2 In Archaeology + History/ Hiking + The Outdoors/ Missouri/ Travel

Exploring the Ozarks – Bothwell Lodge & Knob Noster State Park

Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site ⋙

Bothwell Lodge was built by John Bothwell – a lawyer, world-traveler, philanthropist & nature-love. He moved to the booming town of Sedalia in 1871 and built this house from 1890 – 1929. This massive house started as a small cabin (the far right section seen in the bottom of this photo) and over 4 stages of construction it became this beautiful cliffside lodge.

Bothwell Lodge

This Photo is from Missouri State Parks Website 

Our tour guide of the Bothwell Lodge told us a lot of things about John Bothwell, and from what I’ve heard, he seems like an insanely amazing guy. He built such a large house because he wanted his friends and family to be able to stay as long as they would like. He was a widower, and only married the one time. He seemed to be quite the romantic because he had an automatic player made to fit over his beloved wife’s piano so he could still hear music coming from her instrument. If that doesn’t make you tear up and reach for the love of your life, I don’t know what will? Bothwell also built a public school for the children of Sedalia, built a home for the teacher so she would stay longer and bought them new books every time that he bought one for himself. This man was unbelievable charitable and he was insanely creative as well. We’ll get to that in a bit…


This is a view from the breezeway porch where we met for the beginning of the tour. It looks out over the bluff-side and also into the courtyard.

IMG_2340 IMG_2341

It was so awesome to be reunited with one of my favorite people! I hadn’t seen her since my amazing bachelorette party she threw me in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.


Check out this view! I can only imagine how much more beautiful it was during Bothwell’s time before the highway was there.


The Bothwell Lodge is decently rare in the fact that over 90% of the furnishings are original to the house. Bothwell loved the Arts & Crafts Style and tried to make the rooms cozy and comfortable for his favorite guests with everything from a music room to a library to a game room.

IMG_2351 IMG_2364

Bothwell’s office was at the top of the tower (the top left in the top photo). His office was my second-favorite room in the house. It was unbelievably well-lit from amazing natural lighting, this desk is stunning and who wouldn’t want to type on that old typewriter? Also, there were some secret compartments which is something no one would say no to, even if you just used it to stash chocolates & your emergency travel fund. Haha.


The library is one of my favorite rooms I’ve ever stepped foot in. I’ve seen loads of lavish libraries in my time, but there are a few things that I especially love about this library. First of all, it’s simplistic. It’s beauty comes from its contents & simple furniture. Secondly, the decorations are from his many worldly adventures. These trinkets include a Buddha figure from somewhere in Asia, an etching from Notre Dame, and many, many other things. The third thing I love about this library more than many others I’ve been in is, once again, the amazing natural lighting. Many of these books are first editions from the late 1800’s – early 1900’s and the library also had a few secret hiding places. I seriously just love this house


A few other cool, quirky things about this house that were so creative are:

» There are three caves under this house and Bothwell decided to build an opening into the house over one of the caves and make a compartment that ran through the far left section of the house with windows and a roof on top as a bit of a natural air conditioner. If the top had had a fan, it probably would have worked.

» Bothwell loved the bees in the area, so he build hives into the wall so they had a safe place to live and would stay in the area.

» The fish pictured below was caught in Cuba – How Hemingway-esque?!


The Arts & Crafts Style dining room.


In the courtyard with two of my favorites!

Bothwell left his home to the remaining members of his family and the good friends that stayed here frequently, especially for his nieces who were the closest things to children he ever had. This group of people became known as the Bothwell Lodge Club. Bothwell also had it in his will that when the last member of the Lodge Club died this house was to be left to the state to use in some sort of educational purpose. Seriously, what an amazing man!


Looking down into the forest & one of the many smaller buildings Bothwell put up.

» Stonyridge Trail – .5 miles: This hike is described as rugged on their website, but we found it to be quite easy. It took us less than 30 minutes and there are some old stone pavilions & shelters along this trail that Bothwell had built for him & his guests to enjoy the scenery along the way.


» Radiant Trail – 3.2 miles: This Trail was my favorite of the two in this state park. This trail was just completed a decade ago and is named after one of Bothwell’s favorite poems. I think this trail seems to be a great testament to the nature-lover and cherisher of life that Bothwell was. We definitely enjoyed the variety of fields, forest, pond & more that we saw and we cherished our time together!





This section looked like a magical wood



Bothwell State Historic Site is definitely worth a visit. If you’re looking for a place to hike, I would definitely be sure to visit one of the other parks in the area – there are a few to chose from – but the

Knob Noster State Park ⋙

» Hawk Nest Trail – 1.75 miles: This trail shares part of its trail with two other hikes and goes down part of Buteo Lake (which I learned after-the-fact that it has freshwater jellyfish in it – I HAVE to go back and see them now!) and then comes back into the woods. This trail was especially beautiful  at this time because of the freshness of all the spring buds and leaves. We were all so unbelievably happy to see that spring had sprung.



There were some river crossings. Some over rocks and some on wooden bridges.


My very favorites – My MOH & My Future-Hubs on each side.


Buteo Lake

This spring adventure was just what we needed. Stacey and I have taken several Missouri adventures where we meet up in the middle but this was the first time that Matt joined us and it made for a whole new type of adventure. Poor Matt had to listen to Stacey & me catch up, girl talk about the wedding & reminisce about Asia – of course. I’m so excited to see what new adventures the Ozarks brings us and hopefully Stacey will continue to be part of some of them too! Don’t forget to make Sedalia a stop on your journey to the Ozarks.

Did You Enjoy This Post? Pin It So Others Can Too!


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Hang Around The World
    May 25, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Interesting article! I love exploring place like this one 🙂 It seems to return in the past….

  • Reply
    Paige Wunder
    July 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    It was like going back in time! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  • Join the Conversation!

    %d bloggers like this: