Street Address
220 Ferrel Street
Platte City, MO 64079
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 103
Platte City, MO 64079
phone: 816-431-5121
web: www.pchs1882.org
Hours
Thursday - Friday1 PM - 4 PM
Admissions
Adults - $3
Children under 12 - free
Staff
Paula York, President, Platte Co. Historical Society
Lisa Wittmeyer, Curator
Cheri Lomas, Head Docent

Description

The museum has a rare, and one of the most complete, Civil War collections, of Col. Charles E. Sinnet, a Union soldier. It was donated by Frank and Delia Goodden and John and Lois Schott. It is housed in a beautiful showcase, handmade by Jerry Martin of Platte City. The grounds of the house once included a hay barn and an outhouse in the northwest corner of the yard. In 1978 a black wrought iron marker was installed in the southeast corner of the yard in memory of the local Dillingham family.

Of course, like any home the mini-mansion needs constant upkeep. The Museum Board established a Perpetual Care Fund after the restoration of the home was completed. All memorial money goes into this fund. Only the interest earned is used for upkeep and maintenance. At this date, the fund stands with a goal of $100,000, so future generations will have the funds to keep this beautiful piece of Platte County history in good condition.

History

The Ben Ferrel Platte County Museum celebrated its 120th year of existence in 2002. Originally built as the "city dwelling" of Frederick Krause and his family, today it is home to the Platte County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Platte Purchase Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In November of 1976, word was received that the late Ben Ferrel had left a trust to the two organizations. The amount was $37,000 for the purpose of buying or building a museum or meeting place to be located in Platte City, Missouri, in memory of his mother and sister. The location most desired was a beautiful Federal Empire Victorian brick mini-mansion located at 221 Oak Street in Platte City. The final papers to establish Platte County's first county Museum were signed on June 25, 1977, thus saving the home from being bought and torn down by three businessmen who wanted to salvage the elaborate woodwork and fixtures for a restaurant in Kansas City. The two organizations own the home together, but the Platte Purchase Chapter of the DAR opted to lease their half to the Platte County Historical Society for a dollar a year for 99 years. In 1978, by the petition of the Platte County Historical Society, the name of Oak Street was changed to Ferrel Street. Frederick Krause started building the mansion on June 14, 1882, and it was completed on May 8, 1883. He was a friend of Missouri Governor Silas Woodson of St. Joseph, Missouri, who sent Krause to Prussia, his homeland, as the Missouri representative to the World's Fair in 1879. During this time, while visiting the governor in Jefferson City, Missouri, he became so impressed with the class and architectural style of the governor's mansion that he decided to built his own "city dwelling" as a mini-replica. Mr. and Mrs. Krause raised a son and six daughters in the home. The youngest child was born there in December 1882, when the home was only half competed. Mr. Krause died in 1894 and Mrs. Krause lived there until she sold the home in 1917 and moved to St. Joseph, Missouri, to live with a daughter. While living there, Mrs. Krause entertained her friends during the long winter afternoons with quilting bees in the dining room. Mr. Thomas Perry, Sr., was just going out of office as sheriff when he bought the home for $4,000. The Perry family owned the home for 56 years. A daughter, Miss Jenny Perry, lived in the home all of her adult life. She was the local dressmaker and the sitting room served as her fitting room. She also converted several rooms into apartments and many young married couples in Platte City started housekeeping in the home. Mr. Thomas Perry, Jr., sold the home in 1973 to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Beals, who kept the house for three years. Mr. Beals had a woodworking shop in the basement. Mrs. Beals had a ceramics shop on the first floor and had her kiln, for firing the ceramics, on the second floor. Betty Soper was named restoration chairman and architect Gary Gaw volunteered to work with her in planning the course of action for restoration. Neither was to know it would take them 17 years to raise $135,000.00 and totally complete the project. Mr. Gaw never turned in a bill during the entire 17 years. The home was in such a state of deterioration that the architect said the only thing he could say about it was that it was "structurally sound". Mr. Gaw would draw up the plans for the most urgent project and estimate a price to accomplish it. The Platte County Historical Society and Platte Purchase Chapter DAR members would raise the funds to do it. Then Mr. Gaw would set the course on the next step of the process of restoration. Mr. Harrel Ferrel, the brother of the benefactor, Mr. Ben Ferrel, gave the first donation in the amount of $500.00, thus establishing the restoration fund. Fund raisers were held constantly and consisted of reviving the old "Tobacco Festivals", street parties, dinners, dances, auctions, etc. Memorial gifts were established and the names placed in the museum, which is still done today. Many people worked very hard at raising the funds and doing hard labor during the early years of the restoration project. Mrs. America B. Lowmiller called one day and said, "I know you are not ready to open the museum, but I am ready to donate 101 items of furnishings to the home". Thus, the museum was officially opened to the public on June 15, 1985, though it was not completely restored. Every piece of furnishing in the home today, each dating from 1840 to 1900, was donated and has a Platte County history.

