Gilman Blood arrived in Wichita in 1871 from Peoria, Illinois, and entered a claim with the Federal Land Office to purchase 160 acres of Osage Trust Land at what is now 63rd Street South and Broadway. In 1872, he began crop farming and raising hogs on his property, planting his first apple trees, as well as growing blackberries and raspberries. Until the apple trees matured he hauled freight into the “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma) and brought back buffalo meat and hides to sell. As the trees matured he turned to full time orchard work. He was known throughout the area for an “honest basket” where the apples on the bottom were as good as the apples on top. The Blood Orchard was the first of many in Wichita and was operated commercially through four generations of the family. The family eventually switched to peaches and are well known by older residents for their luscious product.
In 2001 the frame house of Gilman Blood arrived on the Old Cowtown Museum grounds. The 1871 house was donated to the Museum in 1994 by Gilman's great-grandson Gerald Blood, who still lived on the family homestead property. The house will be the centerpiece of the Blood Homestead and Orchard exhibit which will be developed over the coming seasons.
From the exterior, the small house may appear to be a one-room structure. However, the house is a very well preserved example of a hall-and-parlor residence, a folk vernacular construction style that is rarely found in Kansas. The term "hall-and-parlor" describes a house that was one room deep and two rooms wide and was common to the southeastern United States.
The larger room, the "hall", was the center of household activity. The smaller "parlor" was used primarily for private activities or sleeping, and the attic loft might also provide sleeping space. Research indicates that the Gilman Blood House is one of a very few documented examples of its type with a confirmed date and in such well-preserved condition.