Historic places face threats every day. Those threats vastly exceed Historic Kansas City’s resources, which is why Historic Kansas City works with historic neighborhoods who take the lead and seek our help to preserve the history and character that is important to them. Saving a historic structure takes months to build a coalition, work with city planning and gain the support of councilmembers.

 

HISTORIC DESIGNATION NOMINATION

A local historic district application was filed by the OLD HYDE PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT for the CARMEN BUILDING located at 101 W. Linwood Blvd. The application triggers a temporary hold on demolition.

CH-PRES-2024-00001 designation application will be heard by the Historic Preservation Commission FRIDAY, MARCH 22, at 9 am at City Hall. The Historic Preservation Commission hearing will be held on the 10th Floor of City Hall and remotely by video conference. Citizens wishing to participate virtually should do so through the video conference platform Zoom, using the link provided by the Historic Preservation Commission.

This is the first of a three-part public hearing process. Only if the Historic Preservation Commission affirms the application by 5 votes will the case advance to the City Plan Commission.  View application at CompassKC HERE. See the background information below.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Support the historic designation of 101 W. Linwood Blvd by submitting a letter or email of support by no later than 5 P.M. THURSDAY, MARCH 14TH to kchp@kcmo.org.

See the template below for your use.

CH-PRES-2024-00001, the Carmen Building, 101 W. Linwood Blvd.

To Members of the Preservation Commission:

The [NAME OF GROUP] supports the timely listing of the Carmen Building, 101 W. Linwood Boulevard, on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.

The Carmen Building (also referred to as the Deaner Building or the Salvation Army Building), located at 101-113 W. Linwood in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri is eligible for listing to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places under Criterion A, for its significance in the labor movement. From 1927 to 1949, it served as the national headquarters for the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen. Kansas City was one of the top railroad hubs in the United States and employed many local residents. The Carmen worked with other emerging labor unions to fight for improved health, safety and working conditions for their members and helped to pass the Railroad Retirement Act of 1937 while housed here. Before and after the Carmen owned the building, it played other important roles in Kansas City history. Opened in 1924 as the Deaner Institute, the building became an early national center for dental research and instruction. In 1949, it became a major diagnostic clinic originally funded by philanthropist William Volker. The building later became the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Kansas City. 101 W. Linwood has been adapted to a wide variety of important cultural roles in the community.

Today, the Carmen Building contributes to our understanding of the role Kansas City railroads and their workers played in the history of Kansas City. It also signifies several important movements in health care history when it became a center for research.

The [NAME OF GROUP] recommends that the Commission vote to APPROVE CH-PRES-2024-00001, the Carmen Building, 101 W. Linwood Boulevard for listing on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
[NAME OF ORGANIZATION]

 

HISTORIC KANSAS CITY STATEMENT

Historic Kansas City has learned that the CARMEN BUILDING [formerly Salvation Army], at 101 W. Linwood Blvd, was threatened with demolition. A pre-demolition inspection permit was issued on December 11, 2023 to Industrial Salvage & Wrecking Co., Inc., utility kill permits have been issued in the last month, and fencing is placed around building.

This threat of demolition, coupled with little chance for the community to respond, heightens our belief that Kansas City needs a demolition review ordinance to keep this type of situation from occurring over and over again.

Formerly the Deaner Dental Institute, it opened in 1923. The Architect is Arthur Frederick Adams and Collins Brothers Construction Company served as Contractor. In 1927, it became the national headquarters of the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen. They worked for shorter working hours, higher pay and a retirement system.  During this time, it was called the Carmen Building. The Carmen moved in 1949 and the building became a diagnostic research clinic initially funded by William Volker, who hoped it would become the Mayo Clinic of Kansas City. During this period it was called the Research Clinic or Midwest Clinic. It later became the home of Burns & McDonnell. The Salvation Army moved out in approximately 2021. This historic resource tells a unique and important story, defines the development history of the community, and provides tangible reminders of the past that create a unique sense of place.

This building was recently listed for sale. The owner per Kansas City records is Kansas 101 Linwood LLC 10951 Lake View Avenue, Lenexa, Kansas 66219. That address goes to MISH Hospital and Clinics.

Historic Kansas City has been in contact with the OLD HYDE PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT NEIGHBORHOOD, as well as members of the Main Street Forum of Street Car Neighborhoods.  The developer has not met with the neighborhood to discuss the demolition or any plans for redevelopment on the site. At this point, scant information is available.

“In addition to individual properties, Historic Kansas City works with historic neighborhoods to help them preserve the history and character that is important to them. We believe the residents of the Old Hyde Park Historic District Neighborhood deserve to have input into such an important decision affecting their neighborhood and that demolition should not move forward until they have been given a chance to meet with the developer and understand plans,” said Lisa Briscoe, Executive Director, Historic Kansas City.

