You’ll really need to be a quick-draw on this one.
A long-awaited restoration of the Jesse James Birthplace and Visitors Center near Kearney is providing an amazing and rare glimpse at early 19th-century pioneer architecture and engineering. Workers recently removed the aging exterior siding as well as deteriorated interior wallboards and insulation that had been added to the original cabin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was still owned by the James Family. This restoration work has revealed the original cabin logs, nails, and chinking, as well as floor and ceiling timbers, several of which still have their original bark from when they were felled in 1822.
For the next week or two only, subject to weather, visitors to the James Farm will be able to see all of the exposed timbers and interior cabin framework while workers prepare to recover them, leaving only a small protected section available to see in the future. It will be decades if ever before the original cabin framework is completely exposed again.
This is an incredible and very brief opportunity for students, history buffs, Jesse James aficionados, and anyone interested in seeing a genuine piece of our pioneer, Civil War, and wild west heritage. Click here for visiting hours and directions, or to phone for construction updates or arrange group tours.
This is only the second major restoration and protection project since the Jesse James Farm was acquired by Clay County in 1978 and is one of many deferred maintenance projects being addressed by the Tax-Free Bond Initiative passed by the Clay County Commission in 2018. An update of the James Farm Visitors Center was completed earlier this year. The completion of this project in early 2020 will ensure that this priceless, nearly 200-year-old piece of Clay County history is reinforced and better protected from nature to ensure its enjoyment for generations to come.
(Posted October 22, 2019)