Trail Days Cafe & Museum

Trail Days Cafe & Museum Experience a taste of history in the food, stories, setting and artifacts.
Historic Preservation Corp. desires to educate the public about History and the Arts and to preserve what we can in these two areas that are so important to forming our future.

Here the food is part of your museum experience. We Start with American Indian, which features Buffalo and Elk, next on our menu comes Old World, which includes French, Italian, English, Scotch-Irish, German and Swedish selections. Then we include some Early American such as Ham & Beans, Salmon Patties, and Brisket. 20th Century foods are next where we include the American Farm meals and Town Square Sandwiches (Towns in the Midwest were built around the Court House Square). The final section offers some Vegetarian choices. A colony of Vegetarians came to Kansas in 1856 to settle. You will be eating in a Victorian decor Parlor, with a fireplace. We feature a small library for your reading enjoyment and you are free to tour the home while your food is being prepared. We have seven buildings on this historic complex. If you love good old fashioned, made-from-scratch cooking and History that comes to life, you will love us.

Mission: Our mission is to make learning History interesting and tasty to travelers on the Santa Fe Trail (now Main Street and Highway 56) going right by our front door.

Payment Options:   Cash Discover Mastercard Visa

Price Range: $

Culinary Team: We are volunteers who love history and dress in period clothing.


A Taste of History. Walter Staib, proprietor and chef at the City Tavern, Philadelphia, PA, hosts a cooking show on PBS, entitled "A Taste of History". Over the past ten television seasons, he has accumulated 15 Emmys as he has visited the White House, exquisite European hotels, and historic venues around the United States and the world. During Nov. 2019, he and his filming crew are traveling the Santa Fe Trail, en route to Santa Fe.
On Nov. 7th, he was in Council Grove to film cooking at the Hays House and the Trail Days Cafe & Museum. Shirley prepared Iron Kettle Soup (which included buffalo stew meat), and made an Indian Salad, which we and the crew ate after the filming was completed. Shirley says that they told her the Trail Days Cafe & Museum was the cleanest, and the most organized for their visit, of any restaurant they had ever been to!
Shirley had earlier told them about George Leroux, of rural Alta Vista, who is our source for buffalo meat. They went to film the buffalo, but found George so interesting that they also filmed an interview with him.
The trip down the Santa Fe Trail is to be included in this season's programming of "A Taste of History". Of course, all will be heavily edited, so we look forward to finding out how much Council Grove material actually makes it onto the airwaves. When we find out when the episode(s) is (or are) to be broadcast, we hope to be able to announce the date(s) on this page.
Kenneth W. McClintock

Thank you to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Cou...

Thank you to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Council Grove Area Foundation, Morris County Historical Society and many individuals who contributed to Historic Preservation Corporation for financing this amazing mural. It shows a time line of happenings at the Trail Days Historic Site over a 210 year time span. Thank you to Tim McClintock the artist who donated the design and to Bob Alexander the artist at Alexander Art Works for an amazing job of bringing the design into a work of art in steel. Thank you to Hartman Masonry for doing a lovely job of putting on the sky and grass, using colored Drivit, which created the back ground for the images.


In the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 2019, fire was discovered in the south part of the "Yesteryear Museum", located on Market St., behind the Post Office Oak Museum in Council Grove. The Museum building and its contents were erected and collected by Lester and Wayne McClintock, who donated them to the Morris County Historical Society. Fire damage was primarily confined to the south two sections of the building, but there was smoke damage throughout. So all of the small artifacts in the north section are there, but soot-covered. Anything combustible in the south section is gone.
In the middle section were the 1937 Diamond T fire truck and the Haucke Model T race car. There was some fire damage to some combustible materials which caught fire in the extreme heat, but the vehicles appear to be largely intact, and totally blackened with soot. I hope that funds will be found to restore them--although funds will also be needed to rebuild the south section, make other building repairs, and clean/repair/restore other artifacts.
Also in the middle section was an antique hotel hack owned by the Historic Preservation Corp., which in years past we have entered into parades. Primarily of wood construction, it is now primarily a pile of ashes, with metal axles and springs, metal wheel hubs, and four metal tires.
It is all bad enough, but "it could have been worse", and we are not in the position of others who have literally lost everything, up to, and including, nearly an entire town to a tornado or other disaster.
Kenneth W. McClintock

Thank you to all who helped and to the town we love and the State of Kansas!

