816.580.3387

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Visitors Center and Museum Hours
Woolen Mill and the Watkins House Tours

Black History Month Exhibit

Visit Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site to view a special Black History Month exhibit. This exhibit, entitled “The Whitley Sisters Remember: Living with Segregation in Kansas City,” follows Gertrude, Geneva and Irene Whitley. The Whitley sisters experienced the Great Migration of the 1920s and 1930s, as many African Americans left farms to move to cities, many traveling from the south to the north. One of the cities experiencing this great influx of migrants was Kansas City. This exhibit offers a look at what life was like for this new population in Kansas City, as well as the influences they would have on the city itself. The Whitley sisters were there, and they remembered it all. The visitor center is open daily, and the exhibit can be viewed 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, contact the park at 816-580-3387.


Watkins House and Woolen Mill Tours

Tour the Watkins family home and woolen mill for an unforgettable trip into the 1800s.

This 2 ½ story Classic Revival home has been restored to its 1870s appearance. Built between 1850-1854, the home was made almost entirely from materials immediately available on the property.Highlights of the house tour include the semicircular semi-floating staircase, the formal parlor, guest rooms, and the summer kitchen.

Watkins spent several years carefully planning the mill and manufacturing the supplies – bricks, timber beams, support posts, floor joists, rafters, roof sheathing, windows, doors and cedar shingles– he needed to build the mill. Then in 1860, construction began and lasted just one year. Highlights of the mill tour include the storefront, machinery for processing wool, spinning yarn, weaving cloth, the gristmill and the original steam engine.

Directions

Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site is located northeast of Kearney, MO.
The main entrance is at NE 161st Street and County Road RA

From Kansas City, Missouri
Drive 15 miles north on I-35 to Kearney (Exit 26). Turn right onto eastbound Highway 92 and continue east for about six miles to turn left (north) onto Route RA. The park entrance will be on the right off Route RA. Watch for signs.

From St. Joseph, Missouri
Drive 28 miles south on I-35 to Kearney (Exit 26). Turn left onto eastbound Highway 92 and continue east for about six miles to turn left (north) onto Route RA. The park entrance will be on the right off of Route RA. Watch for signs.

Amenities

Public restrooms and drinking water are available when the Visitors Center is open. Several picnic areas are available at the adjacent state park. A covered shelter house can be rented by calling the park office (816) 580-3387.