History and Attractions

 Midland Railway Historical Association, located at 1515 W. High Street.

The Midland Railway, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, is one of the longest excursion railroads in the Midwest. The vintage trains travel through scenic farmland, woods and over streams on a 20 mile round-trip from Baldwin City to Ottawa via Norwood. Great for family outings, church groups, birthday parties, senior citizen activities and school field trips, Midland Railway is an inexpensive adventure where you will experience the fun of riding the rails. Contact Midland Railway: 785-594-6982, midlandrailway.org.

ives hartley lumber co
The Ives Hartley Lumber Co. Building
Ives-Hartley Lumber Co. Building located at 718 High St.
Originally opened for business on June 27, 1914 and has been renovated as the Lumberyard Arts Center. Over the years, the front west office has housed several retail enterprises. It was the set of Michael Landon’s 1990 film “Where Pigeons Go to Die.”


case hall
Baker University
Baker is a private, liberal arts university that educates traditional and nontraditional students through small classes, innovative instructors and rigorous coursework. It was established in 1858 along the Santa Fe Trail and is the oldest university in Kansas.
Three buildings on the Baldwin City campus are included on the National Register of Historic Places:
• Case Hall. Completed in 1904 for use as the University library, the three-level facility now houses several academic departments.
• Old Castle Museum. The first home of Baker University, and for many years the only college building in the state.
• Parmenter Hall. The funds to construct the second building on campus included a $100 donation from Abraham Lincoln.


old castle museum

Old Castle MuseumOld Castle Museum, 511 5th St., was Kansas’ first university building serving as Baker University’s “temporary home” starting in 1858. Next to Old Castle is Kibbee Cabin, a reproduction of the Kibbee/Barricklow Cabin, where Reverend William Goode preached the first sermon to Kansas white settlers, and a group of Methodist ministers met to form Baker. The Palmyra Post Office served the area from 1857 – 1862.


Parmenter Hall

Parmenter HallParmenter Hall, 706 Dearborn, housed Baker University in 1871 – and received a $100 cash donation from President Abraham Lincoln (rumored to be the only such gift he ever gave). University namesake Bishop Osmon Baker donated a “ten o’clock bell” signifying lights-out for students. It sat in a tower atop Parmenter Hall starting in 1871.


Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel
Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel
The Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel, 515 6th St., was brought to Baker from England in 1995 and reassembled on campus. The chapel was first built in 1864 and was used by former British Prime Minister Lady Margaret Thatcher’s father, who preached there in the 1930s as a lay minister. Osborne Chapel is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment only on the weekends and evenings. The Chapel will not be open during special events or weddings. With prior notification, tours of the Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel are available to visiting groups of 10 or more. Please call 785.594.4553 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or e-mail to inquire about details for your visit.


Quayle Rare Bible Collection

Quayle Rare Bible CollectionThe Quayle Rare Bible Collection, housed in Collins Library, is the finest and most extensive collections of Bibles in the Midwest. It includes approximately 700 volumes of manuscripts, some dating back to 2060 B.C. Discover how ancient scribes recorded the Bible, what materials they used and when the printing press was developed. For current Collection hours or to schedule a tour, please e-mail quayle@bakeru.edu or call 785.594.8393.


black jack cabin
Black Jack Cabin Roadside Park & Santa Fe Trail RoutesJust three miles east of Baldwin City is the Black Jack Cabin Roadside Park which features several historical markers as well as a replica log cabin that houses serves as a museum and meeting place.
Cross the footbridge to the Ivan Boyd Prairie Preserve, where visitors can view wagon ruts carved out more than a hundred years ago by thousands of wagons traveling the trade route between Missouri and Santa Fe between 1825 and 1875.


Blackjack Battlefield and Nature Park
Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park
Nearby is the Black Jack Battlefield & Nature Park . Tour the battlefield where John Brown, fierce opponent of slavery, led his militia against a proslavery force on June 2, 1856. This armed clash, The Battle of Black Jack, is considered by many to have been the first battle of the American Civil War.


womens bridge
Women’s BridgeWomen’s Bridge located on High St near 11th St.
Women’s Bridge is a stone arch bridge over the East Fork of Tauy Creek and was built in 1890 by Baldwin City’s first female mayor, Lucy Sweet Sullivan, and an all-woman City Council. The bridge was rehabilitated in 2006 and a plaque was placed next to the creek.


Santa Fe DepotSanta Fe Depot is located at 1515 West High Street.

This depot has been authentically restored by the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society and is home to the Midland Railway’s excursion trains. Built in 1906 between Baldwin City and Prairie City, it replaced depots in each town. It has been featured in several movies and is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Signal Oak
Signal OakPerched atop Santa Fe Ridge, overlooking the Vinland Valley two miles north of Baldwin City, Signal Oak, played an important role in the Civil War from 1854 to 1861. Settlers climbed the branches and hung lanterns at night and flags by day to alert Blue Mound, which in turn alerted Lawrence. These signals warned settlers from other communities of approaching invaders during the ‘Bleeding Kansas’ days. The oak tree died in 1914, but a marker and plaque remain to tell visitors about a piece of Kansas history.
Address: 445 E 1750 Rd