It all started with the War of 1812
The Cottle family procured the 100 acre property on land grant 285 from the War of 1812. Oliver Cottle erected a small house to live in as his dream of a magnificent stone house came to fruition. Daniel Boone gave the Cottle family a fireplace mantle as, quite literally, a house warming gift as he did with many of his friends who pioneered west. The stone house was erected atop a hill facing south between several sycamore trees. If there are large sycamore trees, indian guides will tell you, there is a good source of water nearby.
Oliver Cottle died without a will and the family home was to be sold on the courthouse steps. In 1832 Ira Cottle won the bid on the house to keep it in the family. Ira lived there briefly and sold the home to William McClay. A feature article, about the house, described it as follows:
"The McClay house is known as one of the finest in St. Charles County, with its architectural charm of the last century. We visited and photographed the house and did, indeed, find it charming. It has a basement and three stories. The basement has a huge fireplace with an iron crane designed for cooking and food storage. The rock walls are two feet thick, such that rocking chairs could be used 0n the window sills".
St. Charles Journal February 2, 1961
In 1903 the conservatory was added to the stone house. An impressive stone fireplace adorns the east wall. The picture of the two boys in front of the conservatory porch is the oldest known photograph of the stone house. It was taken in the 1930's.