This beautiful house holds personal and historical significance for Jefferson City.
The Colonel Bolton Home sits high on a bluff overlooking the Osage River Valley, made with stone quarried from the Osage River bluff. Known as one of the finest antebellum homes of its style in the entire state of Missouri, the home, built in 1833 by Lewis Bolton, the first warden of the Missouri State Penitentiary, is just three miles past Wardsville on Route W.
Surrounded by the serenity and beauty on the bluff, it’s easy to be transported to a different time, a time when Union troops moved through the area during the Civil War. In fact, the Bolton Home sits near a historic site, where General Price crossed Bolton Shoals and continued towards Jefferson City with the intention of invading and capturing it. The general later changed his mind, sparing the city.
The Bolton Home, a key piece of Civil War and Missouri history, also holds historic and sentimental value for a local family. According to Mary Markway and her husband, Jude, his great-grandparents, Herman and Johanna Winkelmann, became the second owners of the home when they purchased it in the late 1800s. Mary says her husband’s father, Marcellus Markway, has memories of spending time at the home for family gatherings, visits, and other events as a boy.
The Winkelmann family later sold the home, but, though history marched forward, memories of the Bolton Home remained with the family. The Markways, who currently live in Jude’s boyhood home in Wardsville, say the home was so meaningful to the family that Jude’s mom painted a mural of it on the dining room wall, which is still visible today.
Mary says the home sat vacant from 1964 until 1998, at which time the Markways moved to reclaim a part of Missouri and family history by purchasing the home.
“We re-did the whole thing,” says Mary. “When we bought it, it was abandoned. Through the years, there were animals in and out of the house, it was used as storage for grain, it had trees growing out of it, and it was very much in disarray. The roof was starting to cave in.”
The Markways quickly got to work, utilizing Jude’s skills as a contractor. Every evening and weekend, with the help of family and friends, they worked to restore the home to its original beauty. Markway says her husband has a special knack for restoration, a rare ability to see the overall picture, making renovations look like they were there from the start.
“We had to get a new roof on and new windows, and everything had to be approved by the Department of Natural Resources because the home is on the historic register,” Mary says. “We had to use cedar shake shingles on the roof and specially made single pane windows. The trim work and floors had six to eight inches of manure and dirt on them, so they were preserved. There was a lot of clean up and prep work before we put a coat of paint on the trim and refinished the hardwood floors, which are made out of pine that is very rare to get in North America right now.”
When renovations were complete, the Markways moved from Jude’s boyhood home, in Wardsville, to the Bolton Home, where they spent a couple years renting the home for parties, business meetings, and other events. In 2002, they sold the Bolton Home, deciding to relocate back to Wardsville to be closer to Jude’s business.
But the pull of the gorgeous Bolton home was too strong, and in 2012, the Markways, together with a group of investors, repurchased the property. They spent time updating the home once again and have since made it their mission to share the home’s beauty and history with the public.
“It’s a treasure in itself because of the historic value,” Markway says. “Our goal is to keep it open for the public to enjoy and learn its history.”
Today, the Bolton Home’s three bedrooms serve as a bed-and-breakfast, and an events center in the back of the home can hold up to 200 people for special gatherings like weddings, class reunions, dinner parties, business meetings, and more. Mary says they also hope to attract school field trips — she sees the home as the perfect teaching tool for the Civil War.
“It is so peaceful up there,” Markway says. “The stars are beautiful at night, the sunsets and sunrises are gorgeous — it is a piece of heaven up there. It’s a part of history and that is our main purpose with this. It needs to be shared with the public.”