A trip into the past
With its foundation laid in Kansas Territory, the Rawlinson-Terwilliger home was built alongside the famed Santa Fe Trail as Kansas became the 34th state. Built by Abraham and Mary Rawlinson in 1860-61, this stone home was the last house freighters passed going West when leaving Council Grove as late as 1863. The Rawlinson family came from England on a ship and living with them was George Alexander, who was also from England and was 45 years old when he and the Rawlinson's one son, James, 20 years of age, left in September of 1861 to join the 8th Kansas Infantry to fight in the Civil War. November 4,1862 George Alexander died and is buried in Danville, KY. James survived the war and returned home in 1866.
From their home on the edge of the frontier, the Rawlinsons witnessed long trains of freight wagons loaded with goods, heading to or from Santa Fe. This home was a welcome sight to the freighters, as it signaled their return to civilization.
The property was purchased by William Riley Terwilliger and his wife, Mary, in 1870, who added the South wing by 1873. The Terwilliger family came to Morris County in 1859, and Mr. Terwilliger was at times a farmer, stockman, freighter, and owner of a livery stable,.They had 15 children and you can see three of them in this 1880 picture, along with Mary and William Riley, standing in the yard behind the fence.
This house was a home until 1927, when it was converted to a gas station.
As cars pulled up to get gas, they noticed all the big shady Maple trees on the property and asked to set their tent on the property for the night.
The first motel in America was at Delavan, Kansas, located a few miles West of Council Grove.
So the idea came to the property owner to build a motor camp with little overnight cabins that could be rented to travelers. The cabins would be better protection than a tent in Kansas weather and would garner a bit of income.
This site became known as "Maple Camp", with a gas station and cabins that cars could pull right up to the door and stay overnight.
The last year of the gas station era was 1977.
The stone house had been a gas station for 50 years. During that time it had lost its identity as a home, even though people were living in the back of it. In 1980 the building sold and was transformed into an antique shop. Eventually it was vacated and became very sad- looking.