The 1827 Bingham-Waggoner Estate
One of Missouri’s Most Historic Properties
Welcome to the infamous Bingham-Waggoner Mansion in the historic city of Independence, Missouri. Once home to one of the greatest American painters of the 19th century and prominent Missouri politician, George Caleb Bingham (“the Missouri Artist”), the mansion may well still be home to the talented man’s spirit.
Plotted in 1827 on the superhighway west called the Santa Fe Trail, The Bingham-Waggoner Estate is today one of the most significant historical sites in western Missouri, because of the key role it played in the history of the state and the many colorful characters, owners, and residents of this now legendary mansion. The most famous is the artist and politician George Caleb Bingham, who purchased the property in 1864, expanding the impressive grounds to nearly 20 acres.
Bingham’s works, including beautiful and lively scenes of the Missouri river, appear in many major museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkin Museum, the St Louis Museum of Art and The National Gallery of Art. The Bingham Waggoner mansion still has his original work of Dr. Lykens hanging in the music room. Bingham also painted a Civil War scene called “The Martial Law,” whilst living in the house which became one of his most famous, most discussed, political works.
Several people have reported seeing the specter of a man in a long coat and a top hat in the mansion, it’s thought to be Bingham himself who died on July 7, 1879. Bingham was also a soldier, then a politician. He became the captain of a volunteer company that helped keep the state of Missouri from joining the confederacy, he was then Missouri’s Treasurer before becoming Missouri’s Adjutant General. As well as political themes, as an artist, his paintings encompass American frontier life along the Missouri River in the Luminist style.
The Waggoner family bought Bingham’s home in 1879, after his death. They were a family of flour millers famous for baking and cake flour. Three generations of the Waggoner family made the Bingham Waggoner Estate their home for 100 years before it was bought by a conglomerate of citizens and turned into an important museum and park.
As well as Bingham’s ghost, there is said to be the spirit of a bride who has been seen on the staircase. As the stories go, the bride tripped on her gown on the stairs and fell to her death, though the stories are sparse on this haunting so it’s certainly one to investigate further.
Visitors taking photos have also reported seeing floating orbs of light when they’ve studied them afterward.
Are you ready to try and make contact with the spirits in this almost 200-year-old home?
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