The Making of the Civil War Ranch

  Bruce and Chris Westwood purchased the ranch at 11838 Civil War Ave., Carthage, MO, in the fall of 2012. (Text continued below.)

    Chris fell in love with the ranch on sight, especially the main barn, which is at least 100 years old.  She had a vision that this amazing old barn, which had housed animals for virtually its entire life, could become a beautiful country venue for weddings and other events.  

   The transformation of the property into the Civil War Ranch, a wedding and events facility, began in earnest in the spring of 2013. 


Here are some before and after photos of the Ranch

(Before photo on the left or is the first of the two photos, and the after photo is on the right or the second of the two photos):


Front of Wedding Barn/ Events Center (looking south and southeast)


Barn Courtyard (looking east)


Pole Barn on north side of Courtyard (looking north and northeast). 


Courtyard Wedding Tree on west end of Courtyard (looking north, left, and looking west). 


Wedding Pathway between Corn Crib and Wedding Barn (looking north, left, and looking south, right.


First floor of Wedding Barn/Events Center (looking southeast in both photos)


Second Floor of Wedding Barn/Events Center (looking south toward Ranch Pond)


South side of the Wedding Barn/Events Center (looking northeast)


North edge of Ranch Pond just south of the Wedding Barn/Events Center


Additions to the Ranch Complex:

Rose Arbor and Flower Beds on east end of Courtyard; Dock on the north end of the Ranch Pond.

The first event was the Maggard Renewal of Wedding Vows Reception on July 20, 2013.  The Civil War Ranch's Official Grand Opening was on Sept. 28th of that year.

Civil War Ranch offers a variety of facilities and venues to accomodate events of all sizes - and all at reasonable rates!

Civil War Ranch Featured on TV

Bruce and Chris Westwood were interviewed on TV Monday, July 22, 2014 on the KSN Noon News. Included were some great video and photos of the Civil War Ranch:

  Watch It Now!

News Article: Restored barn becomes events center

Read an article by Jo Ellis published Feb. 16, 2014, in the Joplin Globe (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) about Bruce and Chis Westwood and the development of the Civil War Ranch: 


Northwest of Carthage, in a barn well over 100 years old, couples are saying their wedding vows, church families are gathering and kids are having exciting birthday parties.

Bruce and Chris Westwood, who migrated in 2001 from Utah to Southwest Missouri, purchased the 73-acre Civil War Arena ranch property in 2012 and started restoration of the barn, converting it into a rustic events center. The two-story structure that Chris “fell in love with” originally held 16 horse stalls and a huge loft.

It had not been used to house animals in several decades. The barn apparently had been built to last because other than cleaning it out, the Westwoods only had to do a bit of patching, put in some windows and light fixtures, and add a new floor to the loft to make it usable as an event venue. The seating capacity is about 150.

On my visit last week, I was given a friendly and enthusiastic greeting by some cute baby goats and two young blond females of the canine variety — a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix.

Although the exact date of the original construction is unknown, the Westwoods found a clue in the loft. Several dated signatures ranging from 1894 to 1907 were found (and preserved) on a door leading to a small closetlike structure that housed a pulley. Chris said she is puzzled as to the use of the closet because the hole in the floor was not large enough to pull anything through. “I’ve never been able to find anyone that could tell me what it is,” she said.

The Westwoods also added an upper deck to the back of the barn that overlooks a large pond, well stocked with all kinds of fish. A portion of the barn interior was used for restrooms, and dressing rooms for brides and grooms. There are no cooking facilities, but there is a prep room with a refrigerator and sink for caterers to use.

The Westwoods’ niece, Lena Baron, and her family are current caretakers of the ranch, living in the 1930s house on the property. As my first tour guide, on our way to the barn, she led me past three huge gnarled trees that are easily over a century old. They were beautiful even in their leafless condition.

The one nearest the barn is dubbed the “Wedding Tree,” because it serves as a backdrop for outdoor ceremonies. Around it are the foundation remains of a scale that was used to weigh grains; several artifacts have been found near it.

“It’s so serene and beautiful here,” Baron said. “It’s been really neat to restore it.”

There are outbuildings that Chris said were built later than the barn, but on old stone foundations. A large corn crib next to the barn works as a storage area, and a lean-to on the crib will be used to house a “lending closet” for decorative materials customers might want to use for their events.

It’s a sort of a “pay it forward” philosophy. “They can use anything in there without charge,” Chris said. “We just ask them to leave something when they’re done.”

The ranch actually has two venues. Toward the back of the property is a huge building formerly known as the Civil War Arena where previous owners featured rodeo events, even including bull riding. It has tiered seating and an inside track for go-kart races that are held every other Saturday through April. Chris said competitors come “from all over,” and spectators are welcome.

Eventually, that venue may be turned back to some purpose that again features livestock, Chris said. The main goal now, she said, is to sell the home they currently live in so they can move into their house on the ranch.

Civil War Ranch is closed on Sundays, but the venues may be rented any other day of the week for small or large parties, and for full or half-days. It is a great location for seniors to take their graduation photos. Carriage rides and fireworks displays over the pond may be added for a fee. Rates are posted on the website

The first event was held on July 4 of last year. Since then, there have been dozens of weddings and family reunions. Chris is hoping that despite the severe winter, Mother Nature will bring refreshing rains and warm sun to encourage all the bulbs she has planted to bloom in time for the first wedding of the year, slated for next month.

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..