Sunday, March 22, 2015

Historic Ravenswood Mansion Tour

Hello everyone! Boy do I have a tour for you today! This is Ravenswood, this beautiful mansion is about 45 minutes away from where I live in a small town called Bunceton, population 352.

It sits proudly on 2,000 acres. What makes this home amazing is the fact that it has been in the SAME family since it was built in 1880!

This stately residence was  built by Nathaniel Leonard and was not completed at his death in 1876 so his son  Captain Charles E. Leonard finished the mansion and he and his wife Nadine Nelson Leonard lived here.  The house has 30 furnished rooms.  Few changes have been made in the house and today the furnishings, decorations, and the home itself is much the same as it was when it was built.  The farm of 2000 acres, much of which was purchased from the government, was established in 1825 and seven generations of Leonard's have lived here.  The present owner is the sixth generation and his son is the seventh.  The previous house on this property was destroyed by fire.  Successive generations living in one place for over 100 years have accumulated a household of china, glass, paintings, and antique furnishings.

The main part of the house is Italianate and was designed by an architect. 

Through the years the mansion was added on to several times, additions include the front porch with the columns, a cupola, a portico and a large addition at the rear of the house which included a conservatory and an in ground pool, pictured below. 

The family occupies 5 rooms in this back section while all the rooms in the front part of the mansion are for tours.

As you can imagine, there are several barns and outbuildings on this 2000 acre farm.

One of them being this carriage barn...

And 2 of the original carriages are housed here...

And this livestock barn. See the cow sign, I guess they didn't have cows crossing the road anymore and took it down?

And here is one of their tour signs. Speaking of tours...

Well, let's go!! This is the front door where you come through to start the tour, the hall here is just massive! Over to the right where you see the suit of armor is where the stair case is. The suit of armor is sixteenth century Italian.

Before you see this next picture of me, you need to know that I do not look that young anymore, these photos were taken in 2005, oh my! The young man standing next to me is the seventh generation Leonard to live here and he is our tour guide, his  name is Jamey. And let me tell you, if I had been a little younger and not married at that time, I could have been the Mrs. Leonard of this mansion today! And happily blogging about it! lol

The first room we entered was the Library. Here is a view of the left side...

and a view of the right side. Notice the sofa, you can tell that our tour guide had been laying there reading the paper waiting for us to arrive. Can you imagine just lounging around in this mansion like it's no big deal?! Oh, if only!

Here is the parlor, I'm not sure why I don't have more pictures of this room. Since it was so long ago  I don't even remember the details of each room. I think I need to go back.

Now we are going into the part of the mansion that was built on later, it looks like it was once a porch that was enclosed and made into a room but I don't remember.

Going through that room you come to this room which seems to be a dining room. He still has his eye on me! :) lol

and a butler's pantry,

and on to the right is this bedroom with this gorgeous high back bed and pretty marble top chest.

Back over across the hall is the "real" dining room! And Jamey was telling me how he would like for me to join him for dinner that evening! jk

A closer look at the dishes and the array of silverware and serving pieces.

I don't remember who this guy is even though I would venture to say he was a Leonard but he kind of looks like Harry S. Truman but wrong era.

The front plate of this old grandfather clock states has the date of 1790 and was made in Paris, Kentucky. To the left of the clock you see a fireside fold up chair with original upholstery.

Okay, in the below picture Jamey has just told me how charming he thought I was and wants me to be his wife! I couldn't believe what I was hearing! jk, just go along with the story okay and let's hope he doesn't read this. :)

The photo below is looking down on the main floor where we just toured,

and looking up to the second floor,

and the third floor

We are now on the second floor, notice the beautiful davenport desk there by the stairs.

We went up to the third floor but I don't think I took pictures up there, I don't even remember what was up there besides the attic space.

So we're back down on the second floor and the davenport desk again.
Note the music box on the stand in the hall, The box worked by placing a metal disc on a turntable, the box was wound up, the disc would go around and the music would play. Nadine loved this music box very much, over the years the music box has been heard playing, but the gears are frozen in place and it hasn't worked for a very long time, so word is that Nadine is haunting her beautiful mansion and this is one of the ways she does it.

An area that shows off a few baby buggies and a few pieces of furniture.

and a display case with some of Nadine's belongings

a closer look at the baby buggies

and into a bedroom where many of Nadine's dresses are displayed. Her clothing came from the great design houses of Paris.

This next dress was worn at the inauguration of Grover Cleveland.

Below is Nadine's wedding dress and slippers on the dresser, and above it is a framed photo of her wearing it.

another bedroom with twin beds

and a different angle of that same room

and a little alcove in another bedroom, don't know why I didn't get more pictures of that room,

The below bedroom faces out to the front lawn, the room was once wallpapered all over but over time the paper has fallen down so what you see over the bed are the remains of the original paper.

and another view of the same room

And now we're getting to the good part, but first we cut through this bathroom to get to it

a peek of this side of the bedroom with the beautiful red satin glass gone with the wind lamp on the lovely parlor table. Nice chair, needs a little work and the side table...

we'll skip over my very favorite piece of furniture in the whole house, I'm saving it for last, and take a look at this gorgeous, gorgeous epergne on this magnificent marble mantle, and NO PEEKING THROUGH THE MIRROR because if you do you'll see my favorite piece!

