On our ramble through the Arcadia Valley, we came around a curve on Hwy 72 just outside of Ironton and saw a beautiful lake set off by a WPA or CCC-era stone wall.
There was a tiny pull-off, but a tailgater kept me from driving into it. I had to go about half a mile until I could turn around in what looked like a church camp parking lot.
Google wasn’t much help. I found a smattering of factoids here and there, but nothing really good. The lake was formed by the 29-foot high Lake Killarney Dam, built in 1911. It’s listed as a private lake with public fishing not permitted, said the Hookandbullet website. The first ironworks in Missouri and west of the Mississippi was erected long Stout’s Creek, near Lake Killarney.
Property values are pretty high, if asking prices are any indication. A 756-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath cabin on .18 acres of lakefront was offered for $73,900. The place didn’t look like anything special, but the view was nice.
Mother and I were cruising around looking for the Johnson’s Shut-ins and Elephant Rocks State Parks, when we came around a curve leading into Ironton and saw this magnificent building and grounds. A gatepost marker proclaimed it to be “The Home for Aged Baptist 1935.” Click on the photos to make them larger.
Cypress knees and walkways
Mother said she could remember coming here to visit folks from Advance years ago. The grounds looked like a park with a small waterway, cypress trees, and walkways.
Light on history
I thought it would be easy to find information on the place, but the search was complicated by a name change. It became “The Baptist Home” in 1977.
A Baptist Home newsletter from 2006 said that wealthy businessmen from St. Louis built summer homes in Arcadia Valley in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When one of them, R.L. Lewis, died in 1819, his widow sold the 175-acre estate for $15,000.
Legend has it, the newsletter continues, that Dr. Milford Riggs stood on Sunset Rock atop St. Francois Mountain years earlier and envisioned the exact spot where the Riggs-Scott building was completed in 1923.