Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, Part 9: Government District and East

Many of the city, county, and federal buildings of Kansas City are east of Main Street and between 11th and 15th Street (Truman Road). This includes the Power & Light District, which is a bar and restaurant area near the T-Mobile Center, a sports arena and entertainment venue. East of the Government District are several other historic sites and parks that are included for convenience, such as The Paseo and a park at 12th and Vine.

East 12th Street, 13th Street, and 14th Street

Chambers Building, 25 East 12th Street at Walnut (N39o5’59” W94o34’57”), dates to 1915. The commercial style structural steel building is 12 stories, with Gothic Revival elements at the terminating story. The building is listed because of its association with Charles A. Smith, 1866-1948, an early Kansas City architect. This is considered his most accomplished design still remaining. It is now the Chambers lofts and includes a restaurant at the street level.

Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park, 12th and Walnut Streets, Kansas City (N39o6’1” W94o34’55”) is a Jackson County Park with the Star Disk (2008), a public art sculpture inspired by the ancient anaphoric clock. This can be positioned to line up with the current date. The disk shows the positions of stars overhead on that date. On the sidewalks surrounding the Star Disk are 15 life-sized flat bird sculptures representing native migratory birds that pass through Kansas City. These are the house wren, scissor-tailed flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, common goldeneye, peregrine falcon, common snipe, ruby-throated hummingbird, green heron, hooded merganser, barn swallow, northern mockingbird, belted kingfisher, eastern kingbird, whip-poor-will, and rock pigeon. The clock is surrounded with redbud, maple, and golden rain trees. A historic marker memorializes the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, established 1916. It was the forerunner of the National Restaurant Association which remained in Kansas City until 1927.

Argyle Building, 306 East 12th Street at McGee (N39o6’0” W94o34’46”) dates to 1906. It is a 10-story, U-shaped steel and reinforced concrete building with late Renaissance Revival style. The property type is described as Two-Part Vertical Block. Kansas City reinforced concrete buildings were among the earliest in the nation. This one was designed by architect Louis Curtis (1865-1924), who also designed the Standard Theatre (300 West 12th Street) and Boley Building (1130 Walnut Street). At this period in Kansas City history, the building was used as a medical office building and was exclusively leased to them at its beginning. At the time it opened, it was one of the largest office buildings downtown. The Katz Drug Company was founded based on a street-level store in this building. It went expanded to a chain of 47 stores in 5 states.

Prospect Plaza Park (N39⁰5’59” W94⁰33’9”) is 7 acres bordered by 11th Street, 12th Street, Olive Street, and Prospect Street. There is a playground, basketball court, and soccer field.

Sheffield Park (N39⁰5’55” W94⁰30’6”) is 11 acres on East 12th Street between Ewing Avenue and Winchester Avenue. It extends north to 10th Street. The park is on a hill overlooking the Blue River bottoms. There is a playground, picnic shelter, baseball field, basketball court, and soccer field.

Elmwood Cemetery (N39o5’47” W94o31’32”) is a 43-acre site at 4900 East Truman Road, dating to 1872 and operated by the Elmwood Cemetery Society. The north boundary is 12th Street, the east boundary is Van Brunt Boulevard, and the south boundary is Truman Road. It is the second oldest cemetery in Kansas City, after Union Cemetery, and houses the graves of Kansas City’s prominent early citizens. Many built architecturally distinct markers and vaults. The cemetery was designed by George Kessler, the architect of Kansas City’s parks and boulevards system, as a “rural cemetery.” These were built in response to the growing awareness of public health issues in the 19th century, which resulted in a push to move burial grounds outside of the main city into a rural area. As a rural cemetery, it was landscaped to be an area of peaceful beauty, with a park-like setting. The first rural cemetery was Mount Auburn, Boston, built in 1832. A variety of trees native to Kansas City were present on site at construction and remain. The southwest corner of the cemetery had a Jewish section, which today includes 2,000 graves. Structures on site include the public vault and crematorium (1897), entrance gate and fence (1900), Kirkland B. Armour Chapel (1904), the cemetery office (1925), and the Waldo Vault (1892).

Inter-State Building, 417 East 13th Street at Locust (N39o5’54” W94o34’40”), dates to 1915. The six-story reinforced concrete building is considered a textbook example of Chicago style curtain-wall construction and has Sullivanesque ornamentation. When the building first opened, a tenant was the Interstate Commerce Commission, and it is believed that is how the building received its name. Over the years it had a large number of tenants. It is currently (2021) the Holiday Inn Express.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1307 Holmes Street (N39o5’53” W94o34’29”), dates to 1887, and is considered an excellent example of Late Gothic Revival style architecture. The altar decorations, which date to 1887, were created in an endolithic process. This involved infusing color through marble by applying heat.  This is the most important altar made utilizing the endolithic process, which was lost when manufacturing techniques and formulas were destroyed by competing craftsmen.

Freeway Park (N39⁰5’46” W94⁰32’36”) is 2 acres on East 14th Street at Indiana Avenue. It is gated and now being used as a community garden.

Parks and Boulevards Historic District

Benton Boulevard between Gladstone Boulevard/St. John Avenue and Linwood Boulevard (2.9 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District and was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Park and Boulevard system plan. The Grove Park (N39⁰5’38” W94⁰32’49”) is 11 acres on Benton Blvd at Truman Road. It includes a picnic shelter, playground, pool, baseball, and basketball facilities. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Park and Boulevard system plan. The park is bordered by Truman Road on the north, Benton Boulevard on the West, and Benton Plaza, a street on the south and east sides. Benton Plaza, a street on the south side of The Grove Park, is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District.

The Paseo between Independence Boulevard and 18th Street (1.1 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan and is the oldest, longest, and most prominent of the original boulevards. The Reverend John Wesley Williams Statue is at Paseo and Truman Road, commemorating a religious and civil rights leader of the 20th century. Contributing features to the historic district are:

  • The Pergola and the walkway to the Pergola between 10th and 11th Streets (N39o6’4” W94o33’49”), dating to 1900.
  • Central Walkway between 11th and 12th Streets (N39o6’0” W94o33’49”). The area was designated as the Black Veterans Memorial in 2010. According to a sign on 11th Street, “the plaza is dedicated to honor Black Americans who have served and are serving America with unsung distinction in our quest for freedom and peace around the world.” Roses and swamp white oak trees line the walkway.
  • Twelfth Street Terrace (N39o5’58” W94o33’50”), dating to the 1890s and the William T. Fitzsimons Memorial Fountain, dating to 1922. The inscription states that “This fountain is erected in memory of William T. Fitzsimons, 1st Medical Corp., U.S.A., killed in France Sept. 1917, the first American officer to give his life in the Great World War for liberty”
  • Oval concrete pedestrian walkway between 12th and 13th Streets (N39o5’55” W94o33’50”) contains a Spanish cannon facing south from 12th and Paseo, engraved with the mark of the royal arsenal at Seville, “Sevilla 24 de Abril de 1856, Sancho el Bravo.” It also has the royal cipher of Queen Isabel II. It was captured at Santiago, Cuba, in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. The armaments captured were distributed to the various states. This one arrived in Kansas City and was dedicated at this site in 1899. This is one of the few that was not melted down during scrap metal drives that took place during World War II.

Other features along the Paseo between 11th and 15th Streets are:

  • Virginia Apartments, 1100 Paseo (N39o6’1’ W94o33’52”), date to 1911. The four-story building exhibiting Beaux Arts Classicism is considered an example of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo.
  • McMahon Apartments, 1106 Paseo (N39o6’1” W94o33’52”), date to 1913. The three-story building with a prominent front porch extending the full height and width of the building exhibits Beau Arts Classicism and is considered an example of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo. It is vacant (2021).
  • New England Apartments, 1116 Paseo (N39o6’1” W94o33’52”), date to 1905. The four-story building with twin, full-height brick porches exhibits Beaux Arts Classicism and Prairie School influences. It is considered an example of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo. The building is vacant (2021).
  • Circle Apartments, 1200 Paseo (N39o5’57” W94o33’53”), date to 1902. The four-story building exhibiting Beaux Arts Classicism was built on a crescent design that curves around the corner. There are two full-height porches. It is representative of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo. The building is vacant (2021).
  • Goin’ to Kansas City Plaza (Paseo Green Park) (N39⁰5’59” W94⁰33’46”) is 5 acres on Paseo at East 12th The plaza is shaped like a grand piano, symbolic of Kansas City’s 12th and Vine entertainment center which fell victim to urban renewal in the 1970s. The 1952 song, Goin’ to Kansas City, was recorded by Wilbert Harrison, Little Richard, the Beatles, and James Brown. It was designated as Kansas City’s official song in 2005. The park commemorates 12th Street, from Quality Hill to Vine, as the entertainment center of Kansas City. In addition to clubs and entertainment venues, the street housed Truman’s men’s clothing shop in the 1920s, hotels, and theaters (Standard Theater, 300 West 12th Street, is still extant). In the clubs east of Troost, both Black and white patrons freely mixed. At 12th and Vine, the Lonestar, Orchid Room, Castle Theater, Jockey Club, and Boulevard Room were famous venues and hosted Red Foxx, Billie Holiday, and the Ravens. To the west toward downtown were the Reno Club, Sunset Club, Green Leaf Gardens, and Bar-Lu-Duc, which hosted Charlie Parker.
  • Maine Apartments, 1300 Paseo (N39o5’52” W94o33’53”), date to 1901. The three-story building exhibiting Beaux Arts Classicism contains a full-height front porch. It is representative of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo. The building is vacant (2021).
  • Missouri Apartments, 1304 Paseo (N39o5’52” W94o33’53”), date to 1901. The three-story building exhibiting Beaux Arts Classicism contains a full-height front porch. It is representative of apartment development at the north end of the Paseo. The building is vacant (2021).

Walnut, Grand, and McGee Streets

Mercantile Bank and Trust Building (Wall Street Tower), 1101 Walnut Street (N39o6’3” W94o34’54”), dates to 1973. The 20-story building expresses Modern Movement architecture. It is considered Mesian in style with spare rectilinear sections. But the most dramatic part of the building is building is an enormous structural “space transfer” truss which forms the three-story bottom of the tower. The truss tapers at the bottom and transfers the weight of the tower into columns and the three-story base. This tapered feature makes the structure distinctive and unique in Kansas City. A retail plaza is sunken below the street level. The building earned the 1976 Distinguished Building Award from the American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter. The lower level houses The Clubhouse Experience restaurant.

Boley Building, 1130 Walnut Street (N39o6’0” W94o34’57”), is a six-story building dating to 1909. Known as the coolest office in Kansas City, it features the first-ever use of a metal-and-glass curtain wall and rolled steel columns. It is an example of Chicago-style design. It anticipated the next curtain wall building, the Halladie Building in San Francisco, by 10 years and other similar 1950s-era buildings by 40 years. Today it is occupied by Andrews McMeel Universal, an independent global media company, and serves as the company’s headquarters.

Jenkins Music Company Building, 1217 Walnut Street (N39o5’58” W94o34’54”), includes a six-story wing which dates to 1911 and an eight-story addition dating to 1931. The building is considered to have Late Gothic Revival and Art Deco design elements. Jenkins was the largest manufacturer of guitars and mandolins in the country and one of the most distinguished publishers of sheet music in the country. It operated until 1973 when sold. The building is currently loft space.

Professional Building, 1101 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’3” W94o34’50”), dates to 1929. The 16-story structure was the earliest example of the Modernistic style in Kansas City. Others that followed were City Hall, Jackson County Courthouse, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City Power & Light Building, and Bryant Building. It was designed as a medical building for the use of doctors and dentists. The façade is Art Deco. It is today the Professional Building Lofts.

Bryant Building, 1102 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’3” W94o34’52”), dates to 1930. The 26-story, Art Deco style building is considered an adaptation of Eliel Saarinen’s 1922 Chicago Tribune Tower design. It contains highly stylized geometric brass grilles at the walls of the entrance. Window and door enframements have grape leaf and geometric relief on the brass. Plaster friezes have a sunflower motif. The building is named after John A. Bryant, a doctor in early Kansas City. The land where the building was built was owned by his heirs when the building was constructed. Today it is occupied by Netrality Data Centers.

