Historic Kansas City.
I’m a Preservationist
Kansas City boasts some of the country’s most amazing architectural structures. Yet each year, 300 buildings are torn down. History crumbles as each brick falls. With the support of Preservationists across Kansas City, we can work together to protect our city’s built heritage and stop the ongoing demolition of historic resources in our community.
The term Preservationist is not specific to professionals who are preserving architecturally significant buildings. Preservationists are those who care about sustainability, economic development, urban revitalization and community vitality. They are business owners, neighborhood activists, environmentalists, history buffs and urban dwellers. Historic Kansas City is honored to tell the stories of our featured Preservationists. Join us, and let us tell yours.
Owner - Havana Room
Reviving the creative spirit of Hemingway in the Crossroads. She has revitalized a building in the Crossroads Arts District where the legendary author Ernest Hemingway used to ply his trade. They renamed the structure the Hemingway Building because the writer spent a lot of time there when he was a reporter for The Kansas City Star. The building had been vacant for years and the partners wanted to keep as much of the building as it is while modernizing where necessary.
It is unfortunate Kansas City doesn’t have the reputation anymore as a garment industry leader. But Lisa is trying to bring that tradition back to Kansas City. Kansas City was once the Garment District for the country. For much of the 20th century, the clothes that Middle America wore came from Kansas City factories. The mechanization and confluence of trends brought on the decline of the Kansas City industry and by the 1980s, most of Kansas City’s once bustling clothing industry had faded away. Through Choules of Eleve Dancewear she has had great success reviving the garment manufacturing here locally.
Jennifer Lapka Pfieffer
Bringing the tradition of the historic Garment District back to Kansas City. It is unfortunate Kansas City doesn’t have the reputation anymore as a garment industry leader. In the 1930s, scores of shops made up Kansas City’s then-thriving Garment District. Kansas City was the Garment District for the country. For much of the 20th century, the clothes that Middle America wore came from Kansas City factories. Jennifer is trying to bring that tradition back to Kansas City through her business Rightfully Sewn.
Chris, Kate & Matt Matsch
Ibis Bakery & Messenger Coffee
Discovering a favorite new hangout in the bones of an old building. The Matsch’s are among the new young innovators of the bread baking industry, helping lead a distinct shift from the traditional role of a retail storefront into a broader role in which the local bakery serves as an integral, working component of a local farm community. Messenger Coffee and its sister company, Ibis Bakery, bought the historic building in 2014.
Owner - EPOCH Development
Craig Slawson is committed to investing in Kansas City’s historic built environment. He’s going in big, buying ten historic buildings on the west side of a three-block stretch of Delaware Street between Third Street and Independence Avenue, and nearby property along Wyandotte as well.
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
Dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball. Kendrick said it’s essential people reflect on the country’s history from a perspective seldom seen. The NLBM is the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.
Owner - J. Rieger & Co.
Reviving a family brand and giving new life to the East Bottoms. Andy Rieger is a direct descendant of Jacob Rieger, originator of J. Rieger & Co. – the largest mail-order whiskey house in the United States prior to the onset of federal Prohibition in 1920. In 2014, Andy revived the J. Rieger distilling business, “relocating” the original West Bottoms distillery to the former Heim Brothers Bottling Plant.