History

since 1853

Benoist Family

Benoist Family

 

The Oakland House was built in 1853 by Louis Auguste Benoist as a country home for himself and his third wife, Sarah Elizabeth, whom he had married on November 16th, 1849.

Between 1850 and 1867 Benoist had acquired land in several step transactions. The land was being acquired for a combination working farm, with crops and livestock, and as a summer home to be enjoyed with family and friends. Benoist named the property Oakland Farms, for the many Burr Oak Trees on the grounds. Eventually a total of 476.43 rolling acres of land was acquired  (One third the size of Forest Park today).

In 1853, Benoist commissioned George Ingrahm Barnett, who was the architect for the Tower Grove home of Henry Shaw (Missouri Botanical Gardens), to design his home. Barnett was possibly the most famous architect that St. Louis ever had. Barnett had designed the Governors Mansion in Jefferson City and many of the lavish homes in Lafayette Square.

The Oakland House was built in 1853 by Louis Auguste Benoist as a country home for himself and his third wife, Sarah Elizabeth, whom he had married on November 16th, 1849.

Between 1850 and 1867 Benoist had acquired land in several step transactions. The land was being acquired for a combination working farm, with crops and livestock, and as a summer home to be enjoyed with family and friends. Benoist named the property Oakland Farms, for the many Burr Oak Trees on the grounds. Eventually a total of 476.43 rolling acres of land was acquired  (One third the size of Forest Park today).

In 1853, Benoist commissioned George Ingrahm Barnett, who was the architect for the Tower Grove home of Henry Shaw (Missouri Botanical Gardens), to design his home. Barnett was possibly the most famous architect that St. Louis ever had. Barnett had designed the Governors Mansion in Jefferson City and many of the lavish homes in Lafayette Square.

Oakland Farms

Oakland Farms

The exterior of Oakland was white limestone that had been quarried on the property. The interior includes 12 ft. high ceilings, 24 inch thick walls, a fireplace in every room, a “free standing” walnut staircase, and a watch tower. ​

In addition to the main house on the grounds there were stables, barns, a four acre “Mirror Lake”, a stone boat house, a stone smokehouse, and a bridle path running along the north side of the lake. 

Oakland was also to be a working farm complete with animals:  horses, sheep, steers, oxen, mules, pigs, and chickens. The orchards included: pear trees, apple trees, and cherry trees. The gardens: vegetables, herbs, roses, and other flowers. The landscaping and the gardens were to be completed under the direction of his good friend, Henry Shaw.

1969, The Oakland House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1975, Oakland received the first plaque given to a historic home by the St. Louis County Parks & Recreation Department.
1983, The Oakland House was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the United States Department of the Interior in the Library of Congress.

Today, Oakland is owned by the Affton Historical Society which is responsible for the maintenance, preservation, restoration, and renovation of the home. Such projects are funded through a combination of annual member dues, donations, an endowment fund, and ongoing fundraising events. The vast majority of the labor at Oakland is provided by volunteer members of the Affton Historical Society and their families.

1969, The Oakland House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1975, Oakland received the first plaque given to a historic home by the St. Louis County Parks & Recreation Department.
1983, The Oakland House was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the United States Department of the Interior in the Library of Congress.

1969, The Oakland House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
1975, Oakland received the first plaque given to a historic home by the St. Louis County Parks & Recreation Department.
1983, The Oakland House was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey of the United States Department of the Interior in the Library of Congress.

Today, Oakland is owned by the Affton Historical Society which is responsible for the maintenance, preservation, restoration, and renovation of the home. Such projects are funded through a combination of annual member dues, donations, an endowment fund, and ongoing fundraising events. The vast majority of the labor at Oakland is provided by volunteer members of the Affton Historical Society and their families.