Gate City National Bank Building, 1111 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’2” W94o34’50”), dates to 1920. The 6-story, Neo-Classical style building includes classical and modern features, including terra cotta ornamentation. The structure is now the Ambassador Hotel, an Autograph Collection Hotel.

Trader’s National Bank Building, 1125 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’0” W94o34’50”), is a 21-story Modern Movement Office Tower. The parking garage dates to 1956 and the office tower to 1962. This was the first commercial high-rise in Kansas City to express Modern Movement design. The reinforced concrete roof and the curtain wall set a new record in Kansas City for their height. It is now The Grand luxury apartments.

Palace Clothing Company Building, 1126 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’1” W94o34’52”), dates to 1924. The seven-story building is richly ornamented in terra cotta and tapestry brick. It is considered the most impressive example of Chicago-style architecture in Kansas City. Palace Clothing, which sold men’s clothing, became the largest clothing store of its kind in the West. It closed in 1964. The building is currently vacant (2021).

Bonfils Building, 1200 Grand Boulevard (N39o5’59” W94o34’53”), dates to 1925. The two-story Venetian Renaissance Revival Building was constructed during an eclectic period of terra cotta construction. It was built as a speculative building by Frederick Bonfils, an owner of the Denver Post, which became one of the largest newspapers in the U.S. He also owned the Kansas City Post (1909-1922), which was tied to the Pendergast political machine. From 1940 to 1983, the building housed the Wonderland Arcade.

Rosemann and Associates, P.C., occupies the 1524 Grand Avenue Building (N39o5’42” W94o34’53”), which dates to 1928. The consulting architecture company notes that this was the first downtown renovation to achieve LEED certification. There is a green roof. The two-story, reinforced concrete, commercial building has a terra cotta façade. It was listed as a pristine example of a terra cotta-clad two-part commercial block building type. The building has Neoclassical design elements. During its life, the building housed vending machine, liquor store, and the Automotive Trades Association. The longest tenant was Central Card Company, 1966 to 2003.

Louis Curtis Studio Building, 1118 McGee Street (N39o6’1” W94o34’48”), dates to 1908. The three-story commercial building was built by Louis Curtiss, an early modern architect who lived in the building and was the owner. Curtis included reinforced concrete and glass curtain wall architecture. The building is vacant (2021). His best-known design is the NRHP-listed Boley Building on Walnut Street. Other buildings designed by Curtis are houses on 55th Street and Roanoke Drive in Kansas City, buildings in the Quality Hill and Westheight Manor Historic Districts, buildings in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, and railroad depots across the West.

Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, Part 8: Convention Center and Quality Hill areas

For the purposes of this post, the convention center area is roughly bordered by Broadway, 11th Street, 15th Street, and Main Street in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The Quality Hill area is to the west of Broadway and the bluff, between 11th and 15th Streets. The properties described are on the National Register of Historic Places or are city park lands.

Convention Center Area

Aladdin Hotel, 1213 Wyandotte Street (N39o5’58” W94o35’7”), is an Italian Romanesque Style building and dates to 1925.

Continental Hotel, 106 West 11th Street at Baltimore (N39o6’4” W94o35’5”), is an 18-story building constructed in the Late Gothic Revival style and dates to 1924. It was originally constructed as the Kansas City Athletic Club and is currently vacant (2021).

Fairfax Building (Brookfield Building), 101 West 11th Street at Baltimore (N39o6’3” W94o35’5”), is a 12-story Art Deco building that dates to 1930. It is named after the Fairfax Airport, located in today’s Kansas City, Kansas. The building served for decades as a transportation company hub, with railroad and airline ticket offices and the offices of major railroad companies. Today it is the Hotel Indigo (floors 1-9) and the Fairfax Lofts (floors 10-12).

Kansas City Club Building, 1228 Baltimore Avenue (N39o5’56” W94o35’5”), dates to 1918. It operates as the Hotel Kansas City, a Hyatt Hotel. The 14-story, Late Gothic Revival building includes terra cotta embellishments. It housed the premier social club of Kansas City, established as a gentlemen’s club in 1882 by 42 co-founders. Meetings of the club began at the Coates House (1005 Broadway). The club was a meeting place for the wealthy in the Kansas City area. It eventually became large enough and financially able to construct its own building. The original building contained a bowling alley in the basement. Other floors included dining rooms, library, dormitories, pool, gymnasium, Turkish baths, and handball courts. Harry Truman was invited to play poker at the hotel; but did not become a member until he was President, when he was given an honorary membership.

Kansas City Power and Light Company Building, 1330 Baltimore Avenue at 14th Street (N39o5’51” W94o35’5”), dates to 1931. It was built for the offices of Kansas City’s major electric utility, which occupied the building until 1991. The 36-story building is considered one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in the U.S. It is capped by a spectacular six-story illuminated tower. This made it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River from 1931 until 1962, when the Seattle Space Needle was completed. Display windows on 14th and Baltimore Streets showcased new electronic appliances. An interior auditorium featured demonstrations of electricity and how appliances could improve lives. A dramatic sunburst design, symbolizing the power of light and energy, is above the east façade entrance. Variations of the sunburst reappear elsewhere in the building.  Today it has been redeveloped as the Power & Light KC Apartments, which feature a rooftop pool. The Grand Hall at Power & Light is an event space that also operates in the building.

Kansas City Southern Railway Building, 114 West 11th Street at Wyandotte (N39o6’4” W94o35’7”), dates to 1913. The 8-story, commercial-style building was used by the company from 1914 to 2002 and is significant in transportation history. Kansas City Southern was a most successful hometown railroad that began with a 40-mile line between Argentine and Independence, connecting all major railroads in town and supplying switching to packing houses, grain elevators, mills, and the stockyards. The railroad began expansions in 1891, constructing track from Kansas City to Hume, Missouri, then Pittsburg, Kansas, and Joplin, Missouri. Through mergers, the rail lines were extended to the south. To finance further expansions, stock was sold in Holland, and towns along the rail line extension were named after investors. This includes DeQueen, Arkansas; Mena, Arkansas; Vandervoort, Arkansas, Bloomberg, Texas; Hornbeck and DeRidder, Louisiana; Amsterdam, Missouri; and Nederland, Texas. The railroad founded Port Arthur, Texas. The railroad line crosses the Mexican border at Laredo and continues south to Michoacan, Veracruz, and Mexico City. The railroad became profitable based on oil and timber transportation. A notable local construction feature is the 100-foot-high railroad viaduct on 63rd Street in Kansas City. In 2021, the company was sold to a Canadian railroad company.

Loew’s Midland Theater, 1232 Main Street (N39o5’56” W94o35’0”) and Midland Building, 1221 Baltimore Avenue (N39o5’56” W94o35’3”), dates to 1927, and was the third largest movie theater in the U.S. at the time of its opening, with 4,000 seats. It was built as an opulent and flamboyant movie palace. It was the first theater with a cantilevered loge, a mezzanine-level seating area. It was also the first complete cooling, heating, and ventilation system of any theater in the U.S. The orchestra platform was elevating, a novelty for Kansas City. Opening night on October 28, 1927, was the cultural event of the year. The Second Renaissance Revival Style building has Second Empire and Commercial style elements. The movie theater is 6 stories and the office building is 12 stories. It is currently the Arvest Bank Theater, used for music, movies, plays, and live events.

Lowe and Campbell Sporting Goods Building, 1509 Baltimore Avenue south of Truman Road (N39o5’44” W94o35’3”), dates to 1925. The six-story, Classical Revival style building used the first floor for retail, the second floors for offices, and floors 3-6 for manufacturing and warehousing. The company was founded in 1912 by George Lowe and D. Keedy Campbell. The company merged with Wilson Sporting Goods in 1931 and continued to operate in this building until 1961, when it moved to 66th and Troost. The sporting goods industry derived many of its products from the meatpacking industry. Hides were used for balls and entrails were used for tennis rackets. Wilson became the largest producer and distributor of athletic goods in the United States, emphasizing golf, tennis, football, basketball, and baseball. Currently the building is vacant but the rooftop is being used for an event space (2021).

Mainstreet Theatre, 1400 Main Street (N39o5’49” W94o35’1”), dates to 1921 and the golden age of grand movie palaces. It was a Junior Orpheum Theater, which catered to the working class. The Chicago architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp designed the theater, and as the largest of all Junior Orpheum theaters built by the firm, it is considered the most significant expression of the firm, which designed 400 theaters in the U.S. In addition to movies, the 3,250-seat venue presented vaudeville (variety) shows and traveling shows. A Byzantine dome covered with golden tile towers over the entrance at 14th and Main. The building is vacant (2021).

Hotel Muehlebach, 1200 Baltimore Street (N39o6’0” W94o35’5”), is a 12-story Beaux Arts style building which dates to 1914 and is operated as part of the Marriott Hotel. The Presidential Suite at the hotel served as Truman headquarters during his Vice Presidential and Presidential Campaigns from 1944 to 1953. It is operated as part of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown hotel.

New Yorker Inn (Hotel Bray), 1114 Baltimore (N39o6’1” W94o35’5”), is a 9-story Jacobethan-style building dating to 1915. The tall and narrow building houses a coffee shop on the ground floor and the New Yorker Suites in the rest of the hotel.

Phillips Hotel, 106 West 12th Street at Baltimore (N39o6’0” W94o35’5”), is a 20-story Art Deco and Jacobethan-style structure dating to 1929. It is operated as a hotel of the Curio Collection by Hilton and houses the Tavernonna Italian Kitchen.

President Hotel, 1327 Baltimore Avenue at 14th Street (N39o5’51” W94o35’3”), is a 15-story building constructed with Jacobethan elements and dates to 1925. The Drum Room Cocktail Lounge has operated since 1924. It is part of the Hilton Hotel chain. A Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission Historical Marker faces 14th Street.

Standard Theatre, now the Folly Theatre, 300 West 12th Street at Central (N39o6’1” W94o35’14”), dates to 1900. The Neo-Renaissance style building has a Palladian motif with arch windows. It is the oldest and most important Kansas City area theatre and has been a hub of activity in Kansas City theatrical circles for years. When it opened in 1900, the fare was burlesque comedy and vaudeville, opera, and comic opera. Saturday evenings featured prize fights and wrestling. After 1923, traditional plays of Eugene O’Neill and Shakespeare were presented, but the theatre closed during the Depression. It reopened in 1941 with striptease shows.  The Folly Theatre now features jazz, concerts, and dance.

West 11th Street Historic District consists of three buildings at the corner of West 11th Street and Central Street (N W). At the time of construction, the architects collaborated in design of the three buildings to make a unique classical architectural look. The American Hereford Cattle Breeders Association, 300 West 11th Street, is a three-story, Neo-Classical Revival Building, constructed in 1919. Today it is occupied by the Financial Holding Corporation. Ararat Shrine Temple, 222 West 11th Street, was constructed in the Neo-Classical Revival style in 1926. There are five arched openings on the ground floor. Today it is occupied by the Kirk Family YMCA. The W.R. Pickering Lumber Company Building, 301 West 11th Street, is a Second Renaissance Revival style building constructed in 1925. Pickering was an early 20th century lumber company that operated sawmills in Louisiana, Texas, and California. In Louisiana, the company owned more than 70,000 acres in Vernon Parish and operated mills in Pickering, Cravens, and Barham. In Texas, the company owned 120,000 acres in Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby Counties, and operated a mill in Haslam, near the Texas-Louisiana state line. The company operated in Louisiana and Texas until 1930 when it exhausted its timber supply. Over 73,000 acres of the Texas property was incorporated into the Sabine National Forest. In California, the company operated a mill in Standard, California, near Sonora, in Tuolumne County. The company stopped operating in California in 1931. However, in the late 1930s, the company was resurrected as Pickering Lumber Company and continued operating its California mill until 1963. The Standard mill is now owned and operated by Sierra Pacific Lumber Company. Part of the company’s landholdings was sold to the state of California in 1953 for incorporation into Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Today the building is used by Americo Financial Life and Annuity Insurance Company.

