Find a piece of history and learn about some famous Missourians in these day trip suggestions.
From the home and studio of artist Thomas Hart Benton to the homestead where Laura Ingalls Wilder penned her popular "Little House" books, there are many ways to connect with Missourians who shaped regional history and culture.
One of the best ways, naturally, is to see the homes they lived (and often worked) in during their years in Missouri.
So when you're ready to learn more about Missouri's famous residents, make sure these home tours are included on your itinerary:
• Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum - There are two homes to tour on Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield; one was built by Laura and her husband in 1894, the second built by their daughter, Rose, in 1928. Inside the museum you find a variety of interesting items, including handwritten manuscripts of "Little House" books and family heirlooms. Note: The home and museum close for the winter on Nov. 15.
• Jesse James Birthplace - One of the wildest figures from the days of the Wild West was born on this farm, near Kearney, in 1847. Tours include the farm home and Jesse's original burial site, not to mention an extensive assortment of James family artifacts (including Jesse's boots) found throughout the farmhouse.
• Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site - This Victorian home in Kansas City was Benton's home from 1939 until his death in 1975 (he died at the home). Benton's belongings adorn the main house and studio, where a blank canvas and paint brushes remain, just as he left them.
• Thornhill, the 1820s Home of Missouri Gov. Frederick Bates - While Bates may not have the name recognition of many people on this list, his 1819 home in Chesterfield is as impressive as any. Bates served as Missouri's second governor and Thornhill is the oldest governor's home still standing in Missouri. The site in Faust Park includes the original barn, a smokehouse, a distillery and the family cemetery. Call 314-615-8328 to confirm hours of operation.
• The Historic Daniel Boone Home at Lindenwood Park - A tribute to noted frontiersman Daniel Boone, the entire area is representative of life in the 1800s. The Boone Home, with its limestone walls, is one of more than a dozen 19th century buildings that comprise the Heritage Center. You also find a general store, school house, grist mill and the Old Peace Chapel.
• Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site - John H. Bothwell's home near Sedalia is an example of wealthy living in the early 1900s. Bothwell was a regional attorney and politician who served eight years in the Missouri General Assembly. The Bothwell Lodge has 31 rooms and some 12,000 square feet of living space. Positioned high on a bluff, the Lodge offers excellent views of the surrounding area (and the site includes a hiking and mountain-biking trail).
These are just a few of the historic homes you can tour in Missouri. Among the other notable homes are those associated with Mark Twain, Harry Truman and Ulysses S. Grant. Add them to your must-see list today and use VisitMO.com to plan your next getaway.