Monday, November 9, 2015

Hidden Gem: Magic Chef Mansion tour

Over the weekend, my family finally toured the Magic Chef Mansion after years of discussing it...

The 1908 French Renaissance Revival mansion sits on 2 gated acres in the Compton Hill neighborhood, caddy-corner to the Compton Hill Reservoir Park, at #3400 Russell Blvd.  

It was designed by architect Ernst Janssen for Charles Stockstrom (1852-1935), the founder of the Quick Meal Stove Company, later renamed the Magic Chef company.  The largest stove maker in the world at one time, the St. Louis plant alone employed over 2,000 locals.

Stockstrom worked closely with Janssen in designing the 12,000 square foot, 30+ room  property plus carriage house. Construction began in 1907 and was completed a year later at a cost of $49,500 (equivalent to 1.3 million today), as the Stockstrom family traveled the world.

In 1935, Stockstrom died at age 83. His daughter, Adda Ohmeyer, continued to reside in the Mansion until her death in 1990.  The current (and only 2nd) owner purchased the property in serious disrepair at that time for $400,000 and has spent the last 25 years restoring it and hunting down original furnishings and fixtures sold at auction after Ohmeyer's death.

In addition to currently acting as home to the present owner, it is also open to the public for events, parties, and tours once per month in correlation to the adjacent reservoir tours. Learn more HERE.

While the Magic Chef Mansion is not quite a genuine peek-back-in-time like the Rockliffe Mansion, where the original goodies and furnishings remain in the property in their original state... the history and scale does impress.  In addition, the extent of renovation that this homeowner has taken on as a labor of love is astounding and commendable, for example recently converting the property to geothermal. Renovation photos HERE

Here is a peek at our adventure.  Note: the tour is not a guided historical tour as one may expect.  Rather, it is open house style with numerous guides along the way to help answer questions as they arise. Also, my mobile photos do not do the property justice....  

See my other recommended St. Louis Hidden Gems HERE.

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