Quality Hill Historic District

Quality Hill Historic District (N39o6’0” W94o35’25”) includes 18 buildings dating from 1856 to 1929, bordered by Broadway, 10th Street, 14th Street, and Jefferson Street. The focal point is Pennsylvania Avenue. Most houses and apartments are brick with stone or terra cotta ornamentation. Quality was another name for Republican, as the district housed Union sympathizers during and after the Civil War. The corner of 12th and Washington in the district was the original site (1860) of St. Teresa’s Academy, which is now located at 5600 Main Street.

Buildings on West 11th Street:

Montague Hotel, 412 West 11th Street, is a four-story, Neo-Romanesque style building, dating to 1889. It is now apartments.

Normandy Apartments, 501 West 11th Street, date to 1928.

LaHoma Hotel, 510 West 11th Street, dates to 1913, and is a Neo-Classic style building.

The Chimes (Quality Hill) Apartments, 511 West 11th Street, are Spanish Colonial Revival style and date to 1927.

Double Townhouse (Endicott Flats/Girls Club Association, 612 West 11th Street, dates to 1889 and is built in the Victorian Eclectic style.

Buildings on West 12th Street:

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 West 12th Street, dates to 1882. The ornate Roman Catholic Church is topped with a central spire of 23-karat gold leaf. Design is English Rocco-Romanesque. There has been a Catholic church in this vicinity since 1826. A historic marker describes Reverend Bernard Donnelly, who arrived in 1845 to serve at the church. A historic marker erected by the Choteau Society commemorates the site of St. Francis Regis church, or Choteau’s Church, which served the French community in the West Bottoms from 1799 to 1844. Adjacent to the church was a cemetery. As Kansas City grew, the cemetery was abandoned and some burials were moved to Mount St. Mary cemetery at 23rd and Jackson Streets. In 1986, construction at 11th and Jefferson Street uncovered 16 additional burials that were missed during the first removal.

Surrey Court Apartments, 520 West 12th Street, dates to 1927. It is built in the early Twentieth Century Modern style.

Cordova Hotel, 523 West 12th Street, dates to 1889.

Buildings on West 13th Street:

Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 415 West 13th Street, dates to 1888. It is of Norman Gothic design and is richly embellished with Tiffany windows and a Tiffany rood screen.

Buildings on Jefferson Street:

C.A. Brockett Residence and Carriage House, 1025 Jefferson Street, dates to 1874. It houses the Youth Volunteer Corps.

Duplex at 1213 Jefferson Street dates to 1901. It is considered a “builder’s vernacular” style.

Buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue:

Saxon Flats, 1005 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1900. The three-story building is Georgian Revival style.

David Slater Residence and Carriage House, 1020 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1887. It is a Queen Anne style house.

Major William Warner Residence, 1021 Pennsylvania Avenue (N39o6’6” W94o35’27”), use the rank of the Union officer who owned it as part of the name. It is separately listed on the NRHP and dates to 1880. It is considered the “Builder’s Vernacular” style. Today it is occupied by the Working Families Friend and Greater Kansas City AFL-CIO.

Girls Club Association Dormitory, 1028 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1928. It is a Spanish Colonial Revival style three-story brick building embellished with floriate terra cotta panels.

Isaac F. Guiwits Residence, 1029 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1889. It is considered “Builder’s Vernacular” in style.

Mrs. George N. Blossom Residence, 1032 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1888. It is a Victorian Eclectic style building and considered one of the last grand residences remaining on Quality Hill.

J.G. Conkey and Caroline F. Reeder Residence, 1308 Pennsylvania Avenue, dates to 1886. The Queen Anne style house is currently used by the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation.

Within the historic district, The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the Historic District, following Pennsylvania Avenue southbound, then turning west on 14th Street; and Washington Street northbound, turning west on 11th Street.

Mulkey Square Park (N39⁰5’54” W94⁰35’39”) is 9 acres on Summit Street, north of I-670, between I-670, 12th Street, and I-35.  The park is a site on the Riverfront Heritage Trail. A playground and ballfield are in the park. The Hereford Bull Statue in the park was originally at the Hereford Association at 715 Kirk Drive (West 11th Street). When the association moved in 1997, the bull was donated to KC Parks and was relocated to Mulkey Square. The park is part of the original West Terrace Park. West Terrace Park from 7th Street south to 17th Street was part of the George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan.

 

Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, Part 7: West Bottoms

West of downtown, in the river floodplain at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, was the early industrial heartland of Kansas City. Following the construction of railroad bridges across the Missouri River, the businesses that established here were most railroad-related, providing manufacturing and warehouse space for goods that were available across the western United States.

Riverfront Heritage Trail is a 15-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Berkley Riverfront Park of Port KC (N39⁰7’5” W94⁰34’20”), City Market (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰34’57”), Westside (N39⁰5’15” W94⁰35’34”), Huron Park in Kansas City Kansas (N39⁰6’51” W94⁰37’31”), and the West Bottoms (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰36’50”). The trail continues in Kansas City, Kansas, as Jersey Creek Trail from 5th Street (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰37’18”) west to Westheight Park (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰39’41”). The trailhead at 8th Street and Madison Avenue (N39o6’22” W94o35’41”) provides access to the Lewis and Clark Viaduct, which the trail follows across the Kansas River. Exhibits at the trailhead describe the Western U.S. transcontinental rail routes and the role of Kansas City. Kansas City was the beginning of the Kansas-Pacific route via Denver. Competing was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad route via Albuquerque. Also at the trailhead is the Exodus Family public art exhibit, describing a hypothetical group of slaves crossing the West Bottoms on their way to the free state of Kansas. An electric vehicle charging station completes the trailhead.

Near the trailhead are two buildings on the National Register.

  • Faultless Starch Company Building, 1025 West 8th Street between Madison and Santa Fe Streets in the West Bottoms (N39o6’19” W94o35’44”), dates to 1903. The company still operates at the building today. Faultless Starch Company grew to be one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of dry white starch. The company was helped in its marketing by attaching primers for learning to read to its products in Texas and by hiring Huey P. Long as a salesman in the Southeastern States. This was prior to his more famous career as governor of Louisiana.
  • Sewell Paint and Glass Company Building, 1009 West 8th Street between Santa Fe Street and Madison Avenue in the West Bottoms (N39o6’20” W94o35’43”), dates to 1903. The 5-story brick building with Romanesque Revival features was the home of one of the major manufacturers and distributors of industrial paints, varnishes, and lacquers in the early 20th Today it is the Faultless Event Space.

A spur of the Riverfront Heritage Trail begins at North James Street (N39o6’38” W94o36’52”) and connects to the trail just east of the Lewis and Clark Viaduct. The trail is managed by Kansas City River Trails, Inc. (kcrivertrails.org). The trail passes adjacent to the West Bottoms-North Historic District.

West Bottoms-North Historic District (N39o6’10” W94o36’15”) consists of buildings dating to 1880. The buildings are brick, from one to seven stories. This area became a hub of activity after the completion of the Hannibal Bridge in 1869, which funneled railroad traffic to the floodplain at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. The district reflects the growth of Kansas City as a manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution center in the late 19th and early 20th century. Kansas City began as a hub for wholesale and warehousing since it was an outfitter for the western trails. It continued in these roles as a railroad hub. The area was devastated by, but recovered from, disastrous floods in 1903 and 1951.

West 9th Street buildings in the historic district:

  • Kemper-Paxton Mercantile Company, 1427 West 9th Street, dating to 1901
  • Abernathy Furniture Company, 1501-1523 West 9th Street, 910-912 Liberty Street, and 915-925 Wyoming Street, dating to between 1880 and 1917, now the West Bottoms Flats

St. Louis Avenue buildings in the historic district:

  • Fire Insurance Patrol No. 2, 1310 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1890
  • Police Station No. 2, 1312 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1901
  • Samuel Freeman Livery, 1316 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1880
  • Seavey and Florsheim, 1317 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1902
  • Multi-tenant building, 1321 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1909
  • Bliss Syrup and Preserving Company, 1329 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1897, now Rangel Distributing
  • Sherwin-Williams Paint Company, 1400 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1903, now Dynatron Elevator, Inc.
  • Swift and Company, 1401 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1888
  • 1404 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1967
  • Security Building, 1405 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1909, now occupied by Cook Brothers Insulation
  • McManus-Heryer Brokerage, 1408 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1922
  • Biggs and Koch Company, 1415 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1885, now occupied by Cook Brothers Insulation
  • Newby Transfer and Storage, 1422 St. Louis Avenue, dating to1900
  • Trumbull and Company, 1426 St. Louis Avenue and 925 Liberty Street, dating to 1899
  • Ryley, Wilson and Company, a Romanesque Revival grocery warehouse, 1502 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1887
  • Bayles Vehicle Top and Trimming Company, 1522 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1903, now operating as the Wood Lot
  • Hogue Mercantile Company, 1600 St. Louis Avenue, dating to 1930

Union Avenue buildings in the historic district:

  • G. Peppard Seed Company, 1400 Union Avenue, dating to 1889, now Doc’s Caboose
  • Geiser Manufacturing, 1408 Union Avenue, dating to 1900

Wyoming Street buildings in the historic district:

  • Imperial Casket Company, 920 Wyoming Street, dating to 1928, now TRX Great Lakes
  • Bemis Brothers Bag Company, 921 and 937 Wyoming Street, dating from 1904 and 1920, respectively
  • Dehoney Hay and Grain Company, 938 Wyoming Street, dating to 1913

Other West Bottoms buildings outside the historic district are on 12th Street, Hickory Street, Mulberry Street and Union Avenue.

  • Ridenour-Baker Grocery Company, 933 Mulberry Street, bounded by Mulberry Street, St. Louis Avenue, Santa Fe Street, and Union Avenue in the West Bottoms (N39o6’10” W94o35’56”), is separately listed on the NRHP and is adjacent to the historic district; it dates to 1910. The building was a commercial office and warehouse property and was an early example of reinforced concrete construction. The company was a wholesale distribution business that operated in the West Bottoms beginning in 1858 and continuing until 1936. In addition to wholesaling, the company also manufactured and packaged coffee, spices and peanuts. It sold products under the label FFOG, for First Fruit of the Garden.
  • A. Murdock Manufacturing Company Building, 1225 Union Avenue at Mulberry (N39o6’8” W94o35’58”), dates to 1887. The building is significant for its contribution to the expansion of the railroad freighting industry in Kansas City. The Romanesque Revival building was built for a company that manufactured and distributed coffee, tea, and spices. Due to a sprinkler system, it was the only building in the vicinity to survive a devastating 1918 fire. It operates today as the Murdock Lofts.
  • Perfection Stove Company Building, 1200 Union Avenue at Santa Fe Street (N39o6’10” W94o35’55”), dates to 1919. It is listed on the National Register as an intact example of the commercial distribution office and warehouse associated with the railroad-related historic resources of Kansas City. The Cleveland Metal Products Company built the building as a warehouse and regional distribution center for its line of oil stoves and heaters. Perfection Oil Cook Stove was the company’s signature product. The building is currently vacant. To the east of the Perfection Stove Company building was the site of Union Depot. A historic marker on Union Avenue near Forrester Road describes the train station, which opened in 1878 and connected the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroads. It was the largest building west of New York at the time it opened; it featured a clock tower 125 feet high. Over 180 trains per day arrived. It was nearly destroyed with the 1903 flood; it was replaced in 1914 with present-day Union Station on Pershing Road.
  • Crane Company Building, 1105 Hickory Street in the West Bottoms (N39o6’5” W94o36’4”), dates to 1905. The six-story building is listed because of its association with the railroad freight industry in Kansas City. It was designed by Louis Curtiss. From 1905 to 1951, the building was occupied by the Crane Company as a warehouse, used for storing industrial grade plumbing supplies used in water treatment and the power industry. It also housed valves and fittings for the rail and airline industry. According to an article in Fortune, July 1936, “you can’t run a railroad or build a dam, operate a paper mill or lay a sewer, dig an oil well or heat a hospital, or launch a battleship or even take a shower without using one of the more than 40,000-odd products that are made by Crane Company.” The building is currently occupied by Tekki Web Design, Blue Bands Apparel, Christina Koski Art, and Christ the King Church, an independent Catholic parish.Creamery Package Manufacturing Company Building, 1408 West 12th Street, West Bottoms (N39o6’4” W94o36’7”), dates to 1886. The four-story, Romanesque Revival style building featured spaces for offices, machinery, and warehousing. The building is significant in commerce, related to the Kansas City railroad freight industry. The building was the first branch office for the Chicago-based Creamery Package Manufacturing Company, which occupied the building from 1887 to 1895 and from 1921-1964. The company manufactured containers for dairy products—creameries, cheese factories, milk dealers, ice cream, refrigeration, and egg cases. A fire in 1895 caused the company to leave. It then rented the building to other railroad-related businesses before returning in 1921. In 1964, the company was sold to St. Regis Pulp and Paper Corporation. The building is currently occupied by Fillmore Vintage, selling antique clothing and furniture.

