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THE HISTORY

THE WESTHEIMERS

Whiskey Mansion was built in 1885 by Ferdinand and Sarah Westheimer.  Born in Rimbach, Germany, Ferdinand immigrated to the United States in 1849.  He initially arrived in New York and peddled dry goods to farms via horse.  In 1859 he set off for Saint Joseph, Missouri, the furthermost town to the West that was serviced by rail -- The Hannibal-St Joseph Railway.  Initially it took two days by train to cross Missouri from Hannibal.  Today the same journey is a mere three hours along 36 highway.  Ferdinand opened a dry good store on Frederick Blvd where City Hall stands today.  At the age of 35 he married his wife Sarah (19), also from Rimbach, on January 9, 1861.  They began distributing whiskey to mining towns out West in 1877 and shut their dry goods store.   With investment in rye distilleries in Kentucky they produced several whiskey brands under the Ferdinand Westheimer label.  The company grew fast and the Westheimer's become prominent, wealthy members of Saint Joseph.  They hired architect E.J. Eckle, a Frenchman, to build the Whiskey Mansion in 1884.  It was built in an Italianate design with distinct Queen Anne features, an iconic design by Eckle.  The Westheimers raised 8 sons at the Mansion, one of whom went on to found Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. 

THE RESTORATION

THE WHISKEY

Most popular of their whiskeys was "Red Top Rye".  This whiskey was available in taverns and bars throughout the United States, even offered as a primary whiskey on Pullman cars.  Red Top Rye was featured in the St Louis World's Fair in 1904.

Condemned in 1992, the house faced a devastating fire in 1995.  Returning from Japan, Olin Cox, a Savannah MO native, bought the property and began the restoration process.  Through many delays and challenges, the property was painstakingly restored into a bed and breakfast, allowing others to see its original grandeur and history.  The parlors and bedrooms have been restored with period furniture, while modern touches of air conditioning and private bathrooms were discreetly placed to blend with the house's original character.  Each season offers a unique encounter: Winter a cozy getaway; Summer a traveler's respite; Spring and Fall a splendor of nature.

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