Tag Archives: anderson house

The Anderson House and the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site

 

This mansion, known as the Oliver Anderson house, was built in 1853, and is such a familiar landmark to me. After all, I was born in a hospital just a few hundred feet away from the road behind it. The house and the battlefield are now one of many Missouri State Historic Sites.

 

 

The battle, sometimes known as “The Battle of the Hemp Bales”, lasted 3 September days in 1861. The Anderson family was thrown out of their home by Federal troops, though the house changed hands several times over the three days. For the most part it was used as a field hospital for the wounded.

 

 

There are several ghost stories and legends attached to this home, yet whether the mansion is haunted or not is something the state is tight-lipped about. Over the years lots of people have worked in and around the house though, and it isn’t hard to find someone ready to share their experiences. I have childhood friends who grew up in this neighborhood, and between the house and the battlefield, they say strange things happened all the time. Obviously I’ve requested access to conduct a paranormal investigation, but Missouri State Historic Sites doesn’t go for things like that.

When I was growing up, a local Kansas City news station would often come to Lexington around Halloween to reenact ghost stories for segments on the news. In 1989, one of them was filmed here at the Anderson House. I was able to find the 1989 KMBC 9 News segment, and it is embedded below.

 

 

 

For most of us that grew up in Lexington, the back of the house is actually the view that you see first, since the front of the house faces the river bluff. The back yard leading to the battlefield looks a lot different now then it did back then. They used to hold the battle reenactments right on site every couple of years. They’d even use the Anderson house as a backdrop and sometimes a character in the drama. Fortunately, though it bugs some, they’ve redesigned the yard surrounding the house to look the way it would have originally, including prairie and a wooded area surrounding it, so it can no longer be seen from the road. I think it’s a really cool decision that has taken time and effort to achieve. However, it disturbs me that in my lifetime a whole stretch of wooded area has had the opportunity to grow and block the view of the Anderson House. I guess that means I’m old. One thing that does disappoint me is the fact that they no longer do the battle reenactments on site. They have them nearby on the riverfront. It is simply not the same.

 

 

Imagine it being the 1800s and this being your front yard. In those days, the river down the hill would have had major steamboat traffic. I love this shot. At the time I took this picture, there was actually a couple napping just over the hill.

 

 

I found these wildflowers growing in between the battlefield and the house. Unfortunately, my photo of the battlefield didn’t turn out, but you’re likely to find photos on one of the links I’ve included below.

 

 

Below is the cover of the brand new book about the Battle of Lexington, written by Larry Wood. I haven’t seen it yet, but Larry asked my permission to include one of my older photos in the book, a photo from the Machpelah Cemetery in town.  Click on the cover below for more information on its Amazon page.

 

 

 

For more information, including many other fascinating photos, visit The Battle of Lexington Historic Site on the web.

 

You might also like these Big Séance posts related to Lexington:

Images of America: Lexington, Missouri 
Verna Marie Owen (1859-1986), a Lexington Missouri Teacher 
Do Spirits Reside at Papa Jack’s Pizza in Lexington, Missouri? 
Dr. Silkini’s Ghost Show: Do the Dead Return? Spooks Sit Beside You! 
Return to the Old Catholic Cemetery in Lexington, Missouri 
The Iron Fence and the Family Plot

 

 

 


Images of America: Lexington, Missouri

I realize that probably a very small amount of my readers are from my hometown of Lexington, Missouri, but I would still like to reflect on an amazing new book by the late Roger E. Slusher and the Lexington Historical Association. Images of America: Lexington kept me from going to bed at a decent hour two nights in a row… and it started the second I picked it up off my doorstep. I stared at the pictures. I compared the pictures. I pulled up current locations on Google Maps. And I did a lot of imagining.

Growing up in Lexington, as a child you quickly learn about the Civil War battle that took place there. For me, I was always specifically interested in the history of the buildings, what was where, what used to be, etc. I wonder what my now small and quiet hometown was like when it was the third largest city in the state, hustling and bustling with four colleges at one point, theaters and opera houses, an entire block full of saloons, headquarters for the Pony Express, factories, coal mines… the list goes on. I’ve seen a lot of the local photo collections that people have put together over the years, but I hadn’t seen so many of the photos in this book. Many of the photos are aerial or taken from the City Hall dome, and they are breathtaking. (I only wish they would have chosen one of the beautiful street photos for the cover.) When you think of the historic Main Street and Franklin, you think about the old buildings that still exist being the original structures. Then I find out that many of these beautiful and historical buildings were not the first to be on those lots. And there were blocks and blocks of buildings, neighborhoods, farms, and homes that just aren’t there anymore. If I went back in a time machine to the mid to late 1800s, I’m quite sure I would not be able to find my way around.

Lexingtonians know that there is something special about their town, but this book helps you to realize just how important those remaining gems of buildings and locations are. Lexington has unfortunately lost a few of these gems this year. I suppose these things are just bound to happen with the passing of time, but I wonder if residents felt the same loss when they lost buildings a hundred or more years ago? It also kind of makes you wonder if 100 years from now people will be fighting to save the historic Pizza Hut, the last remaining Sonic Drive-In in the nation, or the beautiful and historic Woodland Creek district. Or like many cities in the early 1900s, will we not recognize the future value of our neighborhoods and just bulldoze them down to build new?  

Fascinating book! If you’re in town, you can pick one up at The River Reader today!

Want to visit or learn more about Lexington?

 

The Battle of Lexington & The Anderson House

 

 

The Cannonball and the Courthouse

 

 

 

 

Wentworth Military Academy

 

 

 

 

Linwood Lawn

 

 

 

Antiques & Shopping

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Final Paranormal Investigation Report of Papa Jack’s Pizza

Machpelah Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri 

Forest Grove Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri

Old Catholic Cemetery, Lexington, Missouri

 


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