    Albert Marty Building, 1412 West 12th Street, West Bottoms (N39o6’4” W94o36’8”), dates to 1886. The five-story Romanesque Revival style structure was built by a real estate developer and was first occupied by agricultural implement companies. These were the first companies to arrive in the West Bottoms when it became a railroad hub. By 1878, Kansas City dominated the agricultural implement market. From 1914 to 1961, the Gustin-Bacon Manufacturing Company, a supplier to rail and automotive industries, occupied the building. The company produced pipefittings, valves, rubber hosing, and fiberglass including insulation. It was said that every railroad relied on their products in the 1950s. It is currently occupied by an antiques business.

  • Charles Frances Adams Jr. Building, 1311 West 13th Street, West Bottoms (N39o5’58” W94o36’2”), dates to 1894. The 5-story, Commercial Style, Two-Part Vertical Block building is between Hickory and Mulberry Streets. The building served agriculturally related companies as warehouse space and manufacturing. It was adjacent to railroads that could ship goods throughout the West and Southwest. The first occupant was the Buford and George Manufacturing Company, which made the Browne Sulky Plow. This plow was popular because it could be ridden on instead of walking behind a team of horses. The company also manufactured saddles and harnesses and horse-related supplies. In 1903, Buford and George was purchased by John Deere Plow Company, which expanded the business to include a harness factory. In 1907, the John Deere Company spun off the Velie Saddlery Company, and the building was used for saddlery and harness manufacture. Velie discontinued operations in 1913, but other agricultural companies continued in the building until 1964.
  • Central Industrial District/West Bottoms Green Infrastructure Project, Liberty Street at 14th Street south of I-670, includes a boardwalk with native plants, permeable paved multi-event space, and public walking trail.

 

Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, Part 6: Garment District and Case Park

The western portion of downtown includes Case Park and the Garment District. Case Park is a National Historic Trail site and it overlooks the West Bottoms. To the east of Case Park is the Quality Hill Center Historic District and the Wholesale Historic District (Garment District).

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Ermine Case, Jr., Park (N39⁰6’11” W94⁰35’34”) is 2 acres and part of the 31-acre West Terrace Park. The park extends from 7th Street south to 11th Street, west of Pennsylvania Avenue, Jefferson Street, and Summit Street. The traffic circle and overlook at 8th Street and Jefferson Street is known as Clark’s Point. This is one of only a handful of locations along the lower Missouri River that can be documented as a place that Lewis and Clark stood. They climbed this bluff in 1806 on the return journey and noted that it would be a good place to build a fort. They also gathered pawpaw fruits here. In 1804, on the western journey, they saw an immense flock of Carolina parakeets near here. In the center of the traffic circle is the Corps of Discovery statue by Eugene Daub, depicting William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, York, Sacagawea, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (her baby), and Seaman (Lewis’ dog). The statue contains an inscription, “of courage undaunted and a fidelity to truth,” along with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him.” A rock wall at Clark’s point was constructed by the Works Progress Administration in 1941.

Also at Clark’s Point are markers erected by the Chouteau Society, describing the French settlement and heritage of the area. The Missouri River from St. Louis to north of Kansas City was initially mapped by Etienne Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, in 1713. He noted the low range of hills on the south side of the river near the confluence with the Kansas River. In 1724, Bourgmont visited a Kansa village site near present-day Fort Leavenworth and also journeyed toward Santa Fe. In 1742, Verendryes explored the Missouri River to near its headwaters in Montana. Fort de Cavagnial (1744 to 1764) was a French trading post at the village of the Kansa. Le Page du Pratz published a 1758 map and narrative which described the river, and Indians told the French of the Great Salt Lake, Bitterroot Mountains, and the Snake and Columbia Rivers. The Kansa later moved to the mouth of the Kansas River, and Francois Choteau set up a trading post, Chez Les Canses, at what was called Kawsmouth. Because news of the Louisiana purchase from France may not have reached throughout the Louisiana territory, Lewis carried a French passport.

At 10th and Jefferson Street within the park is a Choteau Society marker describing Chez Les Canses, or Chouteauville settlement. In 1799, French-speaking traders and farmers moved from the French Colonial area of present-day Illinois to the present-day Kansas City area. One settlement was at Randolph Bluffs, near the Missouri River confluence with Rock Creek (Chouteau Bridge-State Route 210 area) on the north side of the Missouri River, and a second was at French Bottoms, now called the West Bottoms. The West Bottoms settlement was French speaking until at least 1840; and consisted of strip farms on either side of Turkey Creek. The community was served by a French Catholic church of St. Francis Regis near the present-day intersection of 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The settlement was eradicated by the flood of 1844.

Within Case Park is the James Pendergast Memorial statue, erected in 1913 in Mulkey Square Park and moved later to this location. It is surrounded by picnic tables. The monument was erected by his younger brother, Thomas Pendergast, who ran county politics at the time. It overlooks the West Bottoms, where he operated a saloon and began the Pendergast political machine.

A plaque by the Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project was located in the park until 2020, when it was vandalized. The historic marker memorialized the 1882 lynching of Levi Harrington by a mob of several hundred white people in Kansas City, for the crime of shooting a police officer. The next day another man was arrested for the killing. No one was held accountable for the lynching.

Case Park includes the off-leash West Terrace Dog Park at the north end. Adjacent to the dog park near the corner of 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue is a sculpture by Stacey Sharpe, called Air Play. Near 10th Street is a playground, including a structure called the Bamboo Jungle. West Terrace Park from 7th Street south to 17th Street was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. Case Park is crossed by the Riverfront Heritage Trail, which enters the park at 9th and Jefferson Streets and leaves at 10th and Summit Streets. The park adjoins the Quality Hill Historic District and Quality Hill Center Historic District.

Riverfront Heritage Trail is a 15-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Berkley Riverfront Park of Port KC (N39⁰7’5” W94⁰34’20”), City Market (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰34’57”), Westside (N39⁰5’15” W94⁰35’34”), Huron Park in Kansas City Kansas (N39⁰6’51” W94⁰37’31”), and the West Bottoms (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰36’50”). The trail continues in Kansas City, Kansas, as Jersey Creek Trail from 5th Street (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰37’18”) west to Westheight Park (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰39’41”). The trail is managed by Kansas City River Trails, Inc. (kcrivertrails.org). The trail passes through the Wholesale District Historic District and Quality Hill Center Historic District on 9th Street and Quality Hill Historic District on Pennsylvania Avenue and Washington Street. It passes adjacent to the West Bottoms-North Historic District.

Quality Hill Center Historic District

Quality Hill Center Historic District (N39o6’15” W94o35’30”) includes 4 apartment buildings on Jefferson and Pennsylvania Avenues between 8th and 10th Streets, dating to 1951 (817, 905, and 929 Jefferson Street, Quality Hill Towers) and 1958 (910 Pennsylvania Avenue). The apartments are typical of Modern Movement architecture. Three parking lots are considered contributing structures. The apartments were constructed as the first urban renewal project in Kansas City, under urban renewal legislation passed by the state and local government. The district adjoins the Quality Hill Historic District to the south of 10th Street. The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the historic district on 9th Street. Adjacent to the Historic District are the separately listed Pennbrooke Apartments, 604 West 10th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue (N39o6’10” W94o35’29”), which date to 1926. By the 1920s, Quality Hill was declining as people were moving out of the area downwind of the packinghouses and railroad yards. Architect Nelle Peters was commissioned to design this three-story, brown brick building for working class and middle-income dwellers as part of an attempt to revitalize the neighborhood. Ermine Case Jr. Park adjoins the historic district to the west.

Garment District

Wholesale District (Garment District) Historic District includes 61 buildings in the vicinity of Broadway Boulevard at 7th and 8th Streets. It was a center of manufacturing for clothing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, printing, and hats between 1874 and 1931. After World War I, Kansas City became a national textile manufacturing center. The upper floors of buildings on Broadway were used for sewing space, with the garment industry centered on 8th and Broadway. Buildings on 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Streets, Bank Street, Broadway Boulevard, Central Street, and May Street are in the historic district.

Buildings that may be observed on 7th Street include McPike Drug Company Building at 306 and 312 West 7th Street (West, 1904; East, 1917). The Kansas City Paper House at 318 West 7th Street is now the West 7th Street Lofts. At 7th Street and May adjacent to the historic district is the Roaster’s Block barking lot, a small off-leash area.

On 8th Street are:

  • Phoenix Hotel, 300 West 8th Street, dating to 1888, a Neo-Romanesque building, operating as the Phoenix Restaurant
  • Exchange Hotel, 301 West 8th Street, dating to 1889
  • Armour and Volker Building, 306 West 8th Street, dating to 1902, a Second Renaissance Revival building now operating as the Soho Lofts
  • Lewis Printing Company, 307 West 8th Street, dating to 1930
  • Burnham-Hanna-Munger Manufacturing Company Building, 313 West 8th Street, dating to 1903, which is a monumental Commercial/Second Renaissance Revival style building, now Lucas Place
  • Bond Shoe Company, 312 West 8th Street at May Street, a Second Renaissance Revival building dating to 1899
  • Noyes-Norman Shoe Company, 412 West 8th Street at Bank Street, dating to 1907
  • Barton Brothers Shoe Company, 423 West 8th Street, dating to 1900
  • Garment District Place (N39⁰6’17” W94⁰35’24”) is a ¾-acre park on West 8th Street between Washington Street and Broadway, within the boundaries of the historic district. The park contains benches, picnic tables, and bicycle rental, along with a grove of honey locust trees. The Needle Sculpture in the park is in memory of the wholesale textile and garment industry that flourished in this area. Just to the south of the park at the corner of Broadway and 8th Street is a branch of the Kansas City Museum, and across Broadway at the corner of 8th Street is the Historic Garment District Museum.

On 9th Street are the building at 408 West 9th Street, an Italianate Building dating to 1889, now the Los Corrals Restaurant; and Easter Brothers Restaurant, 418 West 9th Street, dating to 1901, now the Peanut Downtown Restaurant. At the northeast corner of Broadway at 9th Street is the Descent of Civilization sculpture (Bison Memorial). This serves as a memorial to the great herds of plains buffalo, a reminder of what was compromised in the development of our great nation and is now lost from the landscape, according to Marc Swanson, the artist. The memorial includes a quote from William T. Hornaday, zoologist (1854-1937), “the primary cause of the buffalo’s extermination, and the one which embraced all others, was the descent of civilization, with all its elements of destructiveness, upon the whole of the country inhabited by the animal.” The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the district along West 9th Street.

On 10th Street is the Adler Building, 314 West 10th Street, a Neo-Classic Revival building dating to 1908; and the Missouri Interstate Paper Company Building, 412 West 10th Street, dating to 1909.