Thank you to all who helped and to the town we love and the State of Kansas!

Ken and Shirley McClintock, operators and managers of the
Trail Days Cafe & Museum were recognized at the State Tourism Conference in Mulvane as one of the "Kansas Finest" award winners. Thanks for all you do in our community!
#kansasfinest #traildayscafe #councilgrove #theflinthillslife


Lincoln School. The most recent installment of "History Happens Here" is now on the dining tables of the Trail Days Cafe & Museum. Lincoln School was a one-room school built in 1919, southwest of the intersection of S. Chautauqua St. and W. Elm St., about a block from Elm Creek. It was an elementary school built for colored students, who had previously been educated at the Brown Jug School (northeast of the intersection of N. Chautauqua St. and Columbia St.) since 1887. Lincoln School closed at the end of the 1939-40 school term. The building was sold at auction to Gage Goms, who moved it to Council Grove City Lake lot B-16, where, much modified, it still stands. I have yet to see a photograph of the Lincoln School. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. My late aunt, Bonnie McClintock, attended the last graduation ceremony at Lincoln School in 1940. They had only about three or four students that last year. Several years ago, the late Jesse Settler, a former student, visited with me at the Trail Days Cafe & Museum. Kenneth W. McClintock


The late Roe Groom (1900-2001) recently joined several former Council Grove residents in the Santa Fe Trail Association's Hall of Fame. The Oct. 7, 2019, issue of the Council Grove Daily Republican published a fine article and photograph announcing the award.
For several years we have had on display at the Trail Days Cafe & Museum a 1978 painting by Roe Groom, depicting the Santa Fe Trail ascending the last hill approaching Council Grove from the east. Stop by to ask me about how we came to receive the painting, and how we determined the site depicted. With the painting is displayed a LiDar image which shows the topography of the area depicted, and shows the actual ruts.
We also now have on display several items furnished to us previously by the Groom family: a 1950s photograph of Roe point out SFT ruts; a 1977 article of an interview with Roe; two photographs of Roe in the 1976 Bicentennial wagon train which passed through Council Grove en route to Washington, D.C.; and a color photograph of a mural Roe painted on his living room wall, depicting an Indian crawling towards an unsuspecting buffalo.
The sign out front says, "History Comes Alive Here!" And so it does.
Kenneth W. McClintock


The American Saint Nick. Recently, David Brookins, from Rochester, NY, told me of a World War II story about his father, Richard Brookins--"The American Saint Nick". The war-torn town of Wiltz, Luxembourg, had been occupied by the Germans for more than four years when it was liberated by the Allies in Sept. 1944. During the German occupation, the people of Wiltz had been prohibited from observing St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th of each year, which they had done for hundreds of years, with the St. Nicholas Day eve parade being held on Dec. 5th, when children would receive gifts and candy.
A soldier in the 28th Infantry Div., part of which was located in Wiltz in Dec., 1944, learned about the prohibition of the observance of St. Nicholas Day, and proposed that the soldiers reinstate the tradition for the children of the town. Few men then lived there--having been killed, placed in concentration camps, or impressed into the German Army.
Richard Brookins, of Rochester, NY, was chosen to be Saint Nicholas. Wearing the local priest's vestments, he led the traditional parade through town on the eve of St. Nicholas Day. At Wiltz Castle, the children were feted with gifts and candy bars provided by the soldiers, and donuts and cakes made by Army cooks.
On Dec. 16th, the Battle of the Bulge began, and Wiltz was heavily damaged by bombing. After several years of rebuilding, the local citizenry decided in 1947 to renew observance of St. Nicholas Day. With fond memories of what the soldiers had done in Dec. 1944, they chose a man to be "The American Saint Nick", following the same parade route through town, to Wiltz Castle. That tradition continues still.
In 1977, they learned that the original American Saint Nick was still living in Rochester, NY, and they made arrangements for him and his family to return to Wiltz for St. Nicholas Day. Thereafter, he returned to Wiltz each five-year anniversary of the original event. At age 92, he returned to Wiltz for the last time in Dec. 2014--the 70th anniversary.
Richard Brookins passed away in 2018, at the age of 96. 2019 is the 75th anniversary, so the town of Wiltz has made arrangements for his son, David, and his family to travel to Wiltz in his father's place.
Of course, there is more to the story than I can relate here, so the next time you are in Council Grove, stop by the Trail Days Cafe & Museum, and ask me to tell you "the rest of the story". As the sign out front says, "History Comes Alive Here". And so it does. Kenneth W. McClintock

Stone by Stone - True West Magazine
Stone by Stone - True West Magazine

Stone by Stone - True West Magazine

"No, no, no, no!” That’s what they told Shirley McClintock when she asked her neighbors to save an old building along the Santa Fe Trail in Council Grove...

