Wildwood – Home of Presidents

Wildwood - SEMO Presidents' home 03-02-2013I remember the home of SEMO’s presidents as an imposing white structure located on the college farm well away from other campus buildings.

Between snowflakes on Saturday, I decided to cruise around campus to see if it was still there or if the university had turned it into a parking lot.

When I came to a small lane with a white house at the end of it, I couldn’t believe THAT could be the building I was thinking about. It was way too small and ordinary looking.

It didn’t SAY “No Trespassing”

Wildwood - SEMO Presidents' home 03-02-2013At the top of a lane – I found out it was “Wildwood Street” on Google Maps – was a sign, “Dead End – Private Residence.” Well, it didn’t come right out and say “No Trespassing,” plus I have Florida license tags. A gray beard and Florida tags will get you out of a lot of sticky situations.

I drove down close enough to get a shot, then decided “in for a penny, in for a pound” and kept going rather than try to back up the narrow road. I intended to turn around and go back the way I came in, but I saw another lane going off to the left.

Wildwood looks larger from the back

Wildwood - SEMO Presidents' home 03-02-2013The sign lied: it WASN’T a dead end. It curved around and tied in with New Madrid Street, giving a view from the back that shows how the building has expanded since it was built in the early 1800s

SEMO’s website has a good history of the house, used by eight presidents since 1924. The last two presidents have elected to live elsewhere.

12 Replies to “Wildwood – Home of Presidents”

  1. I did some of the maintenance on Wildwood during my summers in high school. Glad I never had to do the maintenance when Doc Scully was in charge. Heard plenty of stories that’s for sure.

  2. I wonder if Andy Scully would share a story or two on this house….it is very cool. As a college student and earlier as kid in Cape it was a place where the gods lived and mere mortals only wondered what it was like.

  3. My father was a professor. Dr. And Mrs. Mark Scully hosted an annual Easter egg hunt for the children of faculty members. I remember that house as a beautiful place. I’m sure my mother spent every second making sure I didn’t touch or break anything.

  4. Ken — I would be shocked — stunned! — if indeed the home dates back to the early 1800s — I would say the late 1800s at the earliest. I grew up on North Henderson, just a couple of blocks from the home, and I wholly agree with Terry H. that Andy Scully would lend much interesting information to the discussion. Of all the grand events that have occurred at Wildwood, perhaps the most memorable is the unstaged event during the Vietmam protest era when a large group of anti-war activists, set on delivering their message in person to the President — Dr. Scully — were thwarted by the emergence of the SEMO Indians football team which gathered together at the top of the lane, their formidable lineman at the forefront to block the visitors. The angry crowd was disassembled forthwith. By the way, the lower left corner of your excellent second pic depicts the old and ancient wine cellar, which now houses a fine reception area and bar, and as you can imagine, is a place of much ambience. Steve

  5. I was a part of the SEMO Indians football team that thwarted the protesters that day. We considered them hippies with nothing better to do than pester old Dr. Scully. We were there because one of the protestors told us before the crowd gathered their real intention was to tear down the American flag and destroy it. They came close, but no cigar.

  6. I should mention that my comments were for the reply of Steve Limbaugh above. He must be in the same family of the field we practiced on by the biology building, before the track dome, Limbaugh Field. Hey Steve, are you related to my old buddy Jimmy Limbaugh?

  7. I hadn’t realized the house was that old! My daughter has had lunch there several times and didn’t mention anything special about it that caused her attention to go “hey, wow”. She did say it was really nice inside. Great pictures…glad you got to “get in close”!

  8. My Husband’s grandfather, Dr. Walter W. Parker was President of Semo for several years, approx. 27 years and is the longest running President of Semo. As a little boy, my husband spent many nights at Wildwood when Dr. Parker was a resident. He said it was a very spacious home, and I believe I read somewhere, it has close to 8ooo sq ft. I’m not sure when they expanded the home but it was quite large when my husband was there. Could have been
    through a little boys eyes! 🙂 He’s 67 now.

    1. correction, Dr. Parker was President of Semo for 23 years….1933-1956, and was the 9th President.

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