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The Old West - August 12, 2016

The Hays House on Main Street in Council Grove, around 1860. (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society /

Q: What's the name of the Kansas restaurant started by Daniel Boone's great-grandson, which is still in business today (159 years later!), along the old Santa Fe Trail?

A: Hays House (in Council Grove) 
Seth Hays, the great-grandson of Daniel Boone, moved to the Kansas Territory in the mid-1800s. He settled in Council Grove, a popular stop on the Santa Fe Trail. It's here that Hays decided to start a trading post and restaurant business. Construction on his building was completed in 1857 and soon became a favored spot for buying supplies and eating a decent meal. The building also served as a post office, court room, theater and church.
In 1886, a fire burned down much of Council Grove’s Main Street, but the Hays House was spared, in part by townsfolk who worked to put out the flames. The Hays House bills itself as the oldest restaurant in continuous operation west of the Mississippi. One hundred and fifty-nine years after it first opened, you can still enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner here.   
Fun Factoid: Customers at Hays House have included the famous and the infamous, including Jesse James and General George Armstrong Custer.

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