Living in one of Jefferson City’s most beloved mansions.

Imagine you’re a bride dressed in white lace and satin cascading down an intricately carved walnut staircase. You greet your guest in front of a highly decorated fireplace in an arched entry hall. That’s just the kind of vision that sisters, Wendy Gladbach and Debbie Sacilowski, had when they purchased the home known as “Ivy Terrace” from the city. Wendy owns Ana Marie’s Bridal downtown and wanted a special place to have her shop as well as hold bridal related events. The Ivy Terrace building, located at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Jackson Street in downtown Jefferson City Missouri, was chosen for that purpose.

Maggie Stephens entertaining a masquerade party in her historic Jefferson City mansion, Ivy Terrace.
Maggie Stephens entertains a masquerade party at the ornately decorated Ivy Terrace.

A Queen Anne Architectural Masterpiece in the Historic Capitol Avenue District

Ivy Terrace is one of the most intact representatives of the Queen Anne architectural style used in the Capitol Avenue Historic District. This stately mansion bear-ing the romantic, almost aristocratic title, was designed in 1893 by local architect Charles Opel for the Lawrence (Lon) V. Stephens family. Lon, hailing from Boonville, had just been elected state treasurer in 1892. Four years later, he would be elected Missouri’s governor and served one term. However, in 1896 the Governor’s wife, Maggie, refused to move her family out of Ivy Terrace and into the decrepit mansion until its structure was repaired and completely refurbished. After the governor’s term ended, the family moved back to Ivy Terrace before moving to St. Louis, where Lon died in 1923.

In 1890, the home was sold to G. A. Fischer and his wife, Jennie Bruns, granddaughter of Westphalia founder Dr. Bernard Bruns. The Fischer heirs then sold the property to Mary E. Wood in 1948, one of the first professional hairdressers in the state. Wood operated the Mariwood Beauty Culture School in the mansion for 18 years, having studied with world-famous practitioners and graduating some 900 students. Reluctant to see her beloved home torn down, Wood sold it to Tom and Dee Whitecotton in 1966, assured they would restore the mansion. It took the Whitecotton’s dedication to its preservation that breathed new life into Ivy Terrace. The two-and-a-half story Queen Anne is mainly unaltered from when the Stephens lived there. The home still retains the original eight hand carved fi replaces featuring imported Italian tiles, five sets of sliding paneled doors on the first floor, art-glass windows, and the entry’s grand hand-carved oak staircase with spindled balustrades. The elaborate 19th-century mansion was also listed on the National Register of Historic Homes by 1990.

Jeff City’s Up-and-coming Historic Attraction

The most significant exterior characteristics are its fairy-tale, open-air turret providing a semi-circular sitting area in the first-floor parlor and second-floor master bedroom. The home also features an extensive wrap-around porch with stately entrances; a high, steeply pitched roofline; fish-scale shingles, and an asymmetrical façade.

In the late 1990s, the Buescher family bought the house. It has since been deteriorating from neglect and was part of the blight study and subsequent purchase by the Jefferson City Housing Authority (check out past renovations of historic homes in town). Gladbach and Sacilowski then purchased the property in 2019 and began its extensive rehabilitation. Although the project may take several years, residents and visitors of Jefferson City will one day be able to see Ivy Terrace in its former glory.

Ivy Terrace historic photograph from the early 1900's.
Ivy Terrace circa early 1900s.