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.

JOHN O’BRIEN

Owner, Hammer Out Design

John O’Brien is the owner of Hammer Out Design in Independence, and formerly the owner of the Dolphin Gallery in the West Bottoms. He originally opened the Dolphin Gallery on 39th Street, then moved the business to 20th and Baltimore. He helped brand the Crossroads name and helped establish First Fridays. John was a major player in the renaissance of the West Bottoms through his involvement in the rehabilitation of the former R Bar, Amigoni Winery and the Bill Brady Gallery. John believes strongly that the creative class is crucial in building an interesting city.

 

Q:  What is the best thing to happen to Kansas City recently?

 

A: Young individuals are dreaming – we are in a renaissance of ideas and attitudes. We should support and listen to the new pathways being formed.

ALEX POPE

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.

PATRICK RYAN

Chef/Owner Port Fonda

Patrick Ryan is the Chef and Owner of the Port Fonda food truck and restaurant. He was nominated in 2013 for Food and Wine Magazine’s People’s Best New Chef Award. After having worked in restaurants across the country, he created much local buzz and pioneered the food truck movement in Kansas City with the opening of his Port Fonda food truck. He later opened Port Fonda restaurant in the historic Westport neighborhood and continues to support the urban core and historic neighborhoods through his personal and business endeavors.

Q: What is the best thing to happen to Kansas City recently?

A: It’s the Wild West again. I see people living out their dreams here in KC; they’re doing things that 10 years ago they’d have to leave this city and try somewhere else.

THEODORE SELIGSON, FAIA

Architect, Professor of Architecture at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Theodore “Ted” Seligson has committed his career to advancing architectural practice, education, and preservation. After earning his degree from Washington University, Seligson joined Kivett& Myers Architects in Kansas City. During his tenure, he became head of design and was responsible for some of the firm’s signature modern designs. In 1962, Seligson established his own practice in which he worked for more than 40 years, receiving more than 25 local and national honors. He has also been instrumental in the preservation movement, both in Kansas City and nationwide. Ted worked with Congressman Richard Boling to save and restore the west front of the United States Capital building. He was also instrumental in establishing the Landmarks Commission of Kansas City. Ted was elected to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows in 1979. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Award by AIA Kansas City, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Historic Kansas City Foundation.

Q: What buildings have you preserved in Kansas City?

A: I was instrumental in preserving Union Station, New York Life Building, The Scarritt Building and Arcade, and more!

BRADY VEST

Founder, Hammerpress

Hammerpress is a letterpress print shop and design studio located in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City. Owner Brady Vest established Hammerpress in 1994 after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute. At the time, the shop consisted of one old press and a cabinet of type. Hammerpress quickly earned recognition by creating distinctive record covers and show posters for independent bands and printing letterpress jobs for local design firms. Now one of the most widely known letterpress studios in the United States, Hammerpress has garnered much attention for their distinct approach to typography and design. Brady lives with his wife Lindsay in the Westside neighborhood. Lindsay also has a thriving business called Little Freshie, a soda fountain and espresso bar in the Westside on 17th Street. Both of their innovative businesses are in vintage spaces that have been meticulously renovated.

LYNDON WADE

Director/Photographer, Owner of the Guild

Lyndon Wade is part of the photography and directorial duo called The Wade Brothers, the owners of the Guild KC and a video production company called RW2 studios. The Wade Brothers have been named to Luerzer’s Archive top 100 photographers in the world 3 years in a row and Eisner Museum’s top 15 photographers in the USA. Their work appears in galleries around the world. Lyndon and Lindsey both love Kansas City and have chosen to make KC their home. Their family has been buying buildings in the Crossroads since 1999 out of necessity—they needed a large amount of space for their work and went into areas needing revitalization for affordability. They are passionate about supporting local living and the arts.

 

Q: What surprises you about Kansas City now versus Kansas City 10 years ago?

 

A: The Kansas City Pride – I never thought we would be as united as we are today.

LINDSEY WADE

Director/Photographer, Owner of the Guild

David Lindsey Wade is part of the photography and directorial duo called The Wade Brothers, the owners of the Guild KC and a video production company called RW2 studios. The Wade Brothers have been named to Luerzer’s Archive top 100 photographers in the world 3 years in a row and Eisner Museum’s top 15 photographers in the USA. Their work appears in galleries around the world. Lyndon and Lindsey both love Kansas City and have chosen to make KC their home. Their family has been buying buildings in the Crossroads since 1999 out of necessity—they needed a large amount of space for their work and went into areas needing revitalization for affordability. They are passionate about supporting local living and the arts.