Hays-Volga German Haus
This home is located on the grounds of the Ellis County Historical Society Museum and is a replica of the size and type of home the early Volga German settlers built. The Volga Germans arrived in Ellis County during the spring and summer of 1876.
When the first immigrants arrived to establish their villages, they quickly constructed a small dug-out sod shelter. The ground would be excavated to a depth of three feet, with the prairie sod blocks used to form the walls. Trees and saplings formed the rafters and support for the roof. The sod shelters were used until a more permanent house of native limestone rock could be built. This house was built from information obtained through diaries and other documentation passed down to the descendants, and is furnished with authentic household items which were used by the Volga German settlers. The exterior of the home is made of the native postrock limestone that was quarried in Ellis County. The interior of these style homes contained two rooms: a small room containing the "mud stove" and the cooking utensils, and a large room which served as the living, dining, and sleeping area. The interior walls were plastered with clay and whitewashed with Lebaster, a type of plaster of paris. A ladder provided access to the area in the open half attic for the children to sleep. Guided tours of the Volga German Haus are available through the Ellis County Historical Museum.