New exhibit building opening in Old Cowtown

Published On: Mar 20 2014 02:30:27 PM CDT

March is Women’s History Month. To celebrate, Cowtown is proud to announce the opening of a new exhibit building, the McKenzie House. It represents the type of house a single woman would own or rent after immigrating to Wichita in the 1880s.


The Mckenzie House is one of 54 original and re-created buildings on Cowtown’s grounds that can be toured anytime between 10 AM - 5 PM Tuesday - Saturday. Guided tours can be arranged by calling 316-350-3323. Cowtown is located at 1865 W. Museum Blvd.


The McKenzie House is located in Cowtown’s residential section, behind the One Room School House and across the street from the Murdock House that was owned by Wichita Eagle founder Col. Marshall M. Murdock.


After the arrival of railroads, not just families and farmers came to Wichita, but single men, ethnic minorities and single women.


The McKenzie House tells the story of the only schoolteacher listed in the 1878 City of Wichita directory, Rebecca L. Duff, who arrived from Illinois with only a few items to start a life in Wichita.


 “Our goal at Cowtown is to give a complete look at life in Wichita during the latter part of the 19th century,” said Cowtown Director David Flask. “The addition McKenzie House allows us to introduce visitors to the single women who worked as laundresses, domestic workers, teachers and business owners. This group made significant contributions to Wichita’s development as a city.”


The Mckenzie House was donated to Cowtown in 1961 by Leo McKenzie, whose family owned Wichita Carriage Works. The home is believed to have been built in the 1880s and located at 3rd and Water Streets.


The McKenzie family also donated the Story & ½ House to Cowtown. Previously, McKenzie House served as a caretaker’s residence, volunteer headquarters and interpreter’s lounge. It was most recently occupied by the Girl Scouts, who referred to it as the Kirby House.


Admission to Cowtown is $7.75 for adults, $6.50 for senior citizens, $6 for youth (ages 12-17) and $5.50 for children (ages 4-11). There is no charge for children under 4 and Museum members. For more information, call 316-350-3323 or go to


Established in 1952, Cowtown is one of the oldest living-history museums in the Midwest. The Museum preserves our community’s history by immersing visitors in experiences that represent life in Wichita from 1865 to 1880. Historic Wichita Cowtown Inc. works in partnership with the City of Wichita to enhance and further the Museum and its mission.