George Grant Villa
Originally a successful silk merchant, George Grant came to America in 1872 in search of a place to build a country estate on which to retire. What he discovered was a new vision to turn the country into a major agricultural and livestock producing area. So, in the fall of 1872, Grant purchased 700,000 acres from the Kansas Pacific Railroad and then returned to England to organize a colony of British and Scotch noblemen. The group left England on April 1, 1873 with the necessary provisions, including several head of black polled Aberdeen bulls, a red shorthorn bull, thirty sheep and some horses. Upon their return to the area, Grant named the city after Queen Victoria, and he and his companions began construction on homes and town buildings.Grant’s hope for a country estate wasn’t forgotten in all of this. His Villa became the center of social activities during the rest of his life and the original structure, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, remains today. The house and surrounding land has been in the Paul and Lucy Baier family for over one hundred years, ever since it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Moritz Baier from Grant’s niece and her family in the spring of 1897. Although there have been some updates made in the home, the original structure made of native limestone is still intact. Black Angus cattle even still roam the pasture land around the Villa. The Baiers welcome guests to the Villa either for a simple drive through or for a pre-arranged guided tour. It is their hope to preserve the memory of George Grant and his contributions to the agricultural life of Western Kansas.Guided tours available by appointment.