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, The Local Pig
Alex Pope is the owner and operator of the the Local Pig in the East Bottoms and the Chef at Local Pig – Westport. He moved to Kansas City in 2005 from northern Wisconsin. The building in which the Local Pig operates is an old saloon dating from the late 1800’s. When scouting spots for his business, Alex he knew he wanted a building that would give legitimacy to the operation by the age and the authenticity of the space. Pope has been an instrumental catalyst in the renaissance of the East Bottoms, now with three local businesses occupying his building, an active dining patio, and the future rehabilitation of the Heim Bottle Shop across the street.
Q: What does preservation mean to you?
A: Save the things that are interesting. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s worth saving. Work on the things that make your community interesting.
Deputy Director, Kansas City Public Library
Originally from Kenya and with a background in information technology, Cheptoo is the Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library. In this role she works to bring all of the library’s collections to the public, and in particular has been working on several innovative programs in local and public history. The library’s website Civil War on the Western Border, which engages Civil War buffs, scholars, students, and local residents in research and discussion on the Missouri-Kansas Border War, won several awards in public history. Also, in 2014 the American Library Association named the Kansas City Public Library winner of the 2014 Excellence in Library Programming Award for the original exhibit Greetings from Kansas City: Postcard Views of a Midwestern Metropolis, 1900-1950. Cheptoo is a board member of the Missouri Library Alliance, the Black Archives of Mid-America and the Kansas City Public School Retirement System.
Adam Jones, graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, is an innovator and urban pioneer who has been a major catalyst the renaissance of several Kansas City neighborhoods, including the Westside and West Bottoms. He is on the board of the Westside Housing Organization. Some of his projects include the Hobbs Building, the Carnival Building, 1221 Union Ave (Foundation Architectural Reclamation), the Hotel Fredrick in Booneville, MO and many more.
Director, Marr Sound Archives
Chuck Haddix is the Director of the Marr Sound Archives, Producer and Host of the Fish Fry on KCUR, and author of the book Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop and Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker. As director of the Marr Sound Archives, Haddix is responsible for the preservation of over 350,000 historic sound recordings including commercial sound recordings, LPs, radio transcription discs and unique, one-of-a-kind audio collections. Chuck is preserving recorded music for the next generation and preserving an important element of our cultural heritage.
Q: Why do you think preservation is important?
A: I think it’s important to preserve our cultural heritage for future generation. If we don’t pass it along, then is will be lost.
Chef/Owner, Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange
Howard Hanna is the Chef/Owner of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in the Crossroads and Ca Va in historic Westport. Hanna is a 2003 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in New York City, and opened his first restaurant in the 99-year-old former headquarters of the J. Rieger& Company Whiskey Distributorship at 1924 Main. In the spirit of a true preservationist, Hanna kept the name as well as many of the original bathroom fixtures and tile flooring. Since moving to Kansas City, he has lived in five buildings, four of which are over 100 years old.
Q: What drew you to your building in the first place?
A: At the Reiger, the location and physical space influenced every decision we made about developing our brand. The tile floor, the name, the brick, the bathroom fixtures, and the mural outside are all things that we consciously and deliberately incorporated into our image and identity. The building is gorgeous and gives our restaurant a soul that couldn’t exist in a newer space.
President C and G Construction
Ryan Gale founded C and G Construction on a commitment to sustainable, green construction practices. Gale and his company have renovated commercial, residential and civic structures in the Crossroads Arts District and his own Westside neighborhood. Preservation and rehabilitation projects include Birdies Panties, Peruvian Connection, Society for Contemporary Photography and The Lueck Loft.
Designer, Dale Frommelt Furniture Design
Dale is originally from Dubuque Iowa and moved to Kansas City to attend the Kansas City Art Institute. He is the owner of Dale Frommelt Furniture Design in the Crossroads Arts District and has an interest in restoring vintage motorcycles. He chose Kansas City as a place for this business, and specifically the Crossroads, for his love of architecture, buildings, and history, and the fact the Crossroads was an anchor for artists and creative businesses.
Q: What is your favorite building in Kansas City?
A: Union Station. It’s a structure that has touched everyone in the city. And it’s beautiful.