Trail Days Cafe & Museum

Trail Days Cafe & Museum

Join us Sunday September 29th at 2:00 p.m. for a special event to celebrate the completion of a Santa Fe Trail Mural.

Join us Sunday September 29th at 2:00 p.m. for a special event to celebrate the completion of a Santa Fe Trail Mural.

Join us Sunday September 29th at 2:00 p.m. for a special event to celebrate the completion of a Santa Fe Trail Mural.

Trail Days Cafe & Museum

Trail Days Cafe & Museum

Trail Days Cafe & Museum's cover photo

Trail Days Cafe & Museum's cover photo


On June 19th, I reported that an article on the Trail Days Cafe & Museum was expected to appear in the July 2019 issue of True West magazine. I was mistaken. It is in the September 2019 issue now on news stands, and in the hands of subscribers. We have yet to get a copy, but are anxiously looking forward to seeing it. Kenneth W. McClintock

Two recent visitors to the Trail Days Cafe & Museum, a teen-aged couple from Lawrence, dined and listened to some of my ...

Two recent visitors to the Trail Days Cafe & Museum, a teen-aged couple from Lawrence, dined and listened to some of my historic stories. After they left, I noted that they had signed our guest book, and left this message, "Came here looking for an adventure. Boy, did we find it."
As the sign out front says, "History Comes Alive Here!" And so it does!
Kenneth W. McClintock


We mourn the passing of a long-time, good friend, Mel Wodke, who died July 3, 2019. For a number of years we have had on display a Civil War photograph of his maternal grandfather, James Countryman, who served in the 24th Iowa Infantry Regiment. Of the 15 young men from his home town who joined that regiment, he was the only one who returned alive.
At the Battle of Cedar Creek (Va.), on Oct. 19, 1864, he had 14 bullet holes in his clothing, but he was not wounded. Mel told us that James Countryman took care of Gen. Sheridan's horse, and sometimes rode it to carry messages.
There is another Council Grove connection to Cedar Creek. Colleen Anderson's Confederate ancestor, Gen. Stephen Ramseur, was mortally wounded at Cedar Creek, and his West Point friend, Gen. George Custer, was at his bed side to visit his dying friend. [In Colleen's family line, the surname was eventually spelled Ramsour.]
Obviously, there is more to be told--about the preceding battle at Winchester, Va., Sheridan's famous ride to literally snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at Cedar Creek (immortalized in the inspirational poem, "Sheridan's Ride"), the ultimate fate of Confederate General Jubal Early's army, and Sherman's march through the Shenandoah Valley. The next time you visit the Trail Days Cafe & Museum, ask about "the rest of the story".
Kenneth W. McClintock


The July issue of "True West" magazine is to carry a story about the Trail Days Cafe & Museum. The writer of the article recently interviewed Shirley at length, and Shirley sent a number of photographs from which the editors can select for publication. We look forward to seeing what the article says! I suspect that the July issue will soon be on the news stands, if it is not already there. Kenneth W. McClintock


In recent days, a towering flag pole has been erected at the 1902 one-room Field School, on the grounds of the Trail Days Historic Site. The flag pole was donated by Bob King, who assisted in its erection
The first flag to be flown on that pole will be raised at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 6, 2019, in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
This event has special meaning to us because Shirley's uncle, Bob Downing, went ashore at Normandy on that day, and survived it.
Kenneth W. McClintock

