This land was once part of Kaw and Osage homelands. In the early 1800s, the Kaws’ domain extended well beyond today’s state borders. In 1846, the federal government had forced the Kaw people onto a twenty-mile-square reservation surrounding Council Grove.
In 1861 the U.S. government constructed 138 of these stone houses for the Kaw Indians. Contractor Robert S. Stevens built the huts at a total cost of $33,135.98.
The houses were situated on the diminished Kaw Reservation in or near the Neosho River valley three to ten miles southeast of Council Grove. Few, if any, Kaw actually lived in these structures. Preferring to dwell in their traditional tipis and bark-and-mat lodges, the Kaw used the huts to shelter horses, dogs, and cattle. Using stone from one of the original Kaw houses, the Council Grove Rotary Club reconstructed this model in 1961.
Content from exhibits from Kaw Mission State Historic Site, National Park Service, and Council Grove Rotary Club.