The current Stockade Museum was built in 1961 next to the Carry Nation home. It is not an exact replica of the original 1874 frontier stockade, but is built the same way. It is about 1/3 the size of the original stockade, with a corner taken out for the Carry Nation Home.
The museum displays many historical artifacts and antiques, which help tell the story of Medicine Lodge and the surrounding area. The Smith Log Cabin and the Old Courthouse Jail, inside the Stockade’s log walls, are special attractions. Also on display is the actual peace pipe used in the signing of the 1867 peace treaty, along with memorabilia from early Peace Treaty Pageants, which began in 1927.
On this page are featured a few of the exhibits, in the hope that you will want to come see the entire museum and its collection.
Smith Log Cabin
The Smith log house was built by Robert “Uncle Bob” Smith. The original site of the home was 14 miles southwest of Medicine Lodge. Robert and his oldest sons built it in 1877 when the family moved to Barber County.
Cedar logs were used for the foundation of the house. Cottonwood logs were hewed and notched by Robert and his sons, and form the basis of the exterior walls. When Robert’s son Gordie and his family made the log house their home, they added rooms as children came along and the money to do so was available.
The log house has four rooms and two stories, which visitors may enter. When the Stockade Museum was built in 1961, the Smith family put the log house back into its original form, as near as possible, and donated it to the Stockade Museum. It is completely furnished with period antiques.
1884 Bank Robbery
The museum contains many old photos. These framed photos recall the Medicine Lodge bank robbery of 1884. The ones on the left and right show the men who committed the robbery. The center photos show the posse that caught them, and the Medicine Valley Bank where the robbery occurred.
Two bank officials were shot in the robbery. One died at the scene and the other died later. One robber was killed trying to escape; the others were hung by a lynch mob that broke into the jail. During Peace Treaty Pageant weekend, the Night Show includes a reenactment of the bank robbery.
The museum also houses a number of antiques. On the left is a sample of the beautiful antique glassware and chine on display. On the right is a display of antique personal care items, which is a favorite attraction.
Old Steel Jail
This old jail was installed in the basement of the courthouse in 1886. It is hand riveted steel, and was originally equipped with four bunks in each cell.
The old jail has held 18 or 20 murderers in its day, including the man who shot county sheriff McCracken.
When running water came to town, a basin, sink, and bathtub were installed. The last two men who occupied this jail were lacking for something to do, so one bathed the other in the tub, and the fellow who took the bath died the next day. Doc said it was pneumonia, but the old timers said it was shock, as he had never had a bath before.
Carry Nation Home
The Carry Nation Home is next door to the Stockade Museum and, although it is separately owned, a Stockade Museum ticket also admits the visitor to the Carry Nation Home Museum.
David and Carry Nation moved to Medicine Lodge in 1890 when David became pastor of the First Christian Church. They purchased this house at that time, though it was smaller then.
While living in Medicine Lodge, Carry began lecturing against the vices of tobacco and liquor, and helped organize the Medicine Lodge chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
In 1880 Kansas had passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting the non-medicinal sale of intoxicating beverages, which Kansas saloon keepers widely ignored. This troubled Carry greatly, and she began smashing saloons in her attempt to enforce the law. She smashed her first saloon on June 1, 1900, in Kiowa, 20 miles away.
This home, where Carry lived when she began smashing saloons, was declared a National Historic Landmark in May 1976. Inside the home are memorabilia of Carry’s crusade against alcohol. Local people donated the period furnishings; Carry owned and used the antique writing desk, pump organ, walnut dresser, and oak bed.