Historic Houses

1855 Harris-Kearney House

The Col John Harris family migrated from Kentucky in 1832 and settled in the West Port area. Their first home consisted of a four room log house on a farmstead located on the site of present day 39th Street and Gillham Road. In 1922, the house was moved in two sections to its current location which was, in later years, part of the Gottfried Homung’s vineyard. The Westport Historical Society acquired the home in 1976 and restored the original 1855 portion of the house as a house museum. The house now houses the Westport Society headquarters and a visitor’s center.

Ben Ferrel Museum

The museum occupies a Federal Empire Victorian brick mini-mansion. Every piece of furnishing in the home, dating from 1840 to c. 1900, has a Platte County history. The first level includes a parlor; sitting room with bronze marble fireplace; dining room with large double sliding wood-on-wood hand-grained doors; kitchen with a German tongue and grove wood ceiling; and latticed back porches. A curved staircase made of walnut and mahogany leads you to the second floor where there are four bedrooms. Another staircase connects the second floor and the kitchen. The basement, which once contained a cooking area, dining area, wine cellar, cistern room, wash area, and workroom, houses the Platte County Historical Society's genealogical library, archives and display rooms.

Bingham-Waggoner Estate

The Bingham-Waggoner Estate is recognized today as one of the most significant historical sites in western Missouri because of its role in the history of the area and the people that lived there. Plotted in 1827 on that super highway west called the Santa Fe Trail, the Estate played an important part in our region's history. Of the many colorful owners, characters and residents of this now legendary home, the most famous is the artist and politician George Caleb Bingham. Bingham had some very strong feelings about the Civil War -- particularly the war as it played along the western border. He soon became an active opponent of the military government and the infamous Order No. 11. The execution of this merciless act by government troops caused chaos and death. While residing at the Estate he painted one of his most famous works, "Order No. 11". In 1879, the Waggoner family -- well-known millers of flour -- purchased the Estate. They became nationally known for their "Queen of the Pantry Flour," considered the very best in baking and cake flours. George Gates, grandfather of Bess Truman, became a partner in the mill and the name became the Waggoner-Gates Milling Company.

Mahaffie House

As the only working stagecoach stop left on the Santa Fe Trail, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm offers unique experiences and opportunities that engage visitors of all ages in discovering 1860s farming, life on the Kansas frontier, and stagecoach travel. In addition to visiting the farm filled with living history reenactors, visitors can tour the house, attend events throughout the year, and even dine in the basement kitchen where Lucinda Mahaffie used to serve meals to stagecoach passengers.

The Alexander Majors House

The interior of the Alexander Majors House Museum is decorated in the style of the period and has an extensive collection of objects dating from 1830-1880. Rooms of interest include a reproduction period kitchen and Alexander Majors’ office, decorated with artifacts related to his shipping business. The Museum site also has a barn, built on the original footprint of a pre-existing barn, that contains a working blacksmith shop, gift shop, event rental space, and an authentic Conestoga Wagon.

The John Wornall House

The Wornall House, built in 1858, survived a tumultuous period of history in the region. In the years leading to the Civil War, the Kansas-Missouri border was the site of violent conflict over the issue of slavery in Kansas Territory. John Wornall, a slaveholder with family ties to the south, tried to maintain neutral, but more than once was a subject of violence. This violence continued during the Civil War and Missouri became increasingly divided. The interior of the John Wornall House Museum is decorated in the style of the period and has an extensive collection of objects and archives dating from 1830-1880. The museum has on display several pieces original to the Wornall family, including a fully restored 1867 boxed grand piano, Wornall family Bible and large furniture including chairs and wardrobes.

Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio

Thomas Hart Benton's life is present in both his home and his paintings, and both are preserved at Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site. A trip to the home and studio of the renowned painter, sculptor, lecturer and writer offers a glimpse into how the talented Benton lived and worked. Benton converted half of the carriage house into his art studio, which remains as he left it. Visitors can still see coffee cans full of paintbrushes, numerous paints, and a stretched canvas waiting to be transformed into another of his masterpieces.

Vaile Mansion

Built in 1881, the 31 room mansion includes 9 marble fireplaces, spectacular painted ceilings, flushing toilets, a built-in 6,000 gallon water tank, and a 48,000 gallon wine cellar. This mansion is one of the best examples of Second Empire style architecture in the United States.