The Historic Kansas City Foundation (HKCF) was founded in 1974 as an organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Kansas City’s historic buildings and early neighborhoods. The organization maintains a professional staff and is guided by a Board of Directors. Early founding members patterned the organization on the highly successful Historic Savannah Foundation. One instrumental leader in the development and success of the organization was Jane Fifield Flynn, a fierce preservation advocate who became the first administrator of the Landmarks Commission and served on the board for many years, eventually as President. She described herself as a street fighting preservationist, and at one point changed her business card job title from “historian” to “troublemaker”.
As Kansas City saw a many demolitions in the 1970s and 1980s, the early goal of the Historic Kansas City Foundation was to demonstrate the economic value of preservation and to provide the encouragement and stimulus necessary for the maintenance and conservation of these resources. At one point HKCF operated a revolving loan fund and ran a façade easement program. Education was also a central goal, and the Speakers Bureau, Walking Tours and Heritage Hikes programs have remained over the years.
Today, Historic Kansas City (HKC) is an advocate for and proponent of preservation, taking on planning and public policy issues and actively engaging and educating the public. Certain topics that have our special attention are Modernism and design from the recent past, the preservation of everyday places that contribute to community identity, and the partnership of preservation and sustainability. As the landscape and future of preservation continues to evolve, HKC is a consistent and active player, always thinking critically about preservation and its place in the future. And, in the spirit of Jane Flynn, a little bit of troublemaking.