On Broadway Boulevard are:

  • Montgomery Ward Company Building, 626 Broadway, dating to 1902, now the Mid-America Regional Council offices
  • Reicher and Sons, Robinson and Sons Building, 628 Broadway, dating to 1904, now Mid-Amerida Regional Council offices
  • Maxwell-McClure Notions Company, 704 Broadway, dating to 1900
  • J. Roe Hat Company, 708 Broadway, dating to 1902
  • Faxon, Horton, and Gallagher Company, 712 Broadway, dating to 1903, is a Second Renaissance Revival Style building, now the Popham Law Firm
  • Harvey-Dutton Dry Goods Company, 800 Broadway, dating to 1903, now the Kansas City Museum annex.
  • Burnham-Hanna-Munger Dry Goods Building, 801 Broadway, dating to 1901, which is a monumental Commercial/Second Renaissance Revival style building, now the Historic Garment District Museum
  • Butler Brothers Company, 804 Broadway, dating to 1909, now Butler Brothers Lofts
  • Goldstandt-Powell Hat Company, 806 Broadway, dating to 1902
  • Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad Building, 816 Broadway, a Victorian Eclectic Style building dating to 1889
  • Gatlin Building, 819 Broadway, a Second Renaissance Revival style building dating to 1910
  • Thayer Building, 820 Broadway, a Victorian Eclectic Style Building dating to 1883, now the Crossroads Preparatory Academy
  • Liebstradter Millinery Company Building, 905 Broadway, dates to 1902 and is now the Mulberry Lofts
  • Adler and Company and Kelly-Williams Company Building, 908 Broadway, dates to 1903.
  • Jay and King Hat Company Building, 909 Broadway, dates to 1904
  • Hershberger and Rosenthal Company Building, 915 Broadway, dates to 1909.
  • George P. Ide and Company, Inc., 920 Broadway, is now the Jewell Lofts, named after the builder
  • Rothenberg and Schloss Building, 930 Broadway, dates to 1912 and is now the Opera House Lofts.
  • Fitzpatrick Saloon Building, 931 Broadway, dates to 1911 and operates as the Majestic Restaurant.
  • Frankel, Frank & Company Building, 1000 Broadway, dates to 1905. It contains the Garment House on Broadway and the Broadway Bistro.
  • Lorraine Apartments, 1012 Broadway, is a Georgian Revival building dating to 1901 (vacant, 2021).
  • Estill Hotel, 1018 Broadway, is a Georgian Revival building dating to 1897 (vacant, 2021).

On Central Street are:

  • Commercial Building, 600 Central, dating to 1909
  • Barton Brothers Shoe Company, 609 Central, dating to 1895, Second Renaissance Revival style
  • Burnham-Munger Manufacturing Company, 612 Central, dating to 1892
  • Builders and Traders Exchange, 616 Central, dating to 1889, a rare surviving example of High Victorian Italianate architecture

On May Street is Burd and Fletcher Company, 701 May Street, dating to 1916; Lechtman Printing Company, 715 May Street, dating to 1915.

Coates House Hotel, 1005 Broadway Boulevard at 10th Street (N39o6’8” W94o35’17”), dates to 1886, is separately listed on the NRHP, and is adjacent to the Wholesale District. The hotel is an example of a late 19th century luxurious urban hotel. The original hotel on the site was built in the 1860s, on the foundation of an 1861 federal fort. The hotel was named after Kersey Coates, a Pennsylvania quaker who moved to Kansas City in 1854. The 1886 hotel was an early project of the architect Henry Van Brunt, who moved to Kansas City from Boston to open a practice. The hotel was visited by President Grover Cleveland in 1887 and Benjamin Harrison in 1890. In 1912, the first meeting of the Sertoma International (Co-Operative Club) was held. It is now the Quality Hill leasing office.

 

 

 

Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, part 5: Library District

Library District (West 9th Street-Baltimore Avenue Historic District (N39o6’10” W94o35’5”)) consists of more than 20 NRHP-listed buildings, dating to 1880. These early commercial buildings were constructed at the busiest intersections in the city during the late 1800s. Buildings are on West 9th Street, West 10th Street, Baltimore Avenue, Main Street, and Wyandotte Street. Notable buildings are:

National Register-Listed Buildings on West 9th Street:

  • New York Life Building, 20 West 9th Street (N39o6’14” W94o35’3”), is a Neo-Renaissance Building dating to 1887. It is considered Kansas City’s first skyscraper and the city’s first building with elevators. It is separately listed on the NRHP. There is a bronze sculpture of an eagle over the main entrance. The eastern insurance company built the building hoping to take advantage of Kansas City emerging as the future center of commerce in the West. It is now the Catholic Center.
  • Bunker Building, 100 West 9th Street and 820 Baltimore Avenue (N39o6’14” W94o35’3”), dates to 1880, and is separately listed on the NRHP. The building is described as Victorian Eclectic, an amalgam of Romanesque, Gothic and Neo-Classic elements. It was originally the home of the Western Newspaper Union, which later moved to 304 West 10th Street (which is also on the NRHP). It is now Univision KC and partly vacant.
  • Wood’s Building, 101 West 9th Street, dates to 1881. It is now the Milwaukee Deli and Banksia Australian Restaurant.
  • Lyceum Building, 102 West 9th Street, dates to 1895.
  • Kansas City Dime Museum, 110 West 9th Street, dates to 1885. It began as a museum of freaks and curiosities and later became Kansas City’s first art gallery, the Western Gallery of Art, a forerunner of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
  • Old New England Life Mutual Insurance Building, 112 West 9th Street (N39o6’14” W94o35’6”), a Renaissance Revival style building dating to 1887. It was also the earliest example of fire-proof construction in Kansas City. It is separately listed on the NRHP and is now KC Loft Central.
  • Savoy Hotel and Grill, 219 West 9th Street at Central Avenue (N39o6’12” W94o35’11”), separately listed on the NRHP, which was constructed from 1890 to 1906. It is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and now operates as part of the 21c Museum Hotel group. Its lobby is noted for a leaded stained-glass dome 12 feet in diameter. The restaurant includes stained glass, dark oak woodwork, and historic murals by Edward Holsleg. It is the oldest restaurant in Kansas City.

National Register-Listed Buildings on West 10th Street:

  • First National Bank, 14 West 10th Street, now the Kansas City Public Library, was constructed in 1904. It contains Neo-Classic, Neo-Grecian, and Chicago style elements.
  • Land Bank Building, 15 West 10th Street between Baltimore and Main (N39o6’7” W94o35’1”), is a Renaissance-style building which dates to 1923. It housed the offices of the Kansas City Joint Stock Land Bank, which gave federal loan guarantees to farmers under the Federal Farm Loan Act of 1916. It is adjacent to the historic district and is separately listed on the NRHP. It is now the Hanover Lofts.
  • New England National Bank, 21 West 10th Street, is a 14-story building which dates to 1907. A carved stone eagle is above the arch of the main entrance.
  • Dwight Building, 107 West 10th Street, is 10 stories and dates to 1902. It was the first steel-frame building constructed in Kansas City. It is the Hispanic Business Center and Library Lofts East
  • Burnap Stationery Company, 111 West 10th Street, is a 6-story building dating to 1909. It was one of the largest retail office supply companies in the U.S.
  • Board of Trade Building, 127 West 10th Street, is a 13-story building dating to 1923. It housed businesses specializing in grain, railroads, insurance, and chemicals. It is now the Board of Trade Lofts.
  • The parking garage with an entrance just north of 10th street was the site of the Hotel Baltimore, where the Future Farmers of America was founded in 1928. The section fronting West 10th Street contains a graphic of books.
  • Western Newspaper Union Building, 304 West 10th Street at Central Street (N39o6’9” W94o35’14”) dates to 1900; it is to the west of the historic district. It was the site of the largest auxiliary newspaper company in the United States. This type of business sold pre-printed content to small-town newspapers in surrounding states. This typically focused on national news to supplement the local news content. The basement of the building housed large printing presses needed to meet demand of 200 or so small-town newspapers in Missouri, Kansas, and nearby states. At the corner of 10th and Central, northeast corner, is a park bench with a statue of Mark Twain.
  • Fire Department Headquarters, 1020 Central Street (N39o6’5” W94o35’14”), dates to 1905. This was the home of Kansas City’s Fire Department and Fire Station #2 until 1980. Beaux Arts Classicism architectural style includes ribbed Doric columns in the front of the building. The building is separately listed on the NRHP and is south of the historic district. It now houses offices for Folly Theater.

National Register-Listed Buildings on Baltimore Avenue:

  • La Rue Printing Company, 810 Baltimore, dates to 1910, and includes Chicago-influenced elements.
  • Lane Blueprint Company, 908 Baltimore, is a Neo-Classical style building dating to 1905.
  • Carbide and Carbon Building (Union Carbide Building), 912 Baltimore, is an Art Deco and Moderne Style building dating to 1930.
  • Kansas City School of Law Building, 913 Baltimore, is a Jacobethan and Chicago-Influenced building dating to 1926. The law school was attended by Harry Truman and many former mayors and justices of the state supreme court. It is currently the Kansas City Public Library annex.
  • University Club Building, 918 Baltimore, is a Neo-Classical building dating to 1922. It currently operates as the Kansas City Club.
  • Finance Building, 1009 Baltimore, includes Chicago-style influences and dates to 1908. It is used for lofts today.

National Register-Listed Buildings on Wyandotte Street:

  • Frankel, Frank, and Company Building, 811 Wyandotte Street, dates to 1899. Frankel, Frank, and Company was a millinery wholesale business. It later housed a succession of businesses, including carpet, dry goods, rubber, and drugs. The building is currently Trozollo Communications Group.
  • Baker-Vawter Building, 915 Wyandotte Street (N39o6’12” W94o35’7”), dates to 1920 and is separately listed on the NRHP. The building was designed by the prominent Kansas City architectural firm of Hoit, Price, and Barnes. Baker-Vawter was a national manufacturer of accounting ledgers and inventory and filing systems. It adjoins the West 9th Street-Baltimore Avenue Historic District.
  • Graphic Arts Building, 934 Wyandotte Street (N39o6’9” W94o35’9”), is separately listed on the NRHP and is to the west of the historic district. The building contains Arts and Crafts terra cotta elements. The building of the Kansas City Graphic Arts Organization began as a center for commercial printing. The building housed printing presses. Thompson Paper Company, which occupied space in the building, counted as its clients Walt Disney and Hallmark Cards. Other tenants were suppliers of paper and ink, printers, and engravers. Photographers and filmmakers also were tenants. The building dates to 1915 and is now lofts.

National Register-Listed Buildings on Main Street:

  • Executive Plaza Office Building (The Flashcube Apartments), 720 Main Street (N39o6’17” W94o35’1”), is separately listed on the NRHP and is adjacent to the historic district. It is considered an exceptionally significant example of Late Modern style architecture and dates to 1974. It was built as a speculative office building by the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. It is adjacent to the Historic District. The distinctive external architectural feature is a reflective glass curtain wall. This curtain wall is considered a significant example of the feature. The reflective glass on the building gave it the nickname “the flashcube.” There is no added ornamentation on the curtain wall. A landscaped plaza on Main Street is on the roof of a storage building which is below street grade. On the north side is an elevated pedestrian walkway which is considered a contributing structure to the historic property.
  • Ten Main Center, 920 Main Street (N39o6’9” W94o35’0”), is separately listed on the NRHP and dates to 1965. Designed by Los Angeles architect Charles Luckman, the 21-story office tower and 7-story garage introduced a new style of architecture to Kansas City, that of Modern Abstract Monumental style, notable for use of pre-cast concrete panels that form a curtain wall. The building was the first urban renewal project of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, a city agency set up to manage Kansas City’s federally funded urban renewal areas. The Central Business District is one of these urban renewal areas. The first tenants were Employers Reinsurance Corporation, Ash Grove Lime and Portland Cement Company, and Marshall and Brown Architects. The Sky on Main apartments are in the building. Across Main Street from the building are the Commerce Trust Company Historic District and Commerce Tower, also on the NRHP.
  • George B. Peck Dry Goods Company Building, 1044 Main Street (N39o6’4” W94o35’1”), is separately listed on the NRHP and is adjacent to the historic district; it dates to 1914. It is one of the few remaining dry goods companies that anchored the heart of the downtown retail district and operated as a department store for 70 years. Today it is BOK Financial.

 

Natural and Cultural Features of Kansas City, Part 4: Financial District

Financial District includes includes buildings in the Commerce Trust Company Historic District and buildings along Grand and Walnut Streets. In the same general area, additional National Register-listed buildings in the area of Ilus Davis Park to the east are included in the discussion. This post covers 6th through 10th Street properties. Also, parks and National Register sites to the east of the Financial District between 6th and 10th Streets are described.

