Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kaes House

Kaes house and estate (early 1900s)
 I am happy to announce that Phase 1 (Archival) of my Castlewood project is complete! Two months ago, I began digging through boxes stored in the attic of the Castlewood Ranger station, with the goal of creating a very basic internal archive. However, after some self-education on archival basics, I discovered the hot, spider infested attic was the last place on earth any important documents should be. Thursday, Tessa (CW employee) and I made the trip to Jefferson City to donate my two large boxes of findings to the DNR archive.
While in Jefferson City, we took a look around the DNR archive, which contained interesting artifacts relating to every state park in Missouri. Boastfully, CW had three existing drawers!  Some of the information we found pertained to mundane park activities (toilet paper orders, new trails, and plant species), however, there was a rather large section about the Kaes House.
For those of you who do not know about it: The Kaes house is an old home located within the boundaries of Castlewood State Park. The location of the home is remote and unfortunately surrounded by private property. Currently, the house is stable but in need of aesthetic repair.  It was owned by a few families but most famously by the Kaes (Spelled several ways depending on where you look). It is rumored, and let me emphasize rumored, that Kaes aided the Union Army by holding Confederate prisoners on the property. It is also rumored that General Sherman spent some time in and around the area.
Personally, I am not very interested in the Kaes House. The historical significance is questionable (whether or not Confederate soldiers were held there is unproven) and outside of being old, I do not see much value in it. However, I know that there are several older homes locally famous because they are old – Hawkin House (Webster), Sappington House (Sappington), Oakland House (Affton), and so on. If the house belonged to Ballwin or Ellisville, instead of DNR, it might be worth refurbishing and exposing to the public.
That being said, I know there are several people who find the Kaes house fascinating…the photographs below are for you.
Kaes House & Family (1860 - 1870)

This painting of the Kaes house still adorns the livingroom wall.

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