OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK
Bring a picnic, your kids, friends, family-
Enjoy the fresh air and the Flint Hills. Take a walk around Volland and through the draw.
Wave to the train as it goes by, and fly a kite.
Did you know that Volland had the first tennis court in the area – and a softball team?
Families gathered here every Sunday afternoon, and sometimes there were a hundred people.
Renew the tradition, get out of the house, and bring your dog on a leash.
Here’s a taste of what you will see on the Trail –
Trail Head Kratzer Brothers Mercantile / The Volland Store | Built in 1913, it ran continuously until 1971 when Otto Kratzer died. In 2015, it was repurposed as The Volland Store “A Place for Art and Community.”
“The Ruin” of the Kratzer House | From here you can see the Old Kratzer Store, the New Kratzer Store, train tracks, the site of the Train Depot and Cattle Pens (long gone).
Before the “Ruin”
The Kratzer house caught fire in 1929 from cinders of a train’s steam engine and burned to the ground. Otto Kratzer and his family moved to the top floor of the Volland Store. The remains of the house are the “Ruin” today.
Original Kratzer Brothers Mercantile, Depot and Stockyards | Built in 1892, it served rail traffic, section crews, cowboys, and the families of surrounding ranches. The train depot and stockyards were behind the store. Cattle shipping was a major driver of the economy.
Volland Hill | Look beyond tracks to the top of the hill. Volland is spelled in limestone rocks. It indicated the town the train was passing through. It is most visible after prescribed Spring burning.
Follow the sign to the The Trail Through the West Draw
Walk the trail at your own risk.
-Venomous snakes and poison ivy
-When windy or rainy do not enter the West Draw
-Dogs need to be on a leash
Seasonal Creek | The area’s watershed flows through this draw to West Branch of Mill Creek (just across the railroad tracks). The stream is seasonal, usually running dry in the summertime. Native trees are found near waterways in the Flint Hills, and the trees lining this stream are Black Walnut, Hackberry, and Buckeye, is there a Redbud?. Look for the giant Hackberry tree.
Emerging from the Draw onto the Prairie | The brome field is on your right. Brome is a non-native perennial grass. It is cut, raked, and baled in June, then stored until winter to feed cattle. Native Tallgrass Prairie is on the left. The original prairie has not been touched by the plow. Native species include wildflowers, native prairie grasses, and sedges. At each stop on your walk, scan the landscape to see what you can see.
Near the corral – Volland Re-Imagined
A Place for Visiting Artists | Artists, scientists, and humanitarians who love nature, appreciate simplicity, and enjoy engagement with local communities, will be given time and space in the little houses of Volland. Occasional Artist Residencies will range from two to four weeks.
The Little House | A “kit house” from the 1920s. In 2019 the Design+Make class of 5th year architecture students at K-State redesigned the house for the Visiting Artist and Residency program at Volland.
“Otto’s House” | Originally located just south of the Old Kratzer Store. It was moved there (dragged by horses) from the neighboring Fix Ranch. It became home to Bill and Otto Kratzer, and eventually it was moved to its present location. After refurbishing, it will become part of the Visiting Artist and Residency program.
The Blacksmith Shop | First located by the railroad tracks but later moved to be closer to the Store. Today it is a gathering place for lunch, an art workshop, or a backdrop for musicians entertaining an audience in the picnic grove.
The Ice House | Located on top of a deep square pit whose walls were lined with stone. Ice was cut from frozen creeks in the wintertime and stored here before it was delivered to surrounding ranches where it provided refrigeration of sorts. Stones of the original Ice House form the garden walls.
The Volland Store | Now hosting art exhibits, music concerts, horse shows, vintage motorcycle shows, talks by artists, and many community gatherings. It is a Place for Art and Community.