“Historic District” is in our name, and preservation is our mission. Historic buildings provide value to the neighborhood and future redevelopment. We also know that building reuse is ecological and preserves resources. It would be irresponsible to tear down the Carmen building until we know that it is absolutely beyond repair, and until a development plan for the site has been determined and approved,” said Nadja Karpilow, President, Old Hyde Park Historic District Neighborhood.

You Wouldn’t Throw Away A Can. Why Throw Away An Entire Building?

Adaptive reuse is a great opportunity to save and honor the heritage of a city and the history within. Adaptive reuse projects retain unique and authentic characteristics that cannot be manufactured in new construction. Successful implementation of adaptive reuse development, blends together modern technology with historic structures, creating an atmosphere and sense of place that is impossible to imitate.

Reuse projects can save between 50-75% of embodied carbon emissions compared to new builds, but reuse is often overlooked in favor of demolition and new construction. The most sustainable buildings are the ones that already exist. [Source: savingplaces.org/climate-and-culture]

Main Street Corridor land assemblage and speculative development.

Land assemblage and speculative development is underway, with various developers purchasing large swaths of commercial blocks on Main Street. As the corridor continues to be developed there will be more pressure on the remaining historic buildings to be demolished to make way for large-scale development projects. Developers have now snapped up strategic corners at four of the six streetcar stops between downtown and the Country Club Plaza: 31st, 39th, 45th streets and Armour Blvd.

The Carmen building is part of the Main Street Corridor, listed on Historic Kansas City’s “Most Endangered Places List” since 2019.  Although the Main Street Corridor is under the jurisdiction of the Main Street Special Character Overlay District, that status does not include demolition review.  Kansas City ordinances do not currently allow pre-demolition review for most historic structures.

The Main Street corridor has lost many historic buildings and many that are left are threatened. The City has no ordinance protection for any significant and meaningful review of snap demolitions of most historic buildings. This building is not protected by listing on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.

Is any historic building in this city safe when destruction so readily occurs?  The historic and scenic assets of the city must be protected and warrant better.

Kansas City ordinances do not currently allow pre-demolition review for most historic structures. Snap demolitions proceed with little more than an application filed with the City and a quick counter review. How can an historic building be demolished without any warning or a meaningful review?

With the recent threats to historic resources at 31st and Main and 4516 Warwick Blvd., several members of the City Council have verbalized support of a “Demolition Review Ordinance.” The recently adopted City Comprehensive Plan the KC Playbook – Historic Preservation Plan – Action 9 – Strengthen and streamline the historic preservation ordinance, calls to “Create a demolition delay review as part of historic preservation ordinance and a deconstruction requirement.”

Under the City’s current demolition ordinance, securing a demolition is little more than a ministerial application including no review of a structure’s historic or architectural significance unless listed in the KC Register of Historic Places. Local historic overlay districts are currently the only method of requiring a review process for demolition permits. Currently, overlay districts have not been utilized to delay demolition of buildings, although development standards may reduce the financial incentive to demolish and redevelop a site.

Many other cities that are smaller, larger, and of a similar caliber to Kansas City utilize these measures to make sure their heritage is not lost to quick demolition efforts. Many demolitions in Kansas City go unnoticed until the situation is often too late for preservation. Kansas City as a whole could benefit from adopting a demolition delay ordinance. By allowing a specific amount of time for preservationists, neighborhoods, rehabilitation specialists, structural engineers, architects, developers, and other people in the field to work together to determine the fate of a proposed structure, everyone could avoid situations of disagreement and another structural loss.

Think of the Demolition Review as “a safety net” for historic resources to ensure that buildings worthy of preservation are not inadvertently demolished. The process may not always prevent a demolition but it does allow for a review for a specific period of time. We want the burden of proof to be placed on those proposing demolition. They should have to demonstrate via a Demolition Review Ordinance, why demolition is better for the city.

Contact your 4th District Council Persons and the Mayor and demand that Kansas City initiate a process to adopt a “demolition review” ordinance.

SEE PRESS STATEMENT HERE.

 

CARMEN BUILDING HISTORY

A four-story building at 101-107 W. Linwood has been getting a lot of interest recently, as it recently appeared the initial steps to demolish the building might have been underway. It’s called the Deaner Building for its first owner or the Salvation Army Building after its most recent use. But it has also had other distinct identities and housed other types of enterprises, including Kansas City’s answer to the Mayo Clinic and the hub of railroad worker organizing in the 1930s.  Like many older Midtown buildings, 101 W. Linwood has been adapted to fit the needs of vastly different occupants over the years, transformed over and over into a structure that meet a need for its time.

Built as the Deaner Institute.

The story begins in the 1920s with a wealthy capitalist named J.J. Deaner, who made a fortune in oil. Before he struck it rich, however, Deaner was a dentist. In the early 1920s, he wanted to create what he thought of as the Mayo Clinic of Dentistry. He bought a grand old mansion on Broadway at Armour Boulevard and opened the doors of the Deaner Institute in 1921. But just a year later, Kansas City Life Insurance Company desired the site for a new location, and Deaner needed to move. He bought the Richard Keith property at 105 Hunter (an earlier name for Linwood) and razed it. Deaner engaged architect Arthur Fredrick Adams to build a new Deaner Institute on the site. Collins Brothers Construction Company served as the contractor. The new location formally opened in 1924. Deaner set out to attract the most eminent experts in the country to try to understand, for example, the relationship between dental infections and internal disease and where dentists could get post-graduate instruction.

