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2013 Most Endangered
Project Location: Kansas City, MO
Project Stakeholders: HIstoric Kansas City, Citizens of Kansas City
Each year Historic Kansas City publishes a Most Endangered list to raise awareness and advocate for saving our city’s historic buildings and resources.
1. Victor Beutner House, 1311 Manheim Rd, KCMO
This early modernist concrete house in the Squire Park neighborhood–built by owner Victor Beutner and some believe to be designed by Louis Curtiss–has fallen into severe disrepair over the past several years and is currently on the City’s dangerous building list for demolition. Preliminary estimates for rehabilitation are significant. City staff and local advocates are trying to find a receiver to rehab the property, but to date none have come forward.
2. Poage-Arnold Farm; Three Gables—9550 NE Cookingham Drive, KCMO
In 1976 this house was designated one of Clay County’s 76 most significant historic sites, although this honor comes with no protection. This is one of the oldest houses in Kansas City and is associated with the prominent Clay County settler families of Poage and Arnold. It is believed that the first 2 rooms of the house were built in 1824 by the Paoge family. In 1851 the property was sold to Thomas and Martha Arnold, who constructed the Gothic Revival portion of the house. The adjoining cemetery is the oldest in Kansas City. The house was recently sold at foreclosure to a California real estate company, who recently put the house on the market. The house is in need of repairs and an owner that would be sensitive to the historic significance of the house.
3. St. John the Divine, Kansas City, KS
Originally built in 1887 but remodeled in 1909, this brick church is an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style. The building was sold to the Catholic diocese in 1937 and became a cultural anchor in the historically Mexican-American neighborhood of Argentine. Unfortunately, with diminishing attendance the building has been vacant since 1992 and has since suffered neglect. The building was determined eligible for listing in the National Register in 2011 and if listed, would become eligible for rehabilitation tax credits. Though threatened with demolition by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County, the current owner, the St. John the Divine Community Art and Education Center, is working to develop a plan for stabilization and rehabilitation of the building. The group has recently engaged the Section 106 review process and is pursuing other options to get the demo order lifted.
4. Midwest Hotel, 20th and Main, KCMO
This 5-story terra-cotta clad hotel built in 1915 was sold at foreclosure auction in January 2013. The building has recently drawn interest from local developers, though concerns about the layout and deterioration may make reuse more challenging. Demolition for new construction is likely. The building is on the National Register as part of Working Class and Mid-Priced Hotel District, which also includes the Rieger Hotel and Hotel Monroe. The building is eligible for Historic Tax Credits.
5. Lane Blueprint Building, 1520 Main, KCMO
This brick and limestone commercial building is one of the oldest in the Crossroads, built in 1889. The developer of the site, Sporting Innovations (an offshoot of Sporting KC), intends to build an office for a new sports-oriented software development company.
The development plan—which spans a number of lots—calls for the rehabilitation of the Hanna Rubber building, built in 1905. The Lane building was initially slated for demolition due to structural concerns and to provide parking. However, after hearing opposition from the Crossroads Community Association, the developer has agreed to re-evaluate the structural assessment now that additional parking is not needed. The future of the Lane building is uncertain as no commitments have been made by Sporting Innovations.
6. Knickerbocker Apartments, 501-531 Knickerbocker Place, KCMO
This apartment building designed by Leon Grant Middaugh was built in 1909 in the Century Revival style. The building is significant for its architecture and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The building has lost some of its original components over the years, including some porches, and is currently vacant due to a stalled rehabilitation effort. It is on the dangerous building list and its future is uncertain.
7. The Country Club Plaza and Country Club District, KCMO
The Country Club Plaza is nationally and locally significant although it is not listed on the National Register or Kansas City Register. Built in the early 1920s, this early example of an automobile-based, suburban shopping district has grown to become an important economic center in Kansas City, MO. The Country Club Plaza and surrounding residential neighborhoods are at risk of losing historic integrity as original structures are altered or demolished and new incompatible development is built.
8. Hawthorn Plaza Apartments—3835 Main, KCMO
The Hawthorn Plaza Apartments (also known as the Netherland Hotel and The Tacoma) was designed by Robert F. Gornall in the 1920s. The building is listed on the Kansas City Register and the National Register of Historic Places. The building is also part of the 39th and Main Historic District. The apartment building is currently on the dangerous building list and is vacant, as rehabilitation efforts have stalled due to lack of financing.
9. Disney Building (Laugh-o-Gram), 1127 E 31st Street, KCMO
This brick building at 31st and Troost played an important role in the early years of animation as it was home to many of the pioneers in the field brought there by Walt Disney. It is also said to be the place where Disney was inspired to create Mickey Mouse. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2009 the exterior of the building was stabilized, boarded up and the roof was replaced. The building continues to sit vacant, although the roof replacement was recently paid off and masonry on the south side has been stabilized.
The LLC that owns the building is raising funds to continue work on the building and are working with the Green Building Council to make it the most energy efficient building in the area. They intend to keep the building in not-for-profit hands and will continue to fundraise to rehab the building. For more information: http://www.thankyouwaltdisney.
10. Wheatley Provident Hospital – 1822-1826 Forest, KCMO
The Wheatley Provident Hospital is the only remaining hospital building in Kansas City, MO that was established and run by and for the African-American community during the era of racial segregation in the 20th Century. The facility was founded by Dr. J. Edward Perry and run as a hospital and training school for nurses until 1972.
The building has an infamous association with the city’s jazz history surrounding the death of jazz musician and band leader Bennie Moten who died as the result of a tonsillectomy. The hospital structure consists of two wings. The original structure was built in 1902 as the St. Joseph’s Parochial School. A second, north wing was added in 1925 that was designed by the architecture firm of Hoit, Price and Barnes. The building is currently vacant and deteriorating.
2013 Watch List
- Kemper Arena
- KCI Airport
- Film Row, Crossroads Arts District
- Thatcher School, 5008 Independence Ave, KCMO
- Williams House, 1116 NE Barry Rd, KCMO
- Kemper House, 5700 Oakwood, Mission Hills, KS
- St. Francis Xavier School, 52nd and Troost, KCMO
- Royal Hotel, Downtown Excelsior Springs, MO
- Epperson House, 5200 Cherry St., KCMO
- Colonnade Apartments, KCMO
- Marcel Breuer’s Snower House, 6700 Belinder Ave, Mission Hills, KS
- Savoy Hotel and Grill, 219 W 9th, KCMO
- Acme Cleaning Company Building, Linwood and Gillham, KCMO
- Luzier Cosmetics, 3225 E. Gillham Plaza, KCMO
- Ambassador Apartments, 3560 Broadway, KCMO
- Satchel Paige Residence, 2626 E. 28th Street, KCMO (Santa Fe Historic District) and Buck O’Neil Residence, 3049 E. 32nd St., KCMO
- Santa Fe Historic District
- 18th and Vine Historic District