Monday, June 10, 2013

Ravenswood Manison in Bunceton, MO

 June 9, 2013 ~ I have heard a lot about this place lately and wanted to go check it out so Brandon and I loaded up mom and dad and headed out on a road trip! Our first stop was 87 Diner in Boonville, MO and then we headed on over to Ravenswood in Bunceton, MO. This place was kind of creepy yet super cool. When you pulled in the driveway you knew that you would be interested in the history of this beautiful old mansion.

Ravenswood is a plantation farmhouse, located outside of Boonville, Missouri. The home that was built in 1880 by Nadine and Charles Leonard and has been in the Leonard family for six generations. The home is full of the original furnishings and clothing from all around the world, gathered by the first two generations of the house. There are over 30 furnished rooms in the three story house.

As you step up to the front door you are greeted with these unique door knockers. The sign near the door says to ring the door bell but in an old mansion like this it seemed more fitting to use the door knockers. We were greeted by a tour guide and we were the only 4 people there. She introduced herself and collected the $7.00 per person and began the tour.

The tour started in the front room and our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of this place including where some of the furniture came from. I wish I had brought my good camera as well as a pen and paper to jot down some of the things she was saying. (I think it's worth taking a second tour as an iPhone just doesn't capture everything)

We then wen into another room that had some really neat pieces. They left this home in it's original state and you will see some wallpaper peeling as you walk through the home. I can't imagine how prestigious this home was back in it's prime and just to see the many amazing pieces from all over the world was really interesting.

They had so many pictures of family on the walls and the current owners even have a few modern pictures sprinkled in as well. I wish I could remember all the history of the family members but I believe she said one of the owners was a Governor of Missouri but I am not 100% sure. (He might have been a brother to the owner or another family member) In this room the family had a bull that won All-American or United States Champion Bull which is all the awards you see in the top photo.

The front plate of this old grandfather clock states it was from 1790 and was from Paris, Kentucky. It was brought to Missouri by covered wagon and was moved several times as the family would take it with them. (This was the family's summer home). What a cool piece of history!

Next we went into the dinning room area. They had some of the coolest china on the table. This china was on display at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, MO and was purchased to put on display in this home. This china has never been eaten off of. In the bottom picture you see the little glasses/goblets? When the current owners were married at this house (pretty sure that is correct) they poured campaign in these glasses and toasted. Everyone about had a cow on the dinning room floor because these glasses are so old and they are paper thin that something as simple as a toast could break them. Thankfully they did not break and they are still a piece of this collection.

We then headed upstairs and it was amazing to see how spacious the bedrooms were. In this room it was neat to see the old bedding, wallpaper, and clothing. The dress in the bottom picture was from an inauguration of Grover Cleavland. It's hard to see but the picture on the dresser behind it is the bride looking into the mirror (seen in middle picture) on her wedding day. This was the only wedding ever held at this house.

A bathroom between two bedrooms.

It was really cool to see this man's bedroom with all the various uniforms on the bed. The old furniture was in good shape for the age too.

It was neat to hear the old music box when the tour guide would crank it to play. Apparently just before they got there she gave a tour to a couple of college girls and while they were downstairs the music box came on by itself. She said they didn't want to go upstairs and held on tight to each other. She told them the house is haunted but they aren't mean spirits. It didn't matter... they were scared! It wasn't scary to us and something you can easily take your kids to see. They ask that you don't touch things because of the age and to preserve the items.

We went to another bedroom that had another room behind it. She said this would have been a nursery room but was currently another bedroom. Loved the old rocking horse and bicycle.

 This was the last bedroom we would visit and it had a lot of really neat stuff in it including an old steam trunk that women used for short visits.

This was Nadine's wedding dress and a picture of her in it. Amazing to see the details on it.

Here's another dress that was an original / one-of-a-kind made for her with a picture of her in it.

It's hard to see but the white part of the wall is hand tooled elephant skin. The walls were thin plaster and as they would bring the trunks up and down the halls/stairs this elephant skin would protect the walls from damage. 

I really wished I had brought my good camera as my iPhone didn't do these pictures justice. Just so much to look at and wonder what life must have been like for these people. I'm sure the places they traveled to (based on the beautiful pieces they brought back) was really interesting too. I'm glad we stopped in for a visit and I would love to go back! 

We drove down to the carriage house to have a quick peek inside. 

If you want something different to do I recommend taking a little drive and seeing this neat old mansion. They give tours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and you can visit their website at


  1. In the past I have visited the mansion maybe 5 times. To me what is fascinating is the fact it has never been touched. These are the "real deal" and not the recreation of some present day "designer" claiming this was how the house looked. I LOVE the fact some of the curtains are hanging in tatters! Its as close to being lost in that time period as you can get. If you are truly a history lover, this is the place for you. If you want to see a sterile recreated house, this is not. I went when the "old" Mr Leonard was alive. We even got to go to the attic! I heard his grandson started giving tours, and now a Woman? At any rate a "Must See" for the serious history lover. Of five stars I give it Five Stars. You'll never see anything like it...hopefully it will be around forever.

  2. One more thing; my last visit was nearly 25 years ago- when in the attic, I saw thevstair well to the tower- I was going to go up, but when I entered I saw a snake- I left the Whole tour upstairs as I burned down to the first floor. Lol..I'm sure he's gone!

  3. One more thing; my last visit was nearly 25 years ago- when in the attic, I saw thevstair well to the tower- I was going to go up, but when I entered I saw a snake- I left the Whole tour upstairs as I burned down to the first floor. Lol..I'm sure he's gone!

  4. I went to ravenswood a good thirty plus years ago. The old couple gave us a tour. It cost $2.00 each and the woman asked us about 5 times if we had paid, and apologized every time stating her memory was bad. There was an old saddle I think it was in the library area off the dining room that the owner offered to sell us. It was a side saddle to the best of my recollection. We really didn't need it, but wished I had bought it now. The place was amazing ! I definitely felt like the family portraits had eyes that followed you everywhere. Will have to go back again!!

  5. Excellent write up!'s "mansion" not "manison" :)

  6. How do I contact the owner to be able to take just outside photos

  7. It's been years since we last visited this beautiful old home. The family is always so kind and inviting! Will have to come back and visit again soon.