Life In Missouri... History And Old Stuff...
If you ever travel north from Sedalia, MO, on Highway 65, you'll notice a large stone house on the top of a ridge.
When I lived in central Missouri (most of 1975-1986), people called it "the castle on the hill north of Sedalia." I don't think it was open for visitors then.
Nowadays, it is called Bothwell Lodge. It's an official State Historic Site, managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and open to the public. If you visit at the right time, there are guided tours.
|From the entrance side||From the lower side|
Seen from the entrance on top of the hill, the house appears to have two levels, but when you look at the house from the other side, you realize that one end has three levels and the tower is four stories high.
|Looking down from a balcony||Looking inside Bothwell Lodge|
According the the MDNR pamphlet about Bothwell Lodge, there are 11 bedrooms and 20 other rooms -- 12,000 square feet in all. We didn't tour the house, but I liked the rustic, Arts-and-Crafts style I saw through a window.
|Shady gardens on the hilltop||A view of the valley below|
The house has an interesting history. It was built by a prominent Sedalia lawyer, John Homer Bothwell. He was influential locally and also served as a state legislator for 16 years. During his time in office, the city of Sedalia was declared the permanent site of the Missouri State Fair.
Bothwell was married to Miss Hattie E. Jaynes in 1884. She died in 1887, and he never remarried. Instead, he poured his energies into public service, the practice of law, and his home and farm.
Bothwell bought this acreage, 7 miles north of Sedalia, to protect a portion of the wooded ridge from lumbering. He named it Stonyridge Farm. The house was constructed in several stages from 1890 to 1929.
The property also includes several outbuildings, the quarries from which the rock for the house was mined, and nature paths that wander down the hillside.
John Homer Bothwell died in 1929. He willed the property to a group of friends and relatives who owned it until the State of Missouri assumed ownership in 1974. Bothwell Lodge, Hotel Bothwell, and the Missouri State Fair are three of his achievements that can still be seen in the community of Sedalia.
On the wall at Bothwell Lodge, the following typewritten message is posted:
Thursday, August 8th, 1929
The flag is not flying at the "Top of the Hill" because the "Builder of the Lodge" has gone.
He left the doors of the Lodge wide open for his friends to come in.
Every stone that he placed with exacting care stands as a monument, and the wondrous design his personality expresses.
His gracious wish was that others would come to enjoy it as he did.
The murmurings in the trees, the song of the birds, and the glow of the sunset across the fields -- to him:
Life's race well run,
Life's work well done,
Life's crown well won,
Now comes rest.
Jennie Jaynes Lewis
(Sister of Hattie Jaynes Bothwell)
Photos of Bothwell Lodge by karendenise1960