Grand Italianate Villa
Karbelle Mansion is a Grande Italianate Villa built by James S. Thomson in 1875.
The house is 10,000 sq ft made up of 29 rooms, with over 100 openings between the windows and doors. Built by James S. Thomson, his initials are etched in glass above two 10 ft wooden ornate double entrance doors.
There are 3 large bedrooms for private use and a lot of shared space in between, below, and above you to relax.
Upon entrance into this house, you come into a striped walnut and oak lobby floor. In the lobby of the house, you have 7 exit points to decide upon. The 1st left is the Lounge. The 2nd left is the Black and White room. Straight ahead, veering left and up is the Main Staircase. Straight ahead veering left on the same level is the Back Deck. Completely straight ahead is the Game Room and coat closet. The 1st right is the Formal Parlor. The 2nd right, past the organ is the Dining Room.
Beyond initially feeling like you need a GPS to get around this place, it ultimately becomes easy, I promise. I think about how architects laid out Washington DC roadways. Adventurous for beginners and tourists. But once you get the lay of the land, you can get around pretty quickly and confidently.
An architectural marvel built into the design of this house — is viewing the east rising sun light as it moves across the windows of the Lounge. When it directly lines up with the last window, crossing the house, hitting the striped wooden lobby floor, the light bounces and reflects to the Formal Parlor’s ceiling medallion, where the natural light magnifies the room on the West side of the house. It’s amazing and beautiful to see.
Do they ever think of those things these days?
The house is filled with stories of old:
- From Elizabeth Thomson hiding gold bars for the bank when Bloody Bill Anderson and his gang came and kidnapped Colonel Lewis. She paid ransom for the town to get him back, only to have him die from his wounds a short time later.
- From James being banished because he helped both sides during the Civil War (Glasgow was said to be a blend of people and a line of battle).
- Or the old central vaccum system. (A previous tourist exclaimed, “That’s better than a Hoover!”) One was clogged from Day 1. Come see what they swept up off the floors back then.
- Elizabeth also had a reason she made a wall of red glass to face the upstairs lobby, do you know why?
Come hear the adventures of old and experience some new ones of your own! Included is an one hour house tour, and we’re available if you want to hear more of the adventures I’ve come to know and love. . .
An architect is someone who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of things.
Upon coming to this place, questions I get and you might be thinking. . .
- Are there ghosts?
- Maybe. From stories handed down to stories I myself directly experienced. You bet there are unexplainable things. And trust me, I’ve tried. I majored in Math, so you bet I investigate to figure out why a noise occurred, why there is a draft and doors slam or fly open, or why an appliance might just turn on by itself. Sure – there are things I haven’t figured out yet.
- What’s James Thomson’s story?
- He was a banker and a merchant here in Glasgow. In the very early days, Glasgow was said to become the next booming river town beyond St. Louis, due to it’s center locale and all the steamboat and river traffic stopping on the sharpest curve on the Missouri River.
- James Thomson built this house for $70,000 in 1875, and was said to have been competing with his wife’s relative, Oswald Swinney. The Swinney house was called Eglantine Castle, and I think was taller (maybe due to the fact it was on a hillside). Both homes had towers in which you could see the Observatory between them, which was free standing beside a Professor Pritchett’s home. Eglantine Castle is now gone. The Observatory was preserved and has been moved to Fayette for people to go and enjoy. However – the Mansion is still standing, in my eyes, I say James Thomson has won!