Description and History

The Twillman House

11840 Bellefontaine Road
Spanish Lake, Missouri 63138

The following information was prepared by Esley Hamilton, Historic Preservationist,
St. Louis County Parks Department, for the Office of Historic Preservation in Jefferson City, Missouri. It is dated June 1988.

History and Significance

The two-story brick house on Bellefontaine Road facing Redman Road was built in 1870 by John Henry Twillmann, who had been baptized Johann Heinrich Twellmann in 1827 in Bielefeld, Germany. He came to St. Louis County with his parents in 1842. John bought this property after his marriage to Louisa Nolte in 1850. By this union he had two surviving children. After Louisa’s death in 1855, he married Fredericka Kaune (1884-1917) and they had five surviving children. After John Henry Twillmann died in 1882, his 370-acre farm was divided among his family. His widow and son Louis Henry Twillmann (1871-1951) ran this 64-acre farm for many years. In 1911 the house was described as “a large-old-fashioned brick structure to which age has lent a certain dignity, and it is now one of the most imposing and beautiful country homes in the section of the county.” The school across the street is named for the family. In 1945 the house was acquired by Carl and Sally Plitt, who opened the Meadowlark Restaurant here. Since 1974, the Twillmann House has been the Old Homestead Restaurant, established by John and Mary Spiller and now operated by their son Warren Spiller.

Description of Important Features

The house has few stylistic features except the thick lintels over the windows, the wrought-iron balcony over the front door and the returns on the gable ends. Windows are 2-over-2 and have working shutters as does the center door to the balcony. Basement windows have segmental arches rising sightly into the brickwork. The front door has been altered, as indicated by old photos. It was originally deeply inset under a thick lintel. It is now set in a pilastered frame with a slightly pedimented lintel and a toplight. The front stoop of four steps originally had high sides, but they have been cut down. A one-story flat-roofed frame addition on the south side has three large fixed double windows toward the street. A two story addition has been made at the southeast corner of the main house and the northeast porch and staircase have been enclosed. The front cornice has been boxed in with some sort of siding.