This Victorian gem was home to both a renowned Civil War Artist and the makers of the once much sought after “Queen of the Pantry” baking and cake flour.
Renowned Civil War artist George C. Bingham as well as the original founders of the “Waggoner Gates Mill” once called this gorgeous 26 room, 3-story Victorian mansion home.
The Bingham Years
George Caleb Bingham was born on March 20th, 1811. Though southern by birthright his parents were staunch New Englanders, thus giving young George a mixed view of the world that would later shape his politics and paintings.
Bingham’s political career included the writing of the failed “Bingham Resolution”, waging war on the activities of the Klu Klux Klan, and serving in the Missouri General Assembly. Activities that ran counter-clockwise to most southern beliefs of the era.
In addition to his political aspirations, he spent several years studying art abroad and was a renowned self-taught artist who painted in the luminous style.
Bingham’s work emphasized the serenity of pioneer life on the “Big Muddy” and took into account great detail and the use of lighting techniques that were revolutionary for the period. Some of his original work is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Reproductions are also available for purchase in the estates on-site “Carriage House Gift Shop.”
Bingham built and moved into what was then known as the “Bingham Estate” immediately preceding the Civil War. He sold the house around the time of William Clark Quantrill’s raids on the area.
Quantrill, a Civil War Guerilla, was notorious for his ruthless disregard of human life and it was his raids that forced the temporary evacuation of Jackson County in August of 1863.
The Waggoner Years
The estate later became in possession of the Waggoner family circa 1867. A distinguished Pennsylvania milling family, the Waggoner’s brought their milling skills to Independence and began producing what at the time was considered to be the best cake and baking flour in the Midwest. Their flour was marketed under the names of “Queen of the Pantry”, “Jack Frost” and “Famous Flour” just to name a few.
Photos of the old mill and examples of early “Queen of the Pantry” advertisements are still available online to this day. There are even a few pieces of “Queen of the Pantry” memorabilia that can also still be purchased today by lucky, early, Antebellum Americana collectors through such sites as E-Bay.
In addition to being a remarkable example of early pioneer aristocracy, the south side of the estate’s lawn contains authentic circa 1830 wagon swales created by the brave men and women who perilously traveled along the Santa Fe Trail.
Admission and Hours of Operation
The “Bingham-Waggoner Estate” is open from April 1st until October 31st during the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday and 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm on Sunday. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under the age of 6 are admitted for free.
The “Bingham-Waggoner Wagon Swales” is located behind the “Bingham Waggoner Estate House” and run for ¼ a mile. Admission to the swales area is included within the estate admission price.
Bingham Waggoner Estate
313 West Pacific
Independence, MO 64055
Those would-be travelers who would like more information about the “Bingham Waggoner Estate and Wagon Swales” should log onto Independence, Missouri’s tourism website.