The structure of the gingerbread-trimmed mansion is brick, which was fired at Mr. Frederick Krause's brick plant, located on Main Street in Platte City. The west side of the home has no windows, as it was next door to the First Baptist church, and the bricks were never painted. The other three sides of the exterior were and are painted brick red. The cornerstones are white. The mansard roof is slate with wrought iron trim. At the time the home was built it was very modern. There was one coke-burning fireplace, otherwise they used coke-burning stoves. There was no electricity so kerosene lamps were used. There were clothes closets in the bedrooms, which was unusual. Detailing in the house is very elaborate and influenced by Mr. Krause's German heritage. The first level includes a parlor, sitting room with bronze marble fireplace, dining room with large double sliding wood-on-wood German motif design and hand-grained doors, the "bring up" kitchen with a typical German tongue and grove wood ceiling, and latticed-in back porches. A beautiful curved staircase made of walnut and mahogany leads you to the second floor where there are four bedrooms. There is also another staircase that leads from the second floor down to the kitchen. The basement contained a cooking area, dining area, wine cellar, cistern room, wash area, and workroom. Concrete floors have been poured and the basement now houses the Platte County Historical Society's genealogical library and archives and display rooms. Only one structural change has been made in the history of the house. The front entrance was altered for a different style of doors. In 1979 the terne roof was replaced and mansard slate roof restored along with the second floor exterior. In 1980 the ground level exterior and porches were restored. In 1981 the electrical wiring, burglar and fire alarm wiring were installed. In 1982 the plumbing and bathrooms were added, three air conditioners and furnaces installed for zone heating and cooling. In 1983 the first and second floors were insulated and the walls and ceilings plastered. In 1984 the first floor hardwood floors were refinished. In 1985 the woodwork was restored and first floor wallpapered. Various projects continued until full restoration was completed in 1995.

Many people gave of their time, money, and talent to restore this beautiful mansion. The first project was to remove toilet stools and sinks from each of the former apartments. It cost $7,000 just to replaster the home. Insulation had to be added and the home had to be rewired. Mrs. Blanche Brown headed the fund raising committee. Glenn Goodlet of Weston, Missouri, did all of the interior restoration. Some $30,000 was raised through four tobacco festivals, a $10,000 matching grant came for the Department of Natural Resources and $95,000 was obtained through donations and fundraisers. The Platte County Eleemosynary Society's first charity was held as a fundraiser for the Museum and to date has given a total of $15,000 to the Museum. Dr. Carl Myers has been a constant financial supporter. Some of the original furnishings from the Krause and Perry families are still in the home.

Artifacts Collections

We have a large collection of TWA (Transworld Airline) memorbilia

Research Collections

The Platte County Historical Society Library is located in the basement of the Museum and contains numerous books and donated items (family histories, maps, atlas,CD's. etc.)

Governance

The museum is owned by the Platte County Historical Society and Platte Purchase Chapter of the DAR. The DAR has leased their half of the museum to the Historical Society for $1 for a 99 year lease.

Library

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: No

Publications

The 28 page Platte County Historical Society Bulletin is published every four months and is mailed to members and organizations, libraries, societies, etc.

  • The Bulletin