Main Street at Souders Historical Farm Museum - Cheney, Kansas
Souders Historical Farm Museum in Cheney, Kansas may be one of a kind. There are many places across Kansas where buildings have been moved and farm equipment has been collected, but this is different.
Floyd and Norma Souders ran the town newspaper, The Cheney Sentinel, from 1941 to 1971. When they sold the newspaper, they began building their farm museum. They replanted the farm land with native plants and over many years turned 12 acres into a reconstruction of a small rural town. A few of the buildings were moved here, but many of them were new constructions.
The first building constructed was the replica chapel, which was furnished with organs and pews from other area churches. It even has a small graveyard with tombstones which were donated when they were no longer needed. Other buildings they constructed include a "Main Street" with a furnished cobbler shop, telephone office, bank, post office, diner, general store and a recreated Cheney Sentinel.
Floyd passed away at the age of 90 in 1996 and Norma in 2005 at the age of 95. After a few years, Tom Gronniger began opening the buildings to the public. Last year he built a livery stable with blacksmithing area.
Three of the buildings are identified as being old structures which were moved to this location, an 1880 schoolhouse and two railroad depots which were moved to the site in 1984. None of those buildings were open when we visited the museum in 2015. Other structures on the grounds which were open included a replica wash house, barber & beauty shop, and a horse drawn equipment shed.
copyright 2015 by Keith Stokes