Tea Is Always a Good Idea
One of my fond memories of eating in London was having tea and fancy, little sandwiches at the Brown Hotel and Harrods. Saturday I relived those memories at a tea in behalf of the Friends of the Missouri Mansion.
First Lady Teresa Parson and I co-hosted the bipartisan event made up of those who love the old home located on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River in Jefferson City.
It Was Tea-riffic!
Alice in Wonderland writer Lewis Carrol would have been pleased to see such a flamboyant salute to spring.
History on a Hill
The benefactor of the event is the 150-year-old-house. The home not only serves as the residence of Missouri’s First Family, it’s also a tourist site visited by more than 60,000 each year. That’s a lot of wear and tear.
Years ago, First Families often arrived with their own furniture and some left it behind. The place soon became a hodgepodge of abandoned, and ill-suited pieces.
It’s been more than 50 years since preservationists began taking into account the scale of the home with 19-foot ceilings and the décor appropriate to the Renaissance Revival architecture.
The St. Louis Connection
The designer of the 1872-home was from St. Louis: George Ingram Barnett, a highly-recognized architect. Typical of the time, he built the home without bathrooms or closets. The kitchen was on a dirt floor in the basement.
You can see more of his handiwork today in the Grand Avenue Water Tower, the Tower Grove House at the Botanical Gardens, and a number of homes in the area, as well as Rockcliffe Mansion in Hannibal.
Preservation Never Stops
In later years, improvements were often ignored, largely because the legislature felt the old home was a money pit. At one point, there was a move to tear it down and build a much-needed parking lot on the site. But wiser heads prevailed.
A New Star in the Culinary Galaxy
In addition to raising funds for general enhancements to the decor, the tea sippers celebrated the roll out of First Lady Teresa Parson stunning new cookbook: A Spoonful of History, that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Mansion.
Much appreciation is due all those who have contributed to the care and keeping of one of our state’s most meaningful treasures.