Commerce Trust Company Historic District (N39o6’10” W94o34’57”) includes bank structures between 9th, 10th, Walnut, and Main Streets. The district is considered a unique example of a large, unified complex of connected buildings in the city’s Financial District and urban core. The District includes three contributing structures (National Bank of Commerce, Commerce Tower, Commerce Garage) and a Sunken Garden adjacent to the Commerce Tower on Main Street, which is today used as a private playground.  National Bank of Commerce (Commerce Trust Company), 922 Walnut Street (N39o6’9” W94o34’56”), dates to 1908, and is also separately listed on the NRHP. The building is an American Movement, Beaux-Arts-style building with terra cotta ornament. It is 16 stories and considered one of the best examples of early skyscraper design. Also included in the district is the Commerce Garage, a 7-story Modern Movement parking garage now occupied on the lower level by CVS Pharmacy. Commerce Trust Company merged with the National Bank of Commerce in 1921 and survived the bank runs of the Great Depression to become the greatest banking dynasty in the history of Missouri. A bronze and copper clock adorms the southeast corner of the building and was installed in 1953. Commerce Tower, 911 Main Street at 9th Street (N39o6’11” W94o34’57”) is separately listed on the NRHP and dates to 1964. The tower is 32 stories and constructed in the Miesian style (after architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), with a wide entrance plaza and concrete-clad appearance with glazed curtain walls. Typical of the style, the first two stories are slightly recessed at the base. It was the largest private office building in Missouri at the time of its construction. Commerce Trust Company left the building in 1985. Tenants today include luxury apartments and Park University.

NRHP-listed Buildings on 7th Street in the Financial District:

  • Kansas City Western Union Telegraph Building, 100 East 7th Street at Walnut (N39o6’20” W94o34’53”), is on the NRHP and dates to 1920. It houses the Pawn and Pint and Homestead Café.
  • Buick Automobile Company Building, 220 Admiral Boulevard (7th Street) at McGee Street (N39o6’20” W94o34’47”), is on the NRHP and dates to 1908. It was the first facility to be designed as an auto showroom and the first Buick dealership in Kansas City. Tudor Revival in style, it is now the Buick Lofts.
  • Kelley-Reppert Motor Company Building, 422 Admiral Boulevard between Page and Locust Streets (N39o6’20” W94o34’39”, is on the NRHP and dates to 1920. The Colonial Revival building with terracotta ornamentation was built to house a Ford auto dealership. Today it houses Savion, a renewable energy company.

NRHP-listed Buildings on 9th Street in the Financial District:

  • Grand Avenue Temple, 205 East 9th Street, is described under buildings on Grand Avenue
  • Pickwick Hotel, Office Building, Parking Garage, and Bus Terminal, 301 East 9th Street, 901 McGee Street, 300 East 10th Street, and 906 Oak Street (N39o6’11” W94o34’45”) dates to 1930. The Pickwick Hotel is a 10-floor, Art Deco facility representative of urban commercial buildings in the mid-20th It was frequented by Harry Truman in the 1930s.
  • The former Kansas City Public Library, 500 East 9th Street at Locust (N39o6’13” W94o34’37”), dates to 1895. It is now the Ozark National Life Building. The Second Renaissance Revival-style building symbolized the growing intellectual and cultural consciousness of 19th century Kansas City. The building housed major science and art collections, which became part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kansas City Museum. The prominent frieze at the top of the building contains the names of 19th century authors and statesmen—Webster, Cooper, Hawthorne, Morse, Whittier, Benton, Maury, Irving, Lowell, Emerson, Holmes, Bryant, Agassiz, Longfellow, Bancroft, Motley, Prescott, Stowe, Alcott, Franklin, Hawthorne, Morse, and Whittier.
  • The Blackstone Hotel, 817 Cherry Street at 9th Street (N39o6’14” W94o34’33”), is vacant. The Colonial Revival Building dates to 1925 and is a rare example of a second-tier urban hotel. These served salesmen and were less ornate than the grand convention center hotels in the early 20th It was part of a hotel district extending along 9th, Locust, and Oak Streets, all of which are now gone. The hotels competed with, and ultimately lost out to, tourist courts and motels in the latter part of the 20th century.

Ilus Davis Park (N39⁰6’8” W94⁰34’40”) is 5 acres to the north of City Hall, between 9th and 11th Streets and Oak and Locust Streets. Trees are crabapple, red oak, and ginkgo. In the northeast corner of the park at 9th Street and Locust Street is the Bill of Rights Statue, erected in 1991 by the Judicial Conference of the United States, Committee on the Bicentennial of the Constitution. It includes 50 pairs of hands, representing freedom in each of the 50 states and all Americans of different race, sex, and religion who created and still impact the building block of the constitution, the Bill of Rights. Between 10th and 11th Street facing Oak Street is the Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City monument. The five-pointed star-shaped monument contains 10 panels, representative of the 10 counties in Kansas and Missouri that make up the greater Kansas City region (Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami, and Wyandotte in Kansas; and Cass, Clay, Jackson, Lafayette, Platte, and Ray in Missouri).

  • Panel 1, Grandeur, is represented by the Country Club Plaza, dating to 1922.
  • Panel 2, Early Culture and Explorers, is represented by the Chouteau Trading Post on the north bank of the Missouri River near present-day Chouteau Parkway, Kaw Point, Fort Osage, and mountain man Jim Bridger.
  • Panel 3, Westward Expansion, is represented by the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California Trails,1833 Westport, and 1838 Town of Kansas.
  • Panel 4, Transportation, is represented by Grinter’s Kaw River Ferry and the Hannibal Railroad Bridge, the first Missouri River bridge.
  • Panel 5, Agriculture, is represented by the 1857 River Market and Longview Farm
  • Panel 6, Entrepreneurs, is represented by the Strang Line, 1906.
  • Panel 7, Arts and Education, is represented by the Jazz District.
  • Panel 8, Science and Research, is represented by area hospitals and Garmin.
  • Panel 9, Sports, is represented by the Negro National Baseball League
  • Panel 10 describes the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas City organization.

In the southwest corner of the park is the Ilus Davis Fountain on 11th Street. Ilus Winfield Davis (1917-1996) was mayor from 1963 to 1971 and President of the Board of Police Commissioners from 1971 to 1977.

City Employees Memorial is in the park on Locust Street between 10th and 11th Streets. The four columns honor public servants who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

NRHP-listed Buildings on Grand Boulevard in the Financial District:

  • S. Courthouse and Post Office, 811 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’14” W94o34’49”), dates to 1939. It was the site of the Swope Park Swimming Pool desegregation lawsuit in 1952, led by Thurgood Marshall. It is now the Courthouse Lofts.
  • Scarritt Building and Arcade, 818 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’13” W94o34’52”), is an early 11-story Chicago School skyscraper dating to 1906. The building implements the architectural concepts of Louis Sullivan. The entrance to the Scarritt Building is on Grand but it is connected to an arcade with an entrance on Walnut. The arcade is considered a unique example of the turn-of-the-century preoccupation with light, with two skylighted areas (light wells) in the center of the building. The main building contains an indentation designed to catch light from the south.
  • Grand Avenue Temple, 205 East 9th Street and Grand Avenue Temple Office Building, 903 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’12” W94o34’50”), date to 1909. The temple is considered the Mother Church of Methodism in Kansas City. The Temple is a Greek Revival building with a 1912 church organ. The office building is 12 stories and Neo-Classical in style. It was thought that the office building could help pay off the debt of church construction and supply supplemental funds for the church’s work. Both are early examples of reinforced concrete construction.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (former location), 925 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’10” W94o34’50”), dates to 1921. The 21-story classical revival building is one of 12 buildings constructed as part of the national system of Federal Reserve banks. Facing Grand Boulevard are two two-story carved stone panels with female figures representing industry and commerce. The Spirit of Industry figure holds a sheaf of wheat and a hand spinning device (distaff) to represent agriculture. The Spirit of Commerce figure wears a coat of mail to signify security and holds the torch of progress and symbol of Mercury, god of commerce. Each figure stands above an eagle holding a shield emblazoned with 10-J, symbol of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. The building is currently vacant (2021).
  • A. Long Building, 928 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’10” W94o34’52”), is a 14-story Italian Renaissance building which dates to 1906. It was the first skyscraper in Kansas City and was the home of Long-Bell Lumber Company, the world leader in the wholesale lumber market in the 20th century. The company got its start selling timber to settlers on the treeless western prairies. Long represented the lumber industry at the White House conference on environmental conservation in 1980 and promoted reforestation. The company merged with International Paper Company in 1956.
  • Dierks Building, 1000 Grand Boulevard (N39o6’7” W94o34’52”), is a modern movement skyscraper which dates to 1909, when the first five stories were constructed as the Gates Building. Dierks Lumber and Coal purchased the building in 1927 and expanded it to 17 stories. There is art deco detailing on the upper stories. Today the building is the Grand Boulevard Lofts.

NRHP-listed Buildings on Walnut Street in the Financial District:

  • Gumbel Building, 801 Walnut Street (N39o6’15” W94o34’54”), is 6 stories and dates to 1904; it was one of the earliest tall-reinforced concrete buildings constructed in the U.S. This method used twisted iron rods to strengthen concrete. At the corners are square piers with ornate terra cotta work, topped by Roman eagles. Ornate Italianate copper cornice tops the building, which is currently a Hampton Inn.
  • Waltower Building, 823 Walnut Street (N39o6’13’ W94o34’54”), dates to 1929 and is an early skyscraper (12 stories). It was built right before the stock market crash and could not attain full occupancy. Today it is the Waltower Loft Apartments.
  • Fidelity National Bank and Trust Company Building, 909 Walnut Street (N39o6’11” W94o34’54”), dates to 1931. The 35-story building, crowned by two towers, is the centerpiece of the Financial District. It is considered an excellent illustration of the Art Deco style of architecture and a signature work of the prominent Kansas City architects Hoit, Price, and Barnes. The building’s grandeur illustrates the bank’s importance in the nation. At the time it was built, Fidelity was the 100th largest bank in the United States. Unfortunately, the bank could not survive the depression and failed in 1932, one year after its signature building was completed. It is now apartments and commercial office space operated by Simbol Commercial.
  • National Bank of Commerce, 922 Walnut Street (N39o6’9” W94o34’56”), is described under the Commerce Trust Company Historic District.
  • Kansas City Title and Trust Building, 927 Walnut Street (N39o6’4” W94o34’54”), dates to 1922. The seven-story building was constructed in Commercial Block style with terra cotta ornamentation to handle valuable title documents. The firm approach to title insurance focused on the security of title documents, and the building was constructed to house the documents in fire-proof space. It is now United Missouri Bank.

NRHP-listed Buildings on Oak Street in the Financial District:

  • Hoover Brothers Building, 922 Oak Street (N39o6’9” W94o34’43”), dates to 1914. The two-part Commercial Block style building is three stories. It housed the Hoover Brothers School Supply Company, which distributed supplies in the southwestern U.S. The company was sold in 1995. The building is vacant (2021).
  • Stine and McClure Undertaking Company Building, 924 Oak Street (N39o6’9” W94o34’44”), dates to 1912 and was constructed in the Second Egyptian Revival style. The building was designed by Kansas City architect John McKecknie, who practiced in Kansas City’s boom years of the early 1900s. He was known as an innovator in concrete construction. The Egyptian Revival Style would go on to become most popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and this building anticipated this trend. The Egyptian preoccupation with the dead made the style appropriate for a mortuary company. The building is currently the Gatsby event space.
  • Insurance Building/Consumers Cooperative Association Building, 318 East 10th Street at Oak (N39o6’8” W94o34’43”), dates to 1920. CCA became Farmland Industries, the largest farmer-owned cooperative. The building is currently vacant.

East of the Financial District:

A.B.C. Storage and Van Company Building, 1015 East 8th Street between Harrison and Troost Avenues (N39o6’14” W94o34’13”), is on the NRHP and dates to 1908. The reinforced concrete building is an example of the fireproof commercial warehouse property type. It represents the rapid growth and diversification of the commercial storage industry in Kansas City. The company developed a moving and storage empire in Kansas City and was the headquarters for Oscar W. Thomas, founding chairman of Allied Van Lines. Allied Van Lines was a carrier agency, in which local firms booked business as agents of the company. The company operated at this location until about 2000. It is now Storage Mart.

