Friday, October 24, 2014

Historic Bothwell Lodge: Part Castle, Part Craftsman bungalow, and Surprisingly Green

This past weekend I took a detour from my four-hour drive along I-70 from Kansas City to St. Louis in order to visit the Bothwell Lodge StateHistorical Site, which is located just 15 minutes south of Interstate 70 along Highway 65 towards Sedalia, Missouri.   Center to The Bothwell Lodge State Historical Site is an impressive castle-like structure known as the Bothwell Lodge that sits atop a 120 foot bluff.    I had seen this massive stone structure from a distance over a decade ago and wondered what its story was.   By setting aside an hour to visit the site this past weekend, I discovered that the castle on the bluff held many surprises and stories to tell.

Castle Like Bothwell Lodge (above) One of Bothwell's Craftsman Style Outbuilding  
The Bothwell Lodge was constructed over a thirty year period beginning in 1897 by a prominent lawyer named John Homer Bothwell as his private residence.  The bluff facing the lodge’s fa├žade was designed to resemble Scotland’s medieval Bothwell Castle but I was pleasantly surprised that much of the lodge’s interior and all the outbuildings were rich with the hallmark features of the period’s Arts and Crafts movement.   Generous millwork throughout the lodge’s interior as well as interior doors were of richly stained grainy quarter-sawn oak.   Simple Craftsman style door and cabinet hardware was used rather than Gothic Revival style hardware that would have been keeping with its exterior.  Classic Craftsman architectural elements including low pitched roofs, decorative braces, dormer style windows, and distinctive windows are common to the garage, sheds, and a cliff-side bungalow built on the grounds.  
Dining Room's Closed and Open Door to Air Conditioning Shaft 

A tour of the Bothwell lodge revealed green features that Mr. Bothwell incorporated in its construction.   The clawfoot tubs and kitchen sink.   These taps brought rain water from the lodge’s roof into a separate plumbing system.   The sleeping porch off Mr. Bothwell’s bedroom included a feature that shows just how much he appreciated his home’s natural setting.   He had portions of the wooden porch’s walls hollowed out so that honey bees would build hives within the porch The current caretakers of the lodge had affixed a glass pane to allowing guests to view the porch’s very active beehive. 
most unique of these is a shaft that tapped into the caves within the bluff to draw cool air into the dining room and his bedroom.   This natural, ground-source air conditioning was hidden behind doors that opened to a stone wall with grated opening .   Another surprising feature was the extra water faucet taps on the two
Extra Rainwater Faucet on Clawfoot Tub and on Kitchen Sink


I left the Bothwell Lodge amazed that Mr. Bothwell built his home over a hundred years ago using the bluff’s natural stones and continued to use and embrace its natural surroundings in such clever and ecologically friendly way.   If you are in the area, stop by the Bothwell Lodge State Historical Site.  If you’re in the market for Craftsman or even Gothic Revival style hardware visit Shop 4 Classics.