In the last twenty five years, a little town in Kansas you’ve probably never heard of named Olathe has been making a name for itself. With a population exceeding 125,000, and the median age being in the mid-30s, its becoming known as the up and comer in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. It has risen to become the fourth largest City in Kansas by population, with Wichita holding the number one spot.
It has a thriving business community, with the world famous Garmin calling the city home. There are a number of manufacturing and information technology companies in the city, including Network Technologies, ESolutions, Atmos Energy,Service Experts and Honeywell.
In terms of education, the school district boasts 35 elementary schools, 9 middle schools and currently 4 high schools. It is also home to the world headquarters for the Church of The Nazarene. Quite unique to the State of Kansas, and and the City is the Kansas State School For the Deaf, which was founded in 1866. Due to this, the City has a high number of deaf residents. Because of the large number of deaf residents, the City has taken it upon itself to ensure that City services, police and fire receive specialized training to ensure that they can effectively communicate with these citizens.
The town has a surprisingly high number of activities to keep your interest.
It may surprise you to know that Olathe was one of the stops along the Santa Fe trail, the path that took pioneers to the promised land of California. Along the this trail resides the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site. This historic site, founded in 1858 with the purchase made by J.B. and Lucinda Mahaffie, operated as a stagecoach stop until 1869. Servicing the Sanderson Stage Line, the couple provided horse service and meals to hungry travelers. In 1979, the City moved forward with the purchase of approximately 20 acres, and turned that land into a historic City park. If you’re looking for an experience, and want to know first hand what life was like back then, you can take a bumpy stagecoach ride, assist the blacksmith with making tools, tour the inside of the home, or help feed the many farm animals that reside on the property.
Keeping the the outdoor theme, make time to head over to the Ernie Miller Nature Center. Located on 7 highway, north of Santa Fe, the nature center gives visitors an opportunity for learning, understanding, and admiring nature’s fascinating ways. It’s historical, and environmental education programming is offered to everyone young and old by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. The staff are eager to share their knowledge and stories, so don’t miss out on this wonderful attraction.
Another great attraction here
is the often overlooked Kansas City Automotive Museum. Located at 15095 W 116th Street 66062 (Phone Number 913-322-4227), this museum boasts over 30 types of rare and historical automobiles. It’s never the same visit twice, as the museum rotates its display of cars every four to six months. The cars are all privately owned, and shared with the general public for display.
It might surprise you to know that there is a winery in the suburb. The City is proud to be home to the Stone Pillar Vineyard and Winery. The area is supportive of both types of grapes required to make both red and white wines. The vineyard is owned and operated by the Hoff Family who have been on the land and farming it since before the Civil War. It was the dream of George and Brandi Hoff to own and operate a winery while they were on vacation in 2004. While on that vacation, they found the land in Olathe to remind them of similar locations they’d been to in the Niagara Lake region. It was from that seed that the family moved forward with their plans, and thus the Stone Pillar Vineyard was founded.
The fully operational vineyard delights in giving visitors tours, tastings, and in the summer, live music. Check their website for hours, as they vary during the season. However, the vineyard is open year round, but it would be best to plan ahead to make the most of your visit.