Admiral Plaza Park (N39⁰6’17” W94⁰34’39”) is 1 acre bordered by 8th Street, Admiral Boulevard, Locust Street, and Oak Street, just south of I-35/70 at the State Route 9 junction. It is to the north of the U.S. Courthouse. A park bench at the corner of 8th and Locust Streets honors 32 trees planted in the park in 2008, honoring 32 years of leadership by the Centurions leadership development project of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Benton Boulevard between Gladstone/St. John Avenue and Linwood Boulevard (2.9 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District and was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Park and Boulevard system plan. On Benton are the National Register-listed Dorson Apartment Building, 912-918 Benton Boulevard (N39o6’6” W94o32’41”), which dates to 1906. The Dorson Apartments are a 3-story brick building, listed on the National Register because it is the oldest surviving example of the Kansas City Porch Style apartments. Majestic Apartments, 701 Benton Boulevard (N39o6’15” W94o32’38”), date to 1909 and are listed on the National Register as an example of the Square Brick Colonnade Apartment type. Stacked porches flank the central entrance, and Renaissance Revival square brick porch columns are a feature.

Harmony Park (N39⁰6’4” W94⁰32’47”) is 1 acre bordered by East 10th Street, Agnes Avenue, Bellefontaine Avenue, and 11th Street. There is a playground on Bellefontaine Avenue at 11th Street.

Hazelle, Inc., Building, 1224 Admiral Boulevard at Tracy Avenue (N39o6’20” W94o34’2”), is a three-story Tudor Revival style former synagogue dating to 1920, but the building was put on the National Register because of its association with Hazelle Hedges Rollins and her marionette business, which operated out of this building from 1958 to 1975. Marionettes are dolls that move through the manipulation of strings. Rollins created a niche within 20th century American puppetry by mass producing puppets for the education of children. In the mid-1970s, 50 employees produced marionettes, hand puppets, and accessories. The company became the largest puppet manufacturer in the world, producing 250,000 puppets annually. Rollins also received four patents for puppet design. The company closed in 1984 after her death. The Puppetry Arts Institute, 11025 East Winner Road, Independence, acquired the parts inventory and organizes puppet workshops. Other marionettes were donated to the Kansas City Museum, the University of Kansas, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. The building is currently vacant (2021).

Margaret Kemp Park (N39⁰6’9” W94⁰34’18”) is 3 acres on East 10th Street, bordered by Harrison Street, 9th Street, and I-70. There is a ¼-mile trail and a playground. Across the street from the park is the National Register-listed Kansas City Masonic Temple, 903 Harrison Street (N39o6’11” W94o34’14”), which dates to 1911. The building is built in the Beaux Arts and Classical Revival style with opalescent art glass windows. It is owned by the Kansas City Masonic Historic Preservation Society.

Dr. Johnstone Lykins Square Park (N39⁰6’12” W94⁰32’3”) is 5 acres on East 8th Street, bordered by Myrtle Avenue, Jackson Avenue, and 7th Street. The park has athletic fields for baseball, basketball, and soccer, and includes a playground on 8th Street.

National Cloak and Suit Company, 5401 Independence Avenue at Hardesty Street (N39o W94o), dates to 1920. The main building and the powerhouse are on the National Register. National Cloak and Suit Company provided fashionable clothing to the rural housewife during the 1920s. The building was a mail-order house that served 22 states west of the Mississippi River. The company was taken over by another clothing warehouse and distribution company, National Bellas Hess and Company, which operated at the site until 1941. The U.S. government bought the site in 1941 and operated it and 22 acres of additional buildings as the Kansas City Quartermaster Depot until 1953. Once cleaned up of trichloroethylene-contaminated soil and groundwater, redevelopment of the site will be undertaken by the Hardesty Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.

9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields Park (N39⁰6’4” W94⁰31’30”) is 12 acres. The park contains a playground, walking trails, baseball diamond, and soccer field. The viaduct traversed by Van Brunt Boulevard on the west side of the park is painted with flags of American countries.

The Paseo between Independence Boulevard and 18th Street (1.1 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. The Paseo is Kansas City’s oldest, longest, and most prominent boulevard. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. The Women’s Leadership Fountain, Paseo and 9th Street, was completed in 1899. Contributing features to the historic district are:

  • Central walkway between 9th and 10th Streets (N39o6’9” W94o33’49”), including the August Robert Meyer Memorial. Meyer was the first president of the Parks Commission of Kansas City. The Paseo as a park-like boulevard was the vision of Meyer. It is named after the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City. A statue of Meyer is just north of 10th The statue contains the following poem:

Houses and shops are man’s

But grass and trees and flowers

Are God’s own handiwork.

Undaunted this man planned and toiled

That dwellers in this place

Might ever freely taste the

Sweet delights of nature.

  • The Pergola and the walkway to the Pergola between 10th and 11th Streets (N39o6’4” W94o33’49”), dating to 1900.
  • Along the Paseo between 9th and 11th Streets are apartments constructed along the north end of the Paseo in its early days. These were listed on the National Regiser because they are an example of apartment development on the north end of the Paseo, as part of Kansas City’s oldest, longest, and most prominent boulevard. The Kessler Apartments, 924 Paseo (N39o6’8” W94o33’51”), date to 1896, and feature a two-story front porch on the south and east sides. Ellsworth Apartments, 928 Paseo (N39o6’8” W94o33’51”), date to 1906 and feature full-width front porches. Maryland Apartments, 930 Paseo (N39o6’7” W94o33’51”), date to 1901. The building was influenced by Beaux Arts Classicism in its architecture. Maples Apartments, 1401 East 10th Street at Lydia Avenue (N39o6’6” W94o33’53”), date to 1906, and are less than a block off the Paseo, constructed to be part of the Paseo apartment complex. The Parkview, 1000 Paseo (N39o6’6” W94o33’51”), dates to 1913; the five-story building has been used as both a hotel and apartments since it was constructed. Its architectural style is Beaux Arts Classicism with Prairie School influences. Generous Henderson House, 1016 Paseo (N39o6’4” W94o33’51”), dates to 1899. It is one of the few surviving examples in Kansas City of the Second Renaissance Revival architectural style and was the home of a prominent doctor who practiced in the city from 1880 to the 1920s.

Wiltshire Apartment Hotel, 703 East 10th Street at Holmes Street (N39o6’7” W94o34’29”), dates to 1928. It was built as middle-income and working-class apartments. The building contains Spanish Colonial Revival style ornamentation.

 

Natural and cultural features of Kansas City, Part 3: Central–City Market and Old Northeast

National Historic Trail Sites
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

River Bluff Park (N35o6’30” W94o35’28”) is on Beardsley Road between 4th Street and the I-70 underpass on the Riverfront Heritage Trail. A public art display includes two dugout canoes moored to an island and a wayfinding marker. The shape of the stairs at the overlook is designed to resemble a waterfall. At the 4th Street end of the park are quartz stone pavers that were part of the first paved street in the town of Kansas.

Santa Fe, Oregon, and California National Historic Trails

Westport Landing, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Town of Kansas Site, is at the north end of Main Street at the Town of Kansas bridge (approximate location N39o6’40” W94o35’0”),. The French visited and described the area as early as 1713. In 1790, Auguste Chouteau was given trading rights in the area with the Kanza Indians. Lewis and Clark passed by the area in 1804 and 1806. They gathered pawpaw on their return trip in 1806. Chouteau’s Landing, a fir trading post on the Kansas River from 1818 to 1838, Kit Carson and John James Audubon passed through the area. Chouteau’s wife, Berenice Chouteau, lived in the town of Kansas until her death in 1888.

Settlement began in 1832 when Francois Chouteau built a warehouse to store westbound steamboat goods. In 1833, the Town of Westport was founded. In 1834, Westport Landing was established to receive steamboat deliveries. Westport landing was the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail beginning in the late 1830s. It was also used later as a starting point for the California and Oregon trails. Westport Landing is a site on the California, Oregon, Santa Fe, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails. At the site, a rock ledge was used for riverboat landing.

Other Parks and Historic Sites

Bellefontaine Avenue Historic District, 500-524 Bellefontaine Avenue between Independence Boulevard and Thompson Avenue (N39o6’25” W94o32’50”), consists of 10 houses dating to 1889. They are an example of speculative middle-class residential construction in the 1880s. All were constructed by a single builder and repeated a similar Queen Anne design. To the east is Scarritt Point South Historic District, which includes structures on the east side of Bellefontaine Avenue; and the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District (Kessler Park), which is to the rear of the houses.

Belmont Boulevard Bikeway is 0.8 miles from Saida Avenue at Indian Mound (N39⁰7’4” W94⁰30’33”) south to Independence Avenue (N39⁰6’18” W94⁰30’52”).

Benton Boulevard between Gladstone/St. John Avenue and Linwood Boulevard (2.9 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District.

Berkley Riverfront, 1298 Riverfront Road (N39o7’5” W94o34’17”) is a development project of PortKC, a state agency. The 17-acre park component is between the Kit Bond Bridge and the Heart of America Bridge, featuring hiking trails, an esplanade, sand volleyball courts, fitness courts, a wetland restoration, and picnic tables. West of the ASB Bridge, Riverfront West includes the Town of Kansas Bridge and an elevator and stairs provide access to the City Market area. The Armour-Swift-Burlington (ASB) Bridge on the BNSF Railroad is 1.2 miles long and was constructed in 1911. It is one of only a few multimodal vertical lift truss bridges in the world. There are two decks, one for freight railroads and another for vehicles (no longer used for vehicles). To allow river traffic to pass, the lower deck raises through the use of 25-ton counterweights. The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes under the ASB bridge and contains an exhibit about the bridge at a viewpoint west of the bridge. To the west of the ASB bridge is a 10-acre prairie restoration.

Budd Park (N39⁰6’42” W94⁰31’21”) is 26 acres on St. John Avenue at Brighton Avenue. The park dates to 1891. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. There is a playground, shelters, tennis courts, rogue courts, small swimming pool, and 0.7-mile loop trail circling the park. The Budd Park Explanade extends for two blocks west of the park to Van Brunt Boulevard and contains the American Legion Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1921. An inscription on the monument is attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “All daring and courage, all iron endurance, of misfortune, all devotion to the ideal of honor and the glory of the alliances, for a finer and nobler type of manhood.”

Phillip E. Chappell House, 1836 Pendleton Avenue (N39o6’47” W94o33’30”), dates to 1888. It was listed on the NRHP as an intact representative of the Queen Anne Style of architecture, using brick instead of wood. Chappell was a former mayor of Jefferson City, State Treasurer, and President of Citizen’s National Bank.

Chestnut Parkway Bikeway is designated for a 0.8-mile section of street between Independence Boulevard (N39⁰6’23” W94⁰32’54”) and Kessler Park (N39⁰6’47” W94⁰32’54”).

Cliff Drive and Spirit of KC Scenic Byways Trail is 1.8 miles, from Paseo at Missouri Avenue (N39⁰6’34” W94⁰33’46”) to the City Market at Holmes Street and 3rd Street (N39⁰6’40” W94⁰34’34”). It is partly in Kessler Park. The trail begins in Kessler Park along Paseo and passes Garrison Square Park before ending at 3rd Street four blocks east of the City Market. The trail passes Garrison Square Park and the National Register-listed Joe Vaccaro Soda Water Manufacturing Company Building at 5th and Harrison Streets.

Columbus Square Park (N39⁰6’29” W94⁰34’28”) is 4 acres bordered by Missouri Avenue, Charlotte Street, Holmes Street, and Cherry Street. I-70 is to the south. There is a memorial garden at the east entrance. Features include bocce ball courts, picnic tables, a playground, and trails. Trees include Siberian elms, redbud, ash, pines, and red cedars.

The Concourse (N39⁰6’44” W94⁰32’44”) is 6 acres on Benton at St. John Avenue. It is on the NRHP as part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. The Concourse and the stone comfort station east of Gladstone Boulevard are contributing structures to the historic district. West of Gladstone Boulevard is the Concourse Hill Slide, playground, exercise equipment, tennis courts, and basketball courts.

