Friday, July 27, 2012

The 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House Museum

   Located  about 100 feet from the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River, in the Historic town of Clarksville,Missouri, the 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House Museum, is open for tours ,anytime with reservations or during special events. Call Richard Cottrell, the owner, to arrange your tour.573 -242- 9688
  Tours last around 1 hour and cost $5.00 a person. Baby strollers are not allowed.Clarksville is 70 miles from St.Louis,Missouri and 50 miles from Hannibal,Missouri.

This is the entrance to the Mississippi River Front Park, just across the street from my Antique Shop

   Clarksville was settled in 1815 and named after the famous American Explorer, of the Lewis and Clark team. It is one of the few towns left with it's main street on the river banks. Having survived many floods, it is a thriving town with many artist studios and antique shops. A great tourist destination, especially the 1845 Elgin/Cottrell House.
     The Elgin family came to America on the Mayflower. They fought in the Revolutionary War with George Washington. They married into the John Adams family. They were given a Spanish Land Grant  by President James Manroe ,in the territory of Missouri. Missouri became a state in 1821. That land was in the area of Clarksville,Missouri ,starting at the river, They built a trading post and dealt with the native Americans. Built the first road from Clarksville to St. Louis. Opened the first hotel in Clarksville and built a opera house. Hazakeah Elgin built the Elgin/Cottrell house, stating in 1845 with an 1860 addition. The house stayed in the Elgin family for over 100 years.

The grounds are done in the Ante Bellum style

   The house was bought by Richard Cottrell in the spring of 2006. Having no working utilities it was not livable. A massive 3 year restoration was done and in 2009 it was opened to the public for the first time. Tours have been offered ever since. The house is named for it's builder,Hazekiah Elgin, and it's savior,Richard Cottrell. Thus the, Elgin/Cottrell House. It is one of the oldest houses in Clarksville.
    Reproduction wall paper, fabric and paint colors were used. Antique furniture and decorative accessories from the 1860 period fills the rooms of the museum. A large collection of formal oil portraits are on the walls. The house is very beautifully decorated and appointed.Most guest are amazed at the treasure inside and the decor. A lot of museum houses  are rather bare, Not this house.

The Down River or Gentleman's Parlor

Wall paper and ceiling details

Some of the   fine  antique accessories you will see in the museum

The windows are 9 foot tall, go all the way to the floor and all have a grand view of the Mississippi.

   The house has been featured twice, in the nation magazine, Victorian Homes. It was also features on PBS -TV,with a 30 minute program in February of 21012. Many local newspapers have covered the house as well.
    The tours are given by the owner, a antiques dealer, art major and interior designer. there is no question he can not answer and he always throws in a little humor as well. Be sure and ask him who cleans the house and who the people are in the portraits. There are 12 rooms, all done to the Ante Bellum period. You can walk in the rooms, set on the furniture and touch things with permission. It is a very fun and unique experience.
   I promise you you will enjoy the tour, so make plans to call for a reservation soon.

My Antique Mall 2 blocks from the house.

Inside the mall where I have 7 dealers plus me for a nice  mixture of antique and vintage  items

  Richard also has an Antique Mall in downtown Clarksville. It is only 2 blocks from the house. It is a very unique shopping destination. Several dealers all add personality  to the every changing inventory. 101 First Street. Open every day but Tuesdays. 10 to 5. The Downtown Antique mall. 573- 242-9688
The Up River or Ladies Parlor. Facing the river.

The museum has one of the largest collection of formal oil portraits in Missouri.

Beautiful Antique Accessories are every where.

The Kitchen

 Hand Made Early Baskets

Cow creamers and Staffordshire Dogs

Early crockery in the kitchen

  The house can be rented for parties. Cottrell will make a beautiful setting for your next function. he uses all the fine china, crystal and silver from the butlers pantry, Fresh flowers make for a beautiful  setting. Small groups can have brunch, lunch, dinner, or a desert buffet. You can even have a small, private and very beautiful wedding in the double parlor. Prices are figured on number of people and what you need. You can do the food or Cottrell will arrange for it. References upon request.

Dining room mantle

Dining room wall paper and ceiling details

Dining Room chandelier is 5 foot tall, French, and came from a palace in Turkey

Bus tours are welcome, we have plenty of parking

Tourist arriving at the 1845 Elgin/Cottrell House

Tourist enjoying a tour and a piano player.

 This is Sissy, she will always greet you at the door with a jump and a kiss.
                                      PLEASE COME TAKE A TOUR REAL SOON.
                                                Call for reservations. 573-242-9688

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Missouri Mansion


Missouri Governors Mansion in Jefferson City,Mo. It is a beautiful home.

