Old Prairie Town
Ward-Meade Park in Topeka, Kansas has many things to offer: an old mansion, botanic gardens, and Old Prairie Town (a short street of 19th century buildings that have been moved to the site). The 2.5 acre botanic gardens are a bit less scenic then some, but are very enjoyable with over 500 varieties of flowers, trees, & shrubs) labeled with their common and scientific names), fountain, water garden and gazebo.
The grounds, Mulvane General Store Visitors Center & Gift Shop, Potwin Drug Store (with working soda fountain) and some other structures at Ward-Meade Park may be visited for free, but there is a tour entering several otherwise closed buildings for a modest charge.
One of those buildings is the 1870 Victorian Mansion which was the largest home in Topeka at the time it was built. Ghost hunters will want to check out the mansion, where Park staff have experienced spirit activity, including doors opening and closing and items moving in rooms. Ward-Meade Park doesn't promote the "haunted" aspect of the mansion, but at least one former skeptic is now a believer. The ghost activity is not volunteered during the tours, so ask about it if you are interested.
During the winter, hearth meals are prepared and served in the 1854 replica cabin twice a week tow groups and individuals with advance reservations. The Ward-Meade Park grounds and buildings are also popular for weddings, parties and other gatherings.
Ward-Meade Park hosts several special events during the year including the spring Tulip Time Festival and the autumn Apple Festival.
copyright 2006-2011 by Keith Stokes