Friday, March 20, 2015

John Wornall Home Tour - 3/18/2015

Our KCPL Power Partners retirement club toured the John Wornall home on March 18, 2015.  We had about 26 people in our group.  We split up into two groups with each group having a tour guide.  Even though the house was large for the day it was built, having 14 people in one room was pushing the limits of elbow room.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the home.

"Constructed in the year 1858 by John B. Wornall, the house stands as a reminder of Kansas City's past. Built in the Greek Revival style architecture with bricks hand-fired on the Wornall's property, this house is one of the four remaining Civil War period homes in the Kansas City area.

The story of the Wornalls begins in 1843 in Shelbyville, Kentucky. John Wornall's forty-four-year-old father, Richard Wornall had experienced extreme financial embarrassment due to his struggling business, which consisted of mule and horse trade. With his debts totaling almost $25,000, Richard sold 640 acres (2.6 km2) of Shelby County land, thirteen slaves, most of his livestock, farm equipment, household utensils and crops to his debtors. With the remnants of his money, Richard Wornall, his wife Judith, and their two sons George Thomas and John Bristow started the 600-mile (970 km) trek to Westport, Missouri. Upon arrival in Westport in October 1843, Richard Wornall purchased a 500-acre (2.0 km2) farm from the town father, John Calvin McCoy. The land, for which Wornall paid $5 per acre, stretched between present-day 59th and 67th streets, State Line and Main Street in what is now Kansas City.

Richard and Judith's second son, John B. Wornall, eventually inherited the property and built the house for his second wife, Eliza S. Johnson Wornall, which still stands today.

During the American Civil War, the Wornall's home was used as a field hospital for both the Union and Confederate forces after the Battle of Westport.
The historic house museum is furnished to represent the daily life of a prosperous, pre-Civil War family."

The living room features a Coffin style Grand Piano.  When a family member passed away, the coffin would be put on top of the piano and would remain there for several days with a constant vigil being kept be a friend or family member.  This room was used primarily for entertaining guests and for other formal events.

This corner of the living room was used for courting.  The visiting courter could stay as long as the candle burned.  If "dad" didn't like the courter, he made sure the candle would burn out quickly by adjusting the candle holder.

This is the parlor room where the family spent most of its time together.

They played early board games for entertainment.

Our tour guide at the home was a wealth of information.

Leg irons used for prisoners and perhaps slaves.

A civil war era sword.

The dining room.  If you look closely inside the wall cabinet, you can see a pass through to the kitchen.

1850's vintage kitchen implements.

The kitchen hearth.

The children's bedroom.

The Master Bedroom.

John Wornall's rocking chair.  John had a bad back.

Note the pot under the bed.  My grandfather's house in Minnesota had these and I used them to avoid trekking out to the outdoor privy (100 ft from the house) in the middle of the night.

After the tour, the group reconvened at Michael Forbes Bar & Grill in the Brookside area of Kansas City for a nice lunch.

Another nice outing with the club.