My Friend Donna.

Kay and Donna
Me, telling Donna about the columns.

   The state of Missouri ,where I live and abide,has a beautiful old Governors Mansion. It was built in 1870 and was built for the purpose, of the home to the Missouri Governor. Most states Governors mansions were built as private homes and then sold to the state ,for use as the home to the Governor and his family. Missouri is one of the few house that were built just as the governors home. This mansion sets high on a hill over looking the Missouri River and is in our state capital town of Jefferson City.It is about 2 and 1/2 hours from my little town of Clarksville,Mo. I have read and seen many books on the mansion. It  has a nice web site with pictures and history. For years I have wanted to go take a tour. The tour is free, but for some reason I just have not taken the time and made the effort to go. Sunday past ,my friend Donna, asked me if I would like to do something together on my day off. We both agreed it would be a fun thing to do, so we called our friend Kay ,who lives in Jefferson City and the three of us made plans to go visit the mansion and have lunch.
    After several days, which seemed like weeks, it was not  too hot in Missouri, only 90 as compared to the 104-108  temperatures that we have been experiencing.So on Tuesday morning, July 9th,bright and early, we hit the road for our big adventure. I was so excited to finally see and walk into this house that I knew so well from pictures and books,that was all I talked about on the ride up there. Donna said I could probably give a better tour than the tour guide. I laughed and said she was probably right. When we arrived we were a few minutes early and Kay was not there yet. So we went into the yard and looked around. I started telling Donna all about the porch columns on the entrance porch, the huge double front doors and the fountain outside in the courtyard. When Kay arrived and we started the tour, the first words out of the tour guides mouth were about the doors, columns and fountain. Donna looked and me and we both smiled.

   Then we went to the mansion and my mouth flew open, as all the furniture and window treatments were out of the mansion. They had been sent out to be redone and recovered. I was just sick. All we got to see were big empty rooms. They were beautiful rooms, but for the most part empty. The rooms did have a lot of portraits of the first ladies. It was fun to see them, in the many different styles and ages, from the very oldest to the newest. I have known several of the first ladies personally, for various reasons. My friend and lawyer in St.Louis, father was governor and her mother a first lady.  Two families have strong connections to Pike County,Mo. where I live, as they were from here. I went to school  with some of there descendants.I also worked with a couple of them ,when I had my shop in St. Louis, when they were looking for certain pieces for the mansion. Some of which I helped them find.
    The Governors Mansion is what is known as Second Empire style.  Some call is Renaissance Revival. It was designed by a St.Louis Architect  and built in 1870. The first Governor to move in was Governor Brown in the winter of 1870.The brick for the house was hand made in Missouri and the walnut wood for the wood work and floors was also from Missouri. Each Governor, from the very first to live there, has given the mansion a gift, some where mirrors, furniture,piano's and chandeliers. In the  late 1980's the house was in very bad repair. Governor Kit Bond, who latter went on to became a Missouri Senator was living in the mansion at that time. It was his wife who started a program to preserve the house and its furnishings. A trust was started and is still in place. The mansion owes a lot to Mrs. Bond.

The Missouri State Capital, Jefferson City, Mo. Sets behind the Mansion gardens.

Dining room ceiling details.

Dining room carpet.

The grand staircase.

   The house is going through a major  repair cycle at this time. The windows were all replaced with new, double plane glass. The brick was cleaned and tuck pointed. The slate roof replaced and the electric, heating and cooling was all up dated. This was all thanks to over 3 million dollars in donations. It is a grand home and well fit for a Governor and his wife, the first lady. I, as Missourian, am very proud of it. I am so glad it has been saved and preserved for future generations of Missourians to enjoy. I think one of the former first ladies said it best, when she said, that the mansion is a hand clasp of history, enjoyed and shared by all Missourians and others as well. I hope to go back soon and see it put back together. It only took 62 years to get there the first time, so I don't know for sure if I will every make it back. I sure hope so,
   In the mean time, come visit me at another Missouri Mansion, My House. The 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House Museum here  in Clarksville,Mo. I will always leave the lights on and Sissy will meet you at the door with a jump and a kiss. And we have furniture and curtains. Heck ,some people even say my house is prettier. I'd like to thank so. In the mean time,  I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Peoples," Mansion of Missouri."

The Library

These chairs go in the entrance hall. 

Library ceiling

Library window cornices

Entrance Hall Ceiling

Double Parlor Details

Parlor ceiling detail

The 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House Museum, AKA, My Old Historic House.Clarksville,Mo.