One of the most noticeable features in the Nook is the Grand Staircase. Peter Schmidli, a craftsman who emigrated from Switzerland to Jefferson City in 1867 hand-carved the banister and balusters from black walnut. Schmidli’s wood carving talents attracted the attention of the Mansion’s general contractor, Gottlieb Martin who also hired Schmidli to install the mansard roof. The staircase is thought to be one of the most unusual and beautiful staircases in the United States today!
The columns in the Nook were added during the Stark Administration after the Grand Staircase began pulling away from the wall. The Doric-style columns, similar to that of architecture seen throughout Europe, are part of a structural support system for the second story of the Mansion.
Above the Grand Staircase, you will find the portrait of First Lady. As you can see, First Lady Stephens is sitting for her portrait, a pose that sparked a long tradition of many first lady portraits you see today throughout the Mansion.
A gift to the Mansion from Governor Stephens and Mrs. Stephens, the grandfather clock is ensconced in the Nook. In 2009, First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon had the clock repaired to be in good working order.
On loan from the St. Louis Art Museum, the painting on the back wall is named “Bayou Scene” created by American painter Joseph Rusling Meeker in 1877. This piece of art commemorates Missouri as once being a part of the Louisiana Territory.