Historic Building in Branson Destroyed by Fire
Native rock walls are all that remain of the historic Owen homestead at Branson’s Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area after an early morning fire.
According to a news release from the city of Branson, emergency personnel were notified of a fire by people who reported seeing flames on a hillside in the area of Highway 76 and Fall Creek Road. First arriving responders with the Branson Fire and Police Departments discovered the Owen Homestead home fully involved in flames at 2:30 this morning.
Due to the extent of the damage, fire investigators have been unable to determine the fire cause. Fire department personnel will return this morning to continue the investigation during daylight hours.
The property was originally owned by Wilbur Winchester who built the 778 square foot home using native fieldstones from the property. Dr. Lyle Owen purchased the property in 1934 and began adding stone features including 360 feet of mortared wall flower beds and over 200 feet of stone wall for retaining purposes. Dr. Owen also used the native fieldstones to build the 315 steps leading down the bluff to Lake Taneycomo. These steps remain a feature of the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area.
The City of Branson purchased the first 130 acres of land in 1998. In 2011 the remaining 7.4 acres were purchased from the Owen family with a commitment to preserve the land and utilize it as a City Park with a focus on the nature trails, green space and preservation of the forest.