Flint Hills Stories

Barn Dancing

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Art and Sophia Schultz enjoy a night of dancing at Thierer’s barn dance, located at Lowell and Myrtle Thierer’s farm at Volland, Kansas. Notice that lanterns illuminate the dance floor in this view dated 4-15-67. Photo courtesy Julie Schultz.

An long-standing tradition in the Kansas Flint Hills is the holding of dances inside barns scattered across the rural Kansas prairie. The barns offered an ideal setting when the large hay lofts were empty, providing a large, unobstructed wooden floor.

In some cases, such as the Thierer’s barn, located at Volland, Kansas, barns hosted regular dances each weekend.

theirer-barn

The massive hay and stock barn located on the George Thierer’s farm (later Lowell Thierer’s farm) was a regular venue for barn dances for decades.

In some cases, barn dances are single events meant to harken a specific event.  Many wedding dances have been held in Flint Hills barns.  But no barn in the history of Wabaunsee County has seen such an elaborate event as the barn dance held at the Wiser barn in south Wilmington Township to celebrate the opening of the newly constructed barn.

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A formal, engraved invitation to the a party, barbeque and dance celebrating the opening of the new Wiser barn. Photo courtesy Ellen Coffman.

When the massive Wiser barn was nearing completion in 1884, Harlow Wiser, who managed the Kansas stock ranch, sent formal invitations to a gala event, celebrating the new barn’s construction. The invitation called for dinner to be served in the barn at 1:00 pm and field sports would begin at 2:00 pm. At 5:00 pm a barbecue would be served, followed by dancing in the barn at 8:00 pm. Music was provided by Hick’s Orchestra.

wiser-barn-1884

The Wiser barn is seen here shortly after its construction in 1884. A windmill on the top of the barn powered a feed-grinder and a well in the basement for watering stock. Photo courtesy Ellen Coffman.

The event at the Wiser barn was well-attend and reported in the press with first-hand accounts of considerable celebration and gaiety.

Today, barn dances are still being held at Volland at the Fix barn, located a mile east of The Volland Store.

1 reply »

  1. Greg, that is the first time I had ever seen the other side of Lowell s barn.!Wonder what year that was and who was on the horse….. Julie S

    Like

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