Oh, there it is!! That beautiful full tester bed!! Oh, it just takes my breath away!!

Just look at the pleats and all that silk! Just beautiful!

Are you ready for another Nadine ghost story? One of these last two rooms that I showed you was Nadine's bedroom. She died at the age of 90 here at the mansion in her bedroom, her body was taken to the nearby small town of  Boonville for the funeral. Later that day the family needed to get some items out of her bedroom and to their surprise her door wouldn't open, it was locked from the inside. And you had to have a key to do this. After a while, the son ordered a servant to call for a locksmith to come and take the door off which would have resulted in damage to the woodwork. Before this could be done, the servant reported to the son that the door had opened by itself. There was no reasonable explanation for this except that Nadine had not wanted to leave her home or have her beautiful Ravenswood torn up in any way.
Family members and visitors to the mansion continue to report ghostly happenings throughout the mansion and on the grounds. I did not though during my visit but maybe next time.

On another note, I am happy to report that the mansion is in the process of being restored, while keeping it in as much of the original state as possible.

Thank you so much for your visit and I think I'll go back next month and refresh my memory on some things and who knows maybe even take  more pictures!
Have a wonderful week!

I am joining the following parties for this week, please come and join in the fun.



  1. I went there many years ago, it was a mess then, looks like it has been cleaned up some since then. I looked it up on the net and it does look like they are doing some stuff. It seems to me that the old man Leonard, who gave me my tour, had all his money tired up and he had very little to live on and that is why, the roof leaked and things were going down hill. He was sleeping in a tiny room off the kitchen, like a pantry and there was no sheet on his mattress. So sad to see the dresses, made by Worth of Paris, rotting away. When I was there, there was a huge hornet nest in the closet where a lot of them were hanging, when we opened the door, we had to run. The family portraits had names scotch taped to the paint, so sad/ It is a wonderful place. If you had of married that fellow, we would be calling you, my lady. See you in a couple of days.

  2. So happy to hear it is being restore. Those wonderful treasure are fabulous...but the upkeep! Great experience, place a photo tour. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Hi Gina,
    What a gorgeous mansion! I love touring homes and this one looks beautiful! I think I would be a little nervous there though especially hearing that it could be haunted. It will be nice to restore it and make it more inviting and less spooky. Have a wonderful week! Karen

  4. How fascinating. I hope the continued work can be done to keep this beautiful piece of history open. That's quite a Nadine ghost story. Gives me chills.

  5. Thank you for this exceptional tour! It all could have been yours....missed out having your own ghost!

  6. Gina,
    What a lovely old mansion, so glad that they are restoring it! I hate to think of these historic treasures just falling into ruins, as so often happens because people just simply can't afford the upkeep - so sad. Love the Nadine story!
    Have a great week
    sugar, spice and whatever's nice

  7. I enjoyed the tour. Beautiful rooms and furniture. Somehow it made me feel better about the dust in my own Cottage ;)

  8. Wow, what a beautiful mansion inside and out. Thank you for sharing your tour at Vintage Inspiration Party.

  9. OH GIna

    what a great place for you to tour. That tour guy guy is cute LOL
    too bad your all ready married you could be living in all that grander.
    I think it needs a ladies touch with all that dust on everything.
    It is sad to see that old beautiful dress rotting away as it hangs on the mannequin I want .
    I'll go back there with you some day.


  10. Thanks for this photo essay of a fascinating Victorian home. It would probably make a good book. Have you ever seen the book "Old Houses" by Steve Gross (pub in 1991)? Seeing this house reminded me of that book.
    I am glad they are restoring it, hopefully they can get assistance with it somehow, it's a real historical treasure.


  11. Oh, I so enjoyed your tour of this beautiful historic mansion. It was like I was walking back in time as everything looks the same as it would have been over 100 years ago! It's really a treasure as so many stately homes I have toured did not have their original furnishings. This was so much fun. Thank you!

  12. What fun! Such a gorgeous place, so glad they are restoring it!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  13. Hi Gina, Do you recall 'Pretty Little Liars' spin-off called 'Ravenswood' ? :)
    This mansion is just as mysterious, creepy and beautiful as this fictional town.
    I just love the pic on the dresser in the bedroom.It is too 'modern' to be Nadine, right? And just look at the vintage doll and prams! All the furniture,wallpapers and other finishings are just stunning. What a great place to visit ( would be terrified thought ;))
    I hope you will share your tour with our Link Up - Idea box:


  14. Oh wow, what a gorgeous home and outbuildings! Wish I had that cow sign. lol! I love that it has stayed in the family! In my home town, 15 minutes away is the vintage home that was once the Beers hotel. Built by my mothers grandparents. They lived in it as well. Wish it was still in my family! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  15. Is this place still open for tours?

  16. I was fortunate enough to be a friend of Jamie (James Nelson Leonard) and spent countless visits with he and his parents at Ravenswood starting in 1960. Unfortunately, my last visit (at
    which time I lived in Texas) was for Jamie's funeral in December of 1968.


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