A Lesson in Progress Over Perfection from John Homer Bothwell


This historic site near my hometown has interested me for years. Bestowed to the state of Missouri after his passing, attorney John Homer Bothwell constructed a spectacular lodge to share with an assortment of guests throughout the last half of his life. The motto, “Ye ornament of a house is ye guest who doth frequent it.” hangs above the music room to welcome his hundreds of visitors.  He was a fascinating and innovative man and walking through his lodge is like stepping into a ghostly scene from the early 1900’s.


Growing up, the tour at Bothwell was a frequent stop for school field trips and family outings.  On this particular trip I had to smile as our tour guide described Bothwell’s woodworking blunders.  As a practical hobby he had constructed several pieces for the home that would rival a professional’s.  However, in his “basement” stood a few pieces that were of lesser quality.  The thought “progress over perfection” came to mind.  Even Bothwell fumbled. He fumbled quite a bit.  It was laughable the pieces he had created that leaned every which way with even an ounce of pressure.  Yet the revolving bookshelf he created as a bedside table is the essence of beauty, simplicity, and practicality.

He kept going.


A day spent wandering through Bothwell’s many bedrooms, gazing at the impressive view from the bluff, and staring mesmerized at his impressive library collection will always be on of my favorite activities.

Plus, it holds a special place in my heart as it was the place where I saw Josh Morris for the first time on our wedding day.


2 thoughts on “A Lesson in Progress Over Perfection from John Homer Bothwell

  1. That bookshelf/bedstand is so cool! I want one now. Someone should make/sell them! 🙂

    And I really love what you said about progress over perfection. With the new year, comes this innate desire to change and achieve goals right away. But progress really is better than perfection.

    Happy New Year, friend!


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