An eclectic entrepreneur in my home town of University City (part of St. Louis, MO), thought it would be a great idea to run a trolley up and down our downtown area. 50 million dollars (of taxpayer money) later they have two of these running. The “Loop Trolleys” are now running, taking us back to another time.
I received a last minute invitation to visit the Missouri Governor at his home in Jefferson City, Missouri for some Christmas Cheer! This is the view of building from new the bluffs where it overlooks the Missouri River. Since it was built in 1871, the Missouri Governor’s Mansion has been the official residence of Missouri’s Governors. On a visit to the home, guests can travel back in time and experience a piece of the state’s past.
The Missouri Governor’s Mansion is one of the oldest and most beautiful governors’ homes in the U.S., and the public can enjoy the history that is showcased within its walls. The home hosts more than 60,000 visitors annually.
I remember the Climatron, the structure in the background, being built in the late 50’s, early 60’s. It was the first geodesic dome to be used as a conservatory and opened to the public on October 1, 1960 on the grounds of Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The design of the Climatron greenhouse was developed by St. Louis architects Murphy and Mackey, winning the 1961 Reynolds Award, an award for architectural excellence in a structure using aluminum. The design was part of an architectural revolution in 1950’s St. Louis that included the St. Louis Arch, Lambert – St. Louis Airport, St. Louis Priory and more.
The photo here shows it as part on the Botanical Garden’s Garden Glow event. See more photos of St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden: https://greatrivers.smugmug.com/Galleries/Missouri-Botanical-Garden
Henry Shaw inhabited the west wing of this house, which boasts ceilings over 12 feet high downstairs and over 15 feet high upstairs. Authentic deep moldings and ornate woodwork are unique to the original structure. The east side was the servants’ wing in Shaw’s time. The house has undergone many changes over the years. In 1890, the east side was completely rebuilt, and running water and gas service were added. Electricity was added in 1912 and a stucco exterior was applied in 1918.
After 100 years of use as a private home, school, dormitory, and office building, the house underwent meticulous renovation. Furniture and materials once belonging to Shaw were located and returned. It opened to the public in 1953. Tower Grove House was rededicated on October 29, 2005 after another period of extensive restoration. The house has been restored to reflect Shaw’s original country home. Many of the 19th century furnishings belonged to Shaw; others are of the same era.
See more Christmas photos and more form the Missouri Botanical Garden: https://greatrivers.smugmug.com/Galleries/Missouri-Botanical-Garden/i-GrL5ZPS
Missouri Governor’s Mansion ready for Christmas. The Mansion has a two story Christmas tree in the stairway and trees in every room. However this little side-room has two trees and other decorations making it the place to be on Christmas morning.
I was lucky enough to receive a Christmas invitation to visit with the Governor but spent most my time there walking around the historic mansion, learning about the history and finding something fun to photograph.
This is one of my favorite Christmas Photos. However I would not have found it if I did not follow one of the most important photography tips I have heard. That is, once you have found a good subject, take some time to study it and walk around it to find the best angle for a photo. The subject here was really a Gatekeeper’s House on the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden (see previous post). The house was nicely decorated for their Garden Glow event and when I walked around to the side of the house and looked into a doorway, I found this scene! To get this photo, I used a tripod set to a lower height and captured it as three shot HDR to make sure there were no shadows in the room. Everything processed in Lightroom and Photomatix.
The holiday season offers a lot of opportunities for interesting photos. This is the old gatehouse at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Every year they create their “Garden Glow” where part of the property is highly decorated with lights and displays. It is a great place to photograph but do not take a tripod! To photograph Christmas lights at night, you will need a good camera and a tripod. Unfortunately many displays are drive-thru so you cannot get out of your car and displays like this are full of people so tripods are not allowed. Be sure to check the venue’s website to see if they have a Photographer’s Night or a special group that allows special equipment. The Missouri Botanical Garden has several of these nights during their Garden Glow. During these events, there are fewer people so there are more photo opportunities and the ability to spend time to explore angles, usually not available, helps find better shots .