 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 town.
  • The family lived in that home until the new stone house that still stands was finished late in 1865.
  • Along with their 340 acre farm, the family owned more land – in Johnson County and at times, elsewhere in Kansas. 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.

The Barlow, Sanderson and Company Stagecoach Line contracted with the Mahaffie family to provide one of the stops needed for their coaches carrying passengers and, in some cases, mail between Fort Scott and Fort Leavenworth, and from Independence, Missouri all the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It is believed the Mahaffies started serving 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!

James ‘Beatty’ Mahaffie was first, and foremost, a farmer and identified himself as such when state and federal census’ were taken. The family did not suffer when the railroad arrived in Olathe in 1869, ultimately ending stagecoach operations through Olathe. Beatty helped serve on the board of directors of the original organization that was predecessor to the railroad company that would finally be responsible for bringing the train to town.

Prosperous and respected members of the community, James and Lucinda retired from farming in the mid-1880s. They purchased a home in Olathe and moved into town.The couple enjoyed another 20 years together before Lucinda passed away in 1903, and Beatty in 1907. Both lay at rest in the Olathe Memorial Cemetery just a few miles away. The farm changed hands a number of times until the 1970s.

Mahaffie Today

The Mahaffie home and adjoining property was purchased by the City of Olathe in 1979 to ensure its preservation and operate as a museum and historic site.

  • The city also purchased properties to the east and south to further protect the site from encroaching development. 
  • Today, Mahaffie is one of the few stagecoach stops left on the Santa Fe Trail, and the only one preserved as a public historic site. The site is listed on the National and Kansas Registers of Historic Places. The farmhouse and the stone ice house were built in 1865, and the timber-frame barn is a few years younger. 
  • Mahaffie Historic Site is operated by the City of Olathe’s Parks and Recreation Department. The site is also designated an official component of the Santa Fe National Historic Trail by the National Park Service and a partner site of Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. About twenty acres remain of the original 340 acre farm once owned by James Beatty and Lucinda.

For more information:

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site

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