Rural Missouri Magazine

A Victorian Christmas
Vaile Mansion, Independence, MO

by Jarrett Medlin

In 1882, a Kansas City Times reporter described the Vaile Mansion in Independence as “the most princely house and the most comfortable home in the entire West.”

Today, more than 120 years after it was built, the three-story mansion stands just four blocks from the Truman Library & Museum. It remains an architectural anomaly among the Midwestern homes that surround it. It’s been featured in USA Today and on the Arts & Entertainment Television and Home & Garden Television channels.

Originally built for $150,000 in 1881 — equivalent to $12-15 million in today’s economy — the Vaile Mansion is the perfect example of Victorian elegance. The house has 112 windows, an 80-foot tower on one side, 14-foot ceilings on the ground floor and nine marble fireplaces.

The Vaile Victorian Society, an organization formed in 1983 to restore and refurnish the building, allows visitors to experience the style and spirit of Victorian times while touring the Vaile Mansion. The society also hosts various events throughout the year.

From Nov. 24 until Dec. 30, the Vaile Victorian Society offers Classic Victorian Christmas holiday tours. For $5, visitors can tour the mansion and see a profusion of ribbons, lace, cherubs, angels, garlands and bells while learning about the mansion’s eccentric original owner, Harvey Vaile.

The Vaile Mansion is located at 1500 N. Liberty in Independence. For more information, call (816) 325-7430, or log onto

Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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