Built in 1878, the six-room farmhouse is typical of homes found on small, thriving farms in the Midwest at the turn of the century.
In the 1920s it was typical for large families to live in homes that were 1/3 the size of today’s average home. And, while businesses and homes in town were beginning to switch to electricity, most farm homes were still using oil for lamps and coal to heat rooms.
The barn, built in the late 1800s, was originally located on a farm in south Shawnee. Truck farmers typically built barns to shelter their field horses and a cow for the family’s milk. Barns were also used to store feed and equipment.
Painting a barn enhanced a farm’s appearance and protected the wood. Red and white were the most common colors for 19th century barns in the Midwest, although red absorbed more heat from the sun, keeping barns warmer in the winter.
Smokehouses have long been used by farm families to preserve meat. Butchering is usually done in the late fall/early winter and then the meat is hung over a smoky fire to be cured. Smoked meat can last almost indefinitely.
A 1920s-era poultry house will be included on the farmstead. Coops on small farms typically housed about 20 birds and included roosts, nesting boxes, a place for dust baths and accommodations for food and water.
In the 1920s coops usually had dirt floors. Extra eggs were sometimes sold but most eggs were used for home consumption.
Many truck farmers begin adding one-car garages to their farms for family cars that were more affordable and readily available in the 1920s thanks to the assembly line. Garage plans, as well as plans for homes and outhouses, were available through the Sears, Roebuck & Co mail order catalog.
A 1920s era market shed will be reproduced. The market shed was the building farmers used to prepare their produce for market. Produce was sorted, cleaned and packed before being loaded on trucks bound for Kansas City markets. Bushels, pecks and vegetable crates were stored in the shed’s loft.
A 1920s era outhouse will be included on the farmstead. Most Shawnee farms did not have indoor plumbing until the 1940s. Placement of the outhouse was carefully planned, taking both odor and convenience into account. Most outhouses featured at least two seating holes, a larger one for adults and a small one for children.
Built in 1893 and moved here from southern Johnson County, the schoolhouse includes cloak rooms on either side of the entrance. The long, rectangular floor plan with windows lining both sides was very common in the late 19th century schools. In this size schoolhouse, one teacher typically taught a wide range of ages and grade levels.
Over the next few years local shops that represent the businesses that operated in the 1920s in Shawnee will become part of the museum’s expansion.
Look for additions like Tom Davis’ Dry Goods, Heaton’s Drug Store, Goddard’s Electrical Company, Shawnee State Bank, Dr Sullivan’s office, Yotz Typewriter repair, an ice house, a filling station and auto dealer.
The Museum’s long range plans include the development of a new Visitor & Education Center
as well as an interurban trolley much like the streetcars that transported Shawnee residents to Merriam or Monrovia.