America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site, Sedalia, Missouri
There's more to history in the USA than the great parks and monuments of the National Park Service. Yes, I know, we're guilty of thinking that there isn't ourselves sometimes when trip planning, but each state has a significant amount of historic sites of various shapes and subjects within their own confines, and many should not be missed when you trek nearby to perhaps better known locales. In Missouri, that is certainly the case. While you may be following one of the many historic trails taking pioneers west from the Jefferson Expansion Memorial Arch (i.e. Santa Fe, Oregon, Pony Express, and Lewis & Clark), don't forget to check into the state sites that fill in the gap to the story of the Missouri plains and how they got filled with Europeans, whether all of the residents of the time preferred that or not.
- What is There Now
There are more than ninety state parks and state historic sites in Missouri, covering stories from the Trail of Tears to Mastadons to Scott Joplin and jazz on the eastern side of the state to the Civil War Battle of Lexington and historic homes of General Pershing and Harry Truman in the west. And when you're on your way in between, traveling the Route 70 corridor from St. Louis to Kansas City, there's one very unique home for perhaps a less known national figure, John Homer Bothwell, who built a lodge in Sedalia that just may put all others to shame, and that's if you combine them all into one.
Let's start out with size, although the lodge didn't start out this large; it would grow over thirty-one years in four phases. Try 12,000 square feet. Try 31 rooms. Try built over two caves, one used to provide natural air conditioning. There was basically nothing there when Bothwell bought it in 1896 and named it Stonyridge Farm. But when you visit, you'll see that among many of the original furnishings, is an amazing home to which castle would not be an incorrect term, at least in the United States sense of the word.
Bothwell lived in the home until 1929 and left the lodge to his friends called the Bothwell Lodge Club. It became part of the state's system of historic sites in 1974.
And if you like historic sites, but aren't as big a huge house fan as others in your group, then take a stroll on one of two trails, one three-quarter of a mile and the other, a three mile trail. You can stroll the Missouri earth and enjoy the view, even dip your toes into a Muddy Creek. Yes, that's it's name. While walking, you can also trek past other dwellings on site, including the Cliff House and Farmhouse.
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site
Historic Bothwell Lodge, all 12,000 square feet and 31 rooms. Stonyridge Trail and Radiant Trail.
Picnic areas and playground.
There are guided tours from Thursday through Monday April 1 to September 15. Friday to Sunday during fall/winter hours.
Ten minute introductory film.
How Much to VisitTour cost $4 per adult, $3 youth (6-17), under 6 free.
Hours OpenGrounds are open year round, 8 a.m. to sunset. Tour hours (spring/summer season) 10-4 Th-Sa, 11-4 Su. Fall/winter hours 10-4 Fr-Sa, 11-4 Su. There are tours on some holiday Mondays in the fall and winter.
Where Is It LocatedBothwell Lodge State Historic Site is located in Sedalia, Missouri on the I-70 corridor in the central part of the state, but closer to Kansas City than St. Louis. From Kansas City, it's about 85 miles east on I-70, then south on I-65. After twelve miles, you turn left (east) on Bothwell State Park Road. If you go all the way to the town of Sedalia, you've gone too far.
Website - Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site
Photos, History, and More Spotlights
Bothwell Lodge and Sedalia Attraction Photos
Don't get lost when you wander around this home. It's large and filled with interesting items, from furnishings of the owner and period, plus the idea that you can get natural air conditioning form a cave below the home.
Katy Trail State Park is located in Sedalia, including the Katy Depot, which serves as a welcome center. If you come to Sedalia in August, you can take in the Missouri State Fair. Over 300,000 people attend the Missouri State Fair in August for eleven days. The fair began in September 9-13, 1901 in Sedalia on 150 acres with staples such as music, food, rides, and the famous Mule Show. Sedalia won a competition to host the fair over a number of Missouri cities and has held the event continuously for the past one hundred plus years. (Photo above, Missouri State Fair Ferris Wheel).
Website: Missouri State Fair
America's Best History where we take a look at the timeline of American History and the historic sites and national parks that hold that history within their lands.
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Park Service, americasbesthistory.com and its licensors.