In 1893, Rose O’Neill’s parents homesteaded to the Missouri Ozarks, which is where Rose lived much of her life. At 18, Rose moved to New York, but returned a year later to visit. In her autobiography, Rose recalled, “The next day we went deeper and deeper into the thick woods. I forgot my fears and shouted with joy. I called it the “tangle” and my extravagant heart was tangled in it for good.” She named the O’Neill homestead Bonniebrook because of the little stream that ran along side the family’s cabin. Bonniebrook was Rose O’Neill’s “favorite place in the world.”
In early January, 1947, the old house burned to the ground. For nearly 30 years the site of the old home lay in ruins. It had been reclaimed by nature and it was nearly impossible to locate the home’s foundation. In 1975, The Bonniebrook Historical Society was formed and fund raising began in earnest to rebuild the house. The statue “Embrace of the Tree”, sculpted by Rose O’Neill, was located and brought home. Finally, the house was completed in 1993, the Centennial Year of the O’Neill family homesteading there. It is furnished in the style typical of the era in which the O’Neill’s occupied it. The grounds of Bonniebrook are wondrous. Although the land is bit more tame now than when the O’Neill’s were in residence, you get a true sense of how Rose was inspired by being here. Whether strolling the walkway surrounding the front lawn, sitting quietly alongside the creek, or walking over the doorbell bridge into the woods where the O’Neill family cemetery lies, you can imagine what life was like here in the first half of the 20th century.
The Bonniebrook homestead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
The home and grounds are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, April to November, major holidays excluded.
Located outside of Branson, Missouri the address is:
485 Rose O’Neill Rd.,
Walnut Shade, MO 65771
For more information call:
(800) KEWPIES (539–7437)
or (417) 561–1509 (local)
Click Here for Visitors Information.