America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Carrie Nation Home

Carrie Nation Home and Stockade Museum, Kansas

Yes, the woman who took hatchets to liquor across Kansas and the midwest, prompted by a dream, and somehow eventually helped convince the United States Government to ban liquor consumption through a Constitutional Amendment, the 18th in 1919. Yes, Carrie Nation was a powerful woman. From her home in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, she would embark on a campign of smashing saloons from that dream forward, some say more than two dozen, and today, you can visit the small part of Americana in a compact museum dedicated to the temperance woman, plus a Stockade Museum next door. Both of these are unique representations of their subjects, and worth a visit if you happen to be in the Medicine Lodge area. Photo above: Carrie Nation Home, 2017. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Saloons Destroyed by Carrie Nation

Carrie Nation History

By the time Carrie Nation moved to this home in Medicine Lodge, Kansas in 1889, the sale of alcohol had been banned in Kansas through a state Constitutional Amendment for eight years. However, it had not been adhered to. There had been efforts through the Women's Temperance Association prior to Carrie Nation's dream to make that point; she had smashed the tavern of Mart Strong with Mrs. Wesley Cain in 1899 and the O.L. Day Pharmacy in February 1900. But it was the dream of June 5, 1900 (date in debate) that prompted a series of saloon smashing, beginning in Kiowa, Kansas nearby the next day. Three in Kiowa on June 6; first use of hatchet on December 27 at the Hotel Carey saloon in Wichita.

The next year, Carrie Nation and her followers continued their destruction in the Kansas cities of Wichita, Enterprise, and Topeka. The Topeka saloon was a favorite of Kansas legislators, and her Topeka visit coincided two days later with speeches to both houses of the Kansas government. She was not done. Throughout the next year and beyond, Nation and her followers would smash liquor in dozens of saloons. The acts spread outside Kansas as well, including the Hotel Holly seven years later on August 28, 1908 in Michigan.

Nation was arrested more than thirty times between 1900 and 1910 for her actions. She sold the home in Medicine Lodge in 1902. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Photo above: Montage of two photos, (left) destruction of an Enterprise, Kansas saloon in 1901 by Carrie Nation, (right) Destruction of the Enterprise, Kansas bar, 1901. Courtesy Kansas Historical Society. Below: Carrie Nation on the right holding her axe and the suffragette movement on the left, Louis Dalrymple, 1901, J. Ottmann Lithograph Co. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Carrie Nation and the Suffragettes

Where Is It

Carrie Nation Home and the Stockade Museum are located in Medicine Lodge, Kansas at 209 W. Fowler Ave. Fowler Avenue is Route 160. Accommodations nearby include a Budget Host Inn and Copa Budget Inn. Medicine Lodge is about one and one half hour driving time from Witchita, southwest direction, eighty-five to ninety-five miles, depending on your route.

What is There Now

Original Carrie Nation home with exhibits about her life and temperance times. The Stockade Museum has a rebuilt fort, 1961, of the 1874 stockade that protected Medicine Lodge settlers from the surrounding tribes. Inside the stockade are the Smith Cabin and an Old Steel Jail.

How Much to Visit

Tickets get you into both the Stockade Museum and Carrie Nation Home. Open daily June to October; Thursday to Sunday other months. $5 Adults, $3 children, under 7 free.

Stockade Museum and Carrie Nation Home
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History Nearby

From the National Park history standpoint, Kansas is a bit spare. West of this location you have Fort Larned, and northeast you get Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site and Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. On the smaller side of history and outdoor vacation pursuits, this area of Kansas includes Botanica, the Wichita Gardens, the Hooray Ranch, Kingman State Fishing Lake, the Bartlett Arboretum, and Heartland Farm.

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