Garrison Square (N39⁰6’41” W94⁰34’8”) is 3 acres bordered by East 4th Street, East 5th Street, Forest Avenue, and Troost Avenue. The park includes the Garrison Community Center, a soccer field, and playground. The Cliff Drive and KC Scenic Byways Trail passes adjacent to the park on 5th Street.

Gladstone Boulevard between Indian Mound and Independence Boulevard (2.1 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. The Gladstone Boulevard bridge over Anderson Avenue (N39o6’42” W94o32’45”), dating to 1897, is a contributing feature to the Parks and Boulevards historic district. It is a 60-foot iron arch span with massive stone masonry abutments. Exterior arches and handrails are also iron. The Thomas Hart Benton Memorial in the traffic circle at St. John Avenue and Benton Boulevard (N39o6’47” W94o32’42”), dating to 1915, is also a contributing feature. Between Walrond Avenue and Askew Avenue, Gladstone Boulevard is within the Scarritt Point North Historic District. Between the Anderson Avenue Bridge and Independence Boulevard, Gladstone Boulevard is within the Scarritt Point South Historic District.

Harrison Street Skate Park is at 4th and Harrison Streets (N39o6’41” W94o34’24”).

Ferd. Heim Brewing Company Bottling Plant, 507 North Montgall Avenue, between Guinotte and Rochester Avenues (N39o7’12” W94o32’56”) dates to 1901. The Heim family initially operated a brewery in East St. Louis beginning in 1869, then purchased a brewery in Kansas City in 1884, after selling the East St. Louis brewery. They operated a brewery in Kansas City from 1884 until 1918, when the company closed due to the coming prohibition. Only the bottling plant is on the National Register. The bottling plant was originally connected to the brewery by a 300-foot-long tunnel east of Chestnut Street Trafficway, no longer extant. Heim was the largest brewery west of St. Louis before prohibition. Today J. Reiger and Company, another casualty of prohibition, has been resurrected by new owners and operates a whiskey, gin, and vodka distillery in the building. Tours are available.

Heim Electric Park (N39⁰7’20” W94⁰32’51”) is 4 acres bordered by Chestnut Trafficway, Rochester Avenue, and Chestnut Avenue. A football field with goalposts, playground, and picnic tables are present. Parking is on Chestnut Avenue south of Nicholson Avenue. An underpass under Chestnut Trafficway leads to Montgall Avenue.

Holy Rosary Historic District (N39o6’32” W94o34’23”) is an Italian immigrant neighborhood dating to 1898, including 17 buildings on Campbell Street and East Missouri Avenue in Columbus Park, centered on Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church.

Independence Boulevard between Paseo and Benton Boulevard (0.8 miles) is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. 7th Street east from West Terrace Park, including Admiral Boulevard, Highland, and Independence Avenue to Benton Boulevard was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. Along Independence Boulevard is the National Register-listed Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Avenue at Independence (N39o6’21” W94o32’47”), dates to 1904. The church is a significant example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture; and was the first example of this style constructed in Kansas City. The style focuses on formality, symmetry, and lavish ornament as taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Independence Plaza (N39⁰6’24” W94⁰33’19”) is a 2-acre city park on both sides of Independence Boulevard between Park Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue. It was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan.

Indian Mound Park (N39⁰7’6” W94⁰30’34”) is 12 acres on Gladstone Boulevard and Belmont Boulevard, anchoring the east end of Kessler Park. It is listed on the NRHP as part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. Indian Mound is a contributing feature to the historic district. An overlook looks east to the Blue River valley industrial area. There are picnic tables in the park.

Kansas City Cold Storage Company Building, 500 East 3rd Street at Heart of America Bridge, State Route 9 (N39o6’40” W94o34’42”), dates to 1922. This company took advantage of Kansas City’s status as a rail hub to build the largest cold storage business in the world. This building was where ice was made, and fruits and vegetables stored for national distribution. It is now the Cold Storage Lofts.

Kessler Park is 303 acres, extending from Paseo at I-29/35) (N39⁰6’48” W94⁰33’51”) to Belmont Boulevard (N39⁰7’8” W94⁰30’29”) and encompassing north-facing bluffs overlooking the Missouri River floodplain. It was formerly North Terrace Park; and is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District and was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. Cliff Drive State Scenic Byway is 3.8 miles, extending from Gladstone Boulevard at Elmwood Avenue (N39⁰6’52” W94⁰31’33”) west to Paseo/Lexington Avenue (N39⁰6’47 W94⁰33’39”). The road contains overlooks to the north with views of the Missouri River floodplain. Overlooks are at Prospect Point (N39o7’2” W94o32’57”) and Scarritt Point (N39o7’3” W94o32’45”) among other places. Rock bluffs along Cliff Drive add scenery and are used by rock climbers. The road is currently open only to bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Cliff Drive is a contributing feature to the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District, as is the Cliff Drive Arch Bridge over Chestnut Trafficway (N39o6’45” W94o32’54”). Other roads within the park contributing to the historic district are East Outlook Point Drive, Cliff Drive (N39o6’53” W94o33’24”) to St. John Avenue (N39o6’49” W94o33’8”); and East Reservoir Drive, East Outlook Point Drive (N39o6’53” W94o33’14”) to Lexington (N39o6’40” W94o33’8”). North Terrace Lake (N39o6’44” W94o32’58”), a 2-acre fishing lake on Cliff Drive and Water Works Reservoir (N39o6’52” W94o33’6”) are contributing features to the historic district. At the junction of Gladstone Boulevard and St. John Avenue (N39o6’49” W94o32’44”) are the Colonnade and JFK Memorial, also contributing features to the historic district. At the east end of Kessler Park, a stone parapet wall on North Belmont Boulevard (N39o7’8” W94o30’31”) is a contributing feature. The Kessler Park Trail system, suitable for mountain biking and hiking, is 5 miles of trails between Lexington/Paseo east to Indian Mound. Cliff Drive and Spirit of KC Scenic Byways Trail, a paved shared-use path, begins in Kessler Park at Paseo and Missouri Avenue, follows Paseo Avenue to the Cliff Drive entrance at Lexington Avenue, then turns north to descend the bluff and connect with Dora Street just east of I-35. It continues west under I-35 to Lydia, then south to 5th Street. It continues west to the Old Town Historic District. The Gladstone Boulevard Trail extends 1.7 miles between The Concourse (N39⁰6’48 W94⁰32’40”) and Belmont Boulevard (N39⁰7’3” W94⁰30’32”).

Maple Park (N39⁰6’41” W94⁰33’34”) is 16 acres on Lexington Avenue between the Paseo, Missouri Avenue, and Maple Boulevard, adjoining Kessler Park. It is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District. The park contains a soccer field and volleyball court. Adjacent is the Pendleton Heights local historic district, which is the oldest surviving neighborhood in Kansas City, featuring intact pre-1900 houses. The local landmark Tiffany Castle is on Garfield Avenue within Pendleton Heights.

Nicholson Park (N39⁰7’25” W94⁰32’15”) is 2 acres at 3601 East Nicholson Avenue at North Monroe, in the East Bottoms. A constructed wetland is circled by a walking trail.

Northeast Athletic Fields Park (N39⁰6’49” W94⁰30’21”) is 19 acres at 6500 East St. John Avenue at Bennington. There are a playground and three ballfields.

Old Town Historic District (N39o6’30” W94o34’55”) consists of 80 buildings, including the Public Market (City Market). It is the original Kansas City town site. Boundaries are Second Street to the north, Missouri Avenue on the south, Delaware Street on the west, and Locust Lane on the east. Contributing structures are on 2nd Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street, 5th Street, Delaware Street, Grand Boulevard, Main Street, Missouri Avenue, Oak Street, and Walnut Street. Delaware Street provides a street scene reminiscent of the 19th century, with several pre-1890 structures. The Pacific House Hotel, 401 Delaware, housed Union troops during the Civil War. The original town square of 1846 became the City Market in 1857. In the 1870s this area famously hosted Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holliday. Also in this area were the original city hall and county courthouse buildings. East of Delaware between 3rd Street and 5th Street is the City Market, owned by the City of Kansas City. City Market Park is on 3rd Street east of Delaware. It contains benches, under shingle oak and honey locust trees. Since the city’s founding, the area has been a farmer’s market and continues the function today. Beginning in 1888, the city constructed brick market buildings; however, the current buildings were constructed in the 1930s. On the east side of the district on Oak, 3rd, and 4th Streets are several buildings associated with Muehlebach Brewing Company. Today the Kansas City Streetcar provides access to the district, with a loop running along 5th Street, Grand Boulevard, 3rd Street, and Delaware Street within the district. Kansas City Water Department Building, 201 Main Street (N39o6’39” W94o35’0”) is separately listed on the National Register. It operated from 1904 until 1923 and was the earliest extant public works building of the city water department. Studna Garage, 415-419 Oak Street (N39o6’34” W94o34’45”), is separately listed on the National Register and dates to 1922. It was a public parking garage for autos and trucks, also offering repair and fuel services. The garage provided services for a railroad freight area of the city. It is on the NRHP and is currently occupied by the offices of Tetra Tech. Townley Metal and Hardware Company Building, 200-210 Walnut Street (N39o6’38” W94o34’58”), is separately listed on the National Register and dates to 1895. It is representative of the wholesale hardware jobbers trade and was one of the nation’s largest wholesale hardware distributors. The company went on to become one of the founders of the Sentry Hardware brand in the 1960s. The company was sold in 1982. The building is used for the Old Townley Lofts. The Steamboat Arabia Museum (N39o6’34” W94o34’53”) is in a non-contributing structure within the historic district. It is expanding and may move elsewhere by 2026. The Helping Hand Institute Building, 523 Grand Boulevard at Missouri Avenue (N39o6’29” W94o34’48”), dates to 1915. Founded in 1894, the Helping Hand Institute provided food, shelter, medical care, personal aid, counseling, and employment for homeless men. From 1915 to 1950, it served 435,000 people. Businesses affiliated with the institute were the Industrial Paper Stock Company and a quarry business for paving streets. Its benefactor was Kansas City’s wealthiest businessman, William Volker, who donated $10 million over 36 years. It merged with Goodwill Industries in 1978. The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the historic district on Main Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets and along West 3rd Street from Main Street west to Wyandotte Street.

Prospect Avenue from Lexington Avenue south to Independence Avenue was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan.

Richards and Conover Hardware Company Building, 200 West 5th Street at Wyandotte (N39o6’29” W94o35’8”), dates to 1902. It was built to house the inventory of the nation’s oldest and largest wholesale hardware company. The company operated from 1857 until 1999. Today the building is used for residential lofts. The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes the building on Wyandotte Street.

River Bluff Park (N35o6’30” W94o35’28”) is on Beardsley Road between 4th Street and the I-70 underpass on the Riverfront Heritage Trail. A public art display includes two dugout canoes moored to an island and a wayfinding marker. The shape of the stairs at the overlook is designed to resemble a waterfall. At the 4th Street end of the park are quartz stone pavers that were part of the first paved street in the town of Kansas. It is a site on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Riverfront Heritage Trail is a 15-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Berkley Riverfront Park of Port KC (N39⁰7’5” W94⁰34’20”), Old Town Historic District (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰34’57”), Westside (N39⁰5’15” W94⁰35’34”), Huron Park in Kansas City Kansas (N39⁰6’51” W94⁰37’31”), and the West Bottoms (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰36’50”). The trail is managed by Kansas City River Trails, Inc. (kcrivertrails.org). The trail passes

Riverfront Park (N39⁰8’15” W94⁰32’19”) is 955 acres extending from North Olive Street at East Front Street to the Union Pacific Railroad east of I-435. A boat ramp on the Missouri River is on Riverfront Road west of North Choteau Trafficway.

River Market Dog Park is on East 5th Street at Locust Lane (N39o6’35’ W94o34’40”).

Scarritt Point North Historic District (N39o6’55” W94o32’30”) includes the finest houses of early Kansas City, with Corinthian Hall (1910), home of the Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Boulevard, being one of the jewels. The Kansas City Museum is separately listed on the