Know in 1930s and 1940s as the Carmen’s Building

By 1927, the Institute was struggling and donated laboratory equipment and other research materials to the University of Kansas Medical School. The building then became known as the Carmen Building, not for a person named Carmen but for railroad men who repaired railroad cars. Old census records in Kansas City are packed with references to men who worked for the railroads, one of the most prolific occupations in the early 20th century.  As railroad workers began organizing in the late 1800s, conductors and engineers formed unions, as did railroad fireman. Finally in 1888, the Brotherhood of Railway Carmen formed to represent the workers who inspected and repaired train cars.

The union turned the old Deaner Building into the Carmen’s Building in 1927. With the help of architect J.C. Sunderland, they converted the building into what the Kansas City Star called a “high class shop and office building.” They added an ornamental entrance, and the national staff of the union occupied the fourth floor, transforming the   building into a center for national and local union activity.  The Kansas City chapter of the Women’ Trade Union League, for example, was housed in the building when it released a report for its national headquarters calling for a minimum wage and a 30-hour work week. The Carmen also leased space to other organizations, including the Missouri Valley Historical Society, which housed its collection there around in 1928. Engineering firm Burns & McDonnell leased space in the building in 1933, and in 1941 expanded to take over the entire third floor.

Name Changes to Research Clinic from 1940s through 1960s

The Carmen moved to Main Street just north of Fiftieth in 1948. The building then began a new period when it was known as the Research Clinic or the Research Medical Clinic. Originally known as the Volker Clinic, Kansas City philanthropist William Volker had intended the enterprise to be  “a place where patients of modest means could obtain a complete diagnostic examination at a price they could afford to pay.”  He also hoped people in Kansas City could go there for world-class medical diagnosis. For the second time, activity in the building was described as aspiring to be like the Mayo Clinic. In fact, the first medical director of the Research Clinic was hired from that institution.

The Salvation Army Moves in

The next organization to give its name to the building was the Salvation Army, which remodeled the building and moved its headquarters there in 1967. In addition to serving meals, the building in 1981 became a 24-hour shelter to house abused or neglected children. Although the Salvation Army has since moved its headquarters to 3637 Broadway, many people still refer to the structure as the Salvation Army Building.

Sources
  1. Photo courtesy Mary Jo Draper.
  2. Courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections.
  3. Sanborn Map 1909 revised to 1951, Courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections.

 

HISTORIC DESIGNATION BACKGROUND

The property is NOT LISTED on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places; therefore NO PROTECTION is afforded to it.

Kansas City ordinances do not currently allow pre-demolition review for most historic structures. Snap demolitions proceed with little more than an application filed with the City and a quick counter review. How can an historic building be demolished without any warning or a meaningful review? We believe the residents of this city deserve to have input into such an important decision affecting their neighborhood and the broader community and that demolition should not move forward until they have been given a chance to meet with the developer and understand their plans. Is any historic building in this city safe when destruction so readily occurs? The historic and cultural assets of the city must be protected and warrant better.

TRIGGERS TEMPORARY HOLD ON DEMOLITION 

Once an application has been filed, no building permit for alteration, construction, demolition, or removal of a property being considered for designation under an application for an HO district may be issued until the historic preservation commission has dismissed or denied the application for designation, or until the city council has denied designation in accordance with the procedures established in 88-580-01-C. and 88-580- 01-E., though no stay on the issuance of a permit may be for more than six months from the filing of the application. Some exemptions can apply.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION CRITERION

  1. The historic preservation commission must hold at least one public hearing on the designation of historic districts. Following the close of the hearing, the historic preservation commission must act to recommend that the proposed designation be approved, approved with modifications, continued for further deliberation, forwarded to the city plan commission with no recommendation, or denied. Five affirmative votes are required to recommend approval or approval with modifications. A majority of those present is required to continue for further deliberation, forward to the city plan commission with no recommendation, or deny the application.

  2. The historic preservation commission may grant a rehearing if the rehearing request includes new evidence to be presented that was not available at the time of the original hearing. The request for a rehearing must be made within 30 days of the date of the historic preservation commission’s original action. No more than one rehearing is permitted.

  3. The findings of the historic preservation commission, must be forwarded to the city plan commission and city council for review.

  4. In reviewing and making decisions on proposed historic landmark and historic district designations, the historic preservation commission must consider at least the following factors: a.  the criteria used in determining eligibility for listing on the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places, including the historic, cultural, aesthetic, or architectural significance of the building, structure, site, object, or district; and b.  conformance with the city’s adopted plans and planning policies; c.  the economic impact of the designation on the subject property and the surrounding area.