GLASGOW, Mo — Karbelle Mansion has a lot to offer people who are interested in the Civil War. It is full of history, ghost stories, tours, and free breakfast for overnight guests.
Kimberly Reckner, owner of the Karbelle Mansion, said that it’s important to note that the mansion is almost 150 years old, so there may be some quirks, such as a slightly uneven main floor hallway. However, the house is built like a fortress, with walls that are four bricks thick on both the inside and outside.
A rich history
The Italianate Villa in Glasgow was built in 1875 by James S. Thomson. He married Elizabeth Brown Jones, who owned the land. Although she legally needed a man to represent her, it was Jones who ensured the house’s existence. Thomson was in competition to build the largest house in Glasgow, which he achieved.
“There was a competitor, but that house is no longer standing due to a later house fire,” said Reckner. “So, I say JST won because he is still standing today.”
The mansion boasts over 100 windows and doors and is the first house with gravity-fed running water. The mansion features a room of red glass, two-toned wood flooring, grand staircase, and a tower for viewing the surrounding fields and land.
The basement still has an old foundation and dirt floors from a previous structure. The mansion has a tunnel, but it was built in 1875, so it is not part of the supposed Glasgow’s extensive underground tunnel system.
“Glasgow is said to have an enormous underground tunnel system, sourcing from the Missouri River,” said Reckner.
The caves in Glasgow, Missouri, have been used for many different things over time. They were first used to move goods from river boats up into the town.
“I know they were used to deliver goods from the river boats up throughout town. They said Glasgow was to be the next St. Louis on the adventure to settle the West,” said Reckner. “I’ve also heard it rumored that bootleggers used these tunnels, and I know there is a huge underground room downtown they said was a speakeasy, and there’s this concrete pointing hand in a wall, still there today which was said to have pointed and lead the way to the secret room.”
During the Civil War, Glasgow was an important link between the North and the South, and the tunnels were probably used for both war work and sneaking people in and out.
During Bloody Bill Anderson’s invasion on October 14, 1864, Jones hid gold bars in flower pots and used them to secure Benjamin Lewis’s release.
Bill Anderson and his group of soldiers broke into the residence of Benjamin Lewis, a Unionist businessman, and subjected him to torture. The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that Anderson also allegedly raped a young black girl, to extort a ransom from Lewis. He later stated that Anderson threatened to burn the house down unless he surrendered. Anderson ransomed Lewis for $5,000, which included $1,000 in gold, by a cousin.
“Metal detectors still have a piqued interest in scouring the land, as all the Glasgow gold has not been accounted for to this day,” said Reckner.
Jones died of a throat tumor in 1883. Thomson remarried and had a daughter before his death in 1898. He only lived in the house for nine years before moving out, and he eventually settled in a basement in Inglewood at the entrance of Kuemmel Park.
The mansion has rumors of unexplainable events. During a ghost medium session, eight years ago over FaceTime, strange occurrences took place in the presence of five people and a medium.
The session took place in the house, even though the medium was not there. She took part by video call. The medium knew nothing about the location or Thomson, but she accurately described Thomson before seeing his picture.
Another ghostly experience happened when a black funeral dress was removed from hanging on the wall, which left an imprint. The dress fell to the floor, as soon as it hit the floor, and both front double doors blew open with a winter chill swirling in the servant’s stairs, according to Reckner.
“The black funeral dress is now hung with care in the only closet original to the house and that would be in the North West bedroom,” said Reckner she also said that this bedroom is available to rent.
Other paranormal activities have been reported, such as Thomson staring out the North West bay window in the basement and the King Bedroom.
Reckner said this is “where my dogs barked when I first moved in my bedroom.”The room is called the King Room and is available to rent.
“At the top of the stairs, many people have done a double take looking down to the lobby because they catch a woman in a long dress walking across from one parlor to the other,” said Reckner.
She continues on to say that “it’s a safe place if you have a good heart with good intentions, respect the house, and truly come to enjoy its beauty – you have nothing to worry about.”
A night in the mansion
Karbelle Mansion offers guests a $20 pre-paid G-Biz card per night, which can be used at local retailers and the Mansion’s kitchen to cook a homemade meal. It can accommodate 2-10 people and is ideal for business meetings, lunches, and tea parties. The atmosphere, architecture, and rich history of the mansion can inspire anyone who visits.
This 150-year-old Italianate Villa has been well-kept and has a long and interesting past. It is also the setting for stories of mystery and intrigue. Unique things about the mansion, like running water that is powered by gravity and a room made of red glass, add to its appeal. Rumors of tunnels and secret treasures make it an exciting place to explore.
Even though there have been rumors of ghosts and strange things happening, the house is still a safe and welcoming place for people to come and enjoy its beauty and history. Anyone who stays at the Karbelle Mansion is sure to have a great time.