Rural Missouri - July 2012 - (Page 18)

Restored mansion is a step back in time and open for tours F by Kyle Spradley or Betty Soper, it’s hard to watch old things go The Ben Ferrel Museum is located at 220 Ferrel St. to waste. “God put all different kinds of peoin downtown Platte City and is open for tours from 1 to ple on this earth, but luckily he put some of us 4 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday between April 15 here to be preservationists,” says the 78-yearand Oct. 15. Appointments for other times can be made. old from Platte City. “It just breaks my heart when I For more information, visit www.rootsweb.ancestry. see an old building go to waste.” com/~mopchgs or call 816-431-5121. Thanks to Betty’s effort and the help of countless volunteers during the past four decades, one of western Missouri’s more unique homes has been saved. Built in 1882 by Frederick Krause, the home has been restored to its former glory and is now the Ben Ferrel Platte County Museum. Located at the corner of Ferrel and 3rd streets, the brick home served by Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative is a magnificent example of Renaissance Revival architecture. Besides docent tours available to the public, the museum has an extensive genealogy library. For nearly 40 years, the Krause family called the mini-mansion home. Then, in 1917, it was sold to the Platte Thomas Perry Sr. family. During World • War II, the Perry’s daughter, Jennie Perry Harris, rented the rooms upstairs to boarders. In 1973, Charles Beals bought the house and turned the basement into a woodworking shop and the upstairs into a ceramic shop for his wife. The home almost met its demise in 1976. Three men tried to buy it with the intention of tearing it down and using the woodwork in a Kansas City restaurant. But thanks to a donation from Ben Ferrel, a former Platte County resident and distinguished businessman, the landmark was saved. More than a decade later, Betty and her group of volunteers finished restoration on the house and officially opened it to the public. For nearly 40 years, Betty Soper has led a team of volThroughout the restoration process, the group unteers in the restoration of Frederick Krause’s home. worked to keep the home as authentic as posToday, she helps give tours of what is now the Ben sible. Platte County residents donated all of the Ferrel Platte County Museum, which is served by Plattepre-1900 furnishings, and only wallpaper patterns Clay Electric Cooperative. that would’ve been available at the time — either through stores in Kansas City or St. Joseph — were used. Chemical tests were run on original paint chips to ensure exact colors. All of the original windows remain as well as most of the wooden floors. “What truly makes this home so special and one of a kind is that it is a mini-replica of the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City,” says Betty. Frederick Krause’s friendship with thenGov. Silas Woodson is believed to be the reason why his home has a similar Mansard-style roof and block stone corners. “I would imagine these stones are the same ones that were cut at the old state penitentiary,” proclaims Betty. “They were probably shipped by boat up the Missouri River to here.” The Krauses were a prominent family in the area. Frederick owned a brick kiln, and he likely made the home’s bricks. He also owned a hog farm just outside of town. He and his wife, Nanny, had eight children — one boy and the rest girls. Unfortunately, one of their daughters died as an infant and the boy, Johnny, died because of a burst appendix at age 22. The home’s interior is a showcase of German-style architecture featuring a woodon-wood motif that carries throughout the home with several intricate carvings and tongue-and-groove ceilings. Built in 1882 by Frederick Krause, the Ben Ferrel Platte County Museum is a showcase of Renaissance Revival architecture. Due Upon entering the house, you are greetto his friendship with former Gov. Silas Woodson, Frederick modeled his home after the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City. ed by an impressive wooden spiral staircase. The main floor also features a parlor room filled with a variety of antique musical instruments. “Mrs. Krause was known for her piano-playing skills,” says Betty. “She even played at the church across the street with her daughters who all had beautiful singing voices.” Across the hall is the sitting room with some original furniture pieces owned by the Krauses. A highlight of the room is the home’s only fireplace, which is a replica of the one in the Governor’s Mansion. Also on the main floor is the formal dining room and “bringing up” kitchen. The Krauses actually cooked their food and ate downstairs in the basement because it was cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The bringing up kitchen was used for parties and entertaining guests. Today, the basement is home to the Platte County Historical Society’s archives and genealogy library. “In addition to revolving displays depicting Platte County’s past, we have a wealth of information for anyone wanting to research their family even have City history,” says Betty. “Wehere during records of families that moved the early 19th century from Kentucky and Virginia after the Platte Purchase.” Upstairs, visitors will find three bedrooms where the family slept. An exhibit not to miss is the collection of antique clothing from the 1800s that was donated to the museum. “I am just astonished at the restoration job they did,” says Nancy Bennett, great-granddaughter of Frederick Krause. “It means a lot to our family. Although I live in Phoenix now, I try to stop by every time I am passing through the area.” The highlight of the year for the home is during the holiday season. Each year, volunteers from around Platte County decorate the house with festive tidings and a Christmas tree in every room. “It is so great to see the whole community come out and tour the house during Christmas,” says Susan Anderson, assistant director of the Platte City Chamber of Commerce. “I am so thankful they have preserved it and hope that others take the time to come out and visit. The Ben Ferrel Museum really is our city’s jewel.” 18 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - July 2012

Rural Missouri - July 2012
A peach of a place
Quilting for a cause
Corralling the faithful
Out of the Way Eats
Platte City’s jewel
Reeling in the competition
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Rita & Little Ollie
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - July 2012