Colorado Backcountry Adventures

Colorado Backcountry Adventures

I have to admit...the more time I spend in this area, the more it makes me feel as if I should eventually settle down in the Flint Hills of Eastern Kansas. This place is extremely rich in Native American and Pioneer history. Seeing as how I LOVE ANYTHING history related, you can imagine my stoke level with discovering relics from a bygone era literally at every turn. Long ago the Comanche ruled this land followed by the Kaw and then the Pioneers. Add to it the incredible biodiversity of the Great Plains and you’ve got a truly unique area unlike anywhere else on Planet Earth.
Just north of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is the historic town of Council Grove, the last stop on the Santa Fe Trail before venturing into the vast wilderness of the Great Plains. Council Grove is a small town of roughly 2,000 people but boasts 25 national and state registered historic sites.
If you’re ever traveling through Kansas, you owe it to yourself to get off Interstate 70 and explore the Flint Hills Scenic Byway. Located within the Flint Hills is the Konza Prairie, the last place on Earth to view the original grassland prairie which covered an area stretching from Texas all the way up to the northern plains of Canada, an ecosystem at its peak estimated to be 501,900 square miles. Only 4% remains and it can be found in the Kansas Flint Hills.
Years ago Travel Mag listed the Konza Prairie as one of the top 7 places in the world to view a sunset. Just google “Konza Prairie Sunset” and be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor. If you want to see the Tallgrass at it’s peak then venture into this area in the fall when natural prairie grass is anywhere from 4 to 8 feet tall...view the grasslands from above on a bluff with a bit of wind and the Tallgrass swaying in the breeze looks like waves on the ocean.

If you ever thought Kansas was a flyover State, the Flint Hills will immediately change your mind.

#explore #kansas #flinthills #scenicbyway #tallgrassprairiepreserve #nationalparks #pioneer #history #cottonwoodfalls #strongcity #councilgrove


BATTLE OF FRANKLIN. Recently two visitors told us about their tour of a southern mansion at Franklin, Tenn., used as a field hospital by the Confederates during the Battle of Franklin Nov. 30,1864. That Battle is of interest to us because James Rawlinson, resident of the Rawlinson-Terwilliger Home, and other Council Grove men, in the 8th Kansas Volunteer Regiment, were there.
The 8th Kansas Infantry was the rearguard of the XXIII Corps commanded by Gen. John M. Schofield, travelling northerly to join the forces being assembled at Nashville by Gen. George Henry Thomas ("The Rock of Chickamauga"). As they neared Franklin (18 miles south of Nashville), they were being pursued by Confederate Gen. John B. Hood's Army of the Tennessee. The 8th Kansas Infantry fired the first shots of what became the Battle of Franklin, forcing Hood's Army to retreat.
In the meantime, Gen. Schofield established very strong defensive positions at Franklin. The 8th Kansas Infantry was then held in reserve north of Franklin, but in the course of events their services were not needed, and their skirmish with Hood's Army turned out to be their last active combat during the Civil War.
The Battle of Franklin was devastating to the Army of the Tennessee. Five Generals were killed, six Generals were wounded (one mortally), and one General was captured. Thirty Colonels and Lt. Colonels were killed or wounded. About 1750 Confederates were killed, about 7000 were wounded, and about 700 were taken prisoner.
Schofield then retreated to Nashville to join Gen. Thomas. Thomas attacked Hood's approaching Army in the Battle of Nashville Dec. 15 and 16, 1864, capturing all of their artillery and about 4,500 prisoners. The numbers of Confederates killed or wounded were never reported, and the Army of the Tennessee ceased to exist as a fighting unit.
The sign out front of the Trail Days Cafe & Museum reads: "History Comes Alive Here!" And so it does. Kenneth W. McClintock


WIBW-TV (Channel 13) in Topeka periodically broadcasts during its local news program a short segment called "Fork in the Road"--which features some restaurant in the area. In recent months, they have featured the Saddlerock Cafe and the Hays House in Council Grove. On Tuesday, April 30th, it was the Trail Days Cafe & Museum's turn! Thanks, WIBW!! Kenneth W. McClintock


803 W Main St
Council Grove, KS

General information

We are an historic complex along the Santa Fe Trail where learning history is fun and delicious. Experience made from scratch food as in days gone by. Listen to stories from the past that will let your mind wander back to learn about what happened along the trail, with the Indians, our area, our State and our Nation.

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 20:00
Tuesday 11:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 20:00
Thursday 11:00 - 20:00
Friday 11:00 - 20:00
Saturday 11:00 - 20:00


(620) 767-7986


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