Preservation Personals: A Renaissance Revival Mansion in Missouri
If you’re tired of typical late 19th-century Queen Anne Victorians and their dainty porches, I’m a house that stands out from the pack. I was also influenced by European embellishments, but from a different era: I’m a French Renaissance Revival home, and my cylindrical bell tower has kept watch over my 600-person southern Missouri town since 1890.
I was built by a former Union soldier and abolitionist, E.C. Steele, who herded cattle through this town, Hartville, and promised himself he’d return to its beautiful water and soil. In his time here, he built mills, raised cattle, founded a bank, and was county clerk—and served in Missouri’s House of Representatives. He became prominent enough that President Benjamin Harrison offered him a position in Washington, D.C., as Commissioner of Pensions, but he turned it down to stay in Hartville—and to build me.
I was wildly luxurious, with an in-home elevator, an early hot air furnace and telephone, 15 rooms, and a tower; that’s why locals call me the “Steele Mansion.” I remained stately enough that former California Senator John Stull retired here with his wife in 1978—they liked to call me Senator’s Rest. Today, after some loving restoration, I have five beds, three bathrooms, new windows, refinished wood floors, and a manicured lawn. All I need is a new owner to take their rest in the mansion.