Thatcher School Memorial

Thatcher School Memorial

Location: Independence Ave & Quincy Ave Kansas City, MO

Stakeholders: Indian Mound Neighborhood Association, Historic Kansas City

After years of debate and numerous public hearings concerning the fate of Thacher School, the Kansas City School Board decided at its February 2015 meeting to move forward with the demolition of the 115 year old building against the wishes of the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association and several surrounding Historic Northeast stakeholders. Built in 1900 and designed by school architect Charles A. Smith, Thacher School is an important historic structure and was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since this decision—having exhausted all reasonable means of appeal—representatives of the neighborhood and Historic Kansas City (HKC) have been working together to find uses for building materials and to devise a plan for an appropriate memorial to serve as a physical reminder for the many neighborhood residents who passed through its doors. HKC board member Michael Jantsch of Jantsch Architects has designed a memorial, the central design concept of which is the preservation of the front entry arches of Thacher School in their original place. In addition, several other proposals have been presented to school district staff displaying ways that historic brick, stone, and aged materials could be reused as sustainable construction projects, enhancing the community and honoring the falling Thacher building. These plans focus on incorporating characteristic architectural elements of the school, such as the tan brick and roof tiles.
The reuse plan has been presented to the School Repurposing Office in response to a commitment school board members made for a minimum $25,000 investment to establish a memorial to Thacher and to make materials available to the community for additional projects. In the hopes that the School District will work collaboratively to make this important community asset a reality, the neighborhood and community partners have drafted several concept drawings. We hope that the School Board will support these alternative plans which are feasible, reasonable, and in the best interest of the neighborhood.