Patricia McKelvey has a heart for restoring history and always wanted to renovate something that had once been grand but had become neglected over time. She found that opportunity in New Haven, MO, when she discovered a 62-acre farm and homestead in November 2015 and soon started restoring the home that she named Steeple View Manor, for its view of the neighboring church steeple…and transforming it into a charming four-bedroom rental retreat and event venue.
That was the dream behind McKelvey Vineyards, at 8901 State Hwy YY in Missouri Wine Country.
“That’s actually what attracted me to this land…the beautiful 19th Century stone farmhouse. I really wanted something historical, that was in sad shape, that I could restore back to its original condition,” explains Patricia.
According to historical records, the property was homesteaded in 1853 via a land grant from then-president Franklin Pearce to an immigrant family named Twelker, who built the home in 1871. Around 1920 it was sold to another family and then again in 1953, so she is the fourth owner.
“There had been a couple of additions to it, lots of paneling added, and it had become dilapidated over the last several years. But it’s the historical aspect of it that attracted me.”
She says they started construction in May 2017 and finished in December, but it took many months prior to that to hire an historical architect to research the history. Then they had to get on the State and National Historical Register.
“We drew up and submitted our plans to the National Parks Service and after the back-and-forth revision/approval process, finally the plans were approved and we could start the construction,” she says. “But there’s always hidden things that come up along the way, that we had to go back and get approval on from the National Parks Service.”
She describes the décor as “elegant and fragile because it’s historic, but everything in there is original and authentic to the original German-style home.
“The floors are original…there’s no insulation, it’s all limestone with plaster. So, there was a lot of plaster repair we had to do. The kitchen cabinets are all reclaimed barn wood, the countertops are soapstone (a natural substance), the bathroom vanities are poured concrete and reclaimed wood, and the trim around the doors and windows are all replicas from the original trim that we found under layers and layers.”
They also found a couple of artifacts including a letter written in German, dated 1871. “It was so brittle, but I’m going to take it to someone that can help me preserve it.”
She says her biggest challenge was finding the right people to do the kind of work needed to restore as much of the original home as possible…the old-style artisans who like to do that.
And, trying to find historic things like the claw-foot tub that came from an old mansion in the Central West End that was being restored.
There had been an addition put onto the house, but she had seen photos of the original front, so she wanted to be sure to reproduce it just that way…even down to the exact trim.
“I eventually had the idea of putting in a vineyard on the property, and as I was planning this, the historian found out that the Twelkers had an extensive vineyard and winery on the property. I couldn’t believe it! They harvested the grapes and made the wine on the property, put it in big wooden vats on a wagon and took it to St. Louis to sell it.”
So, the farmhouse and vineyards has now been restored to their former grandeur, even receiving a Missouri Preservation Award.
The meticulous restoration made room for modern updates including large screen TVs, satellite TV, Wifi and a Sonos® sound system. Its four well-appointed bedrooms comfortably sleep eight, and the fully functional kitchen has an adjoining summer kitchen. Outside, the expansive patio features a wood burning pizza oven and fireplace.
McKelvey Vineyards is a great place to spend the day, or to rent out for family reunions, weekend retreats, showers, a girl’s weekend, or any kind of celebration or party.
“For example, we have a wedding party that’s going to have their rehearsal dinner there on the patio, spend the night in the manor, and the next day they’ll get dressed and get ready there, have their pictures taken there, get married on our wedding pad which is right outside the home, and have the reception up at the pavilion,” says Patricia.
For more information on McKelvey Vineyards, go to mckelveyvineyards.com.