Stone by stone, Daniel Boone Hays, grandson of pioneer Daniel Boone, built a house atop a hill in what now is Matson Hill Park. The home, built between the 1820s and 1830s, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and has remained closed to the public. Until now.
In December, St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department opened the Hays Home for self-guided tours.
“From the beginning, when we started the effort to restore the house, we felt the self-guided tour option would be the best route,” parks director Ryan Graham says. “The site is so beautiful, and the house is so interesting and unique, we wanted the park and the house to speak for itself.”
The parks department acquired the Hays Home in 2007. It had to be “taken back in time” to undo modifications made by inhabitants in the 1920s or ’30s, lead park interpreter William Ray says.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve gutted the house,” Ray says. “But we certainly made reverse modifications to take it back to its original plan from the 1830s. It was a comprehensive project that took many years to do.”
The restoration, funded by a local use tax, was finished in 2018.
The home is nestled on 475 acres in the valley, just two miles from the historic Daniel Boone Home. The park has six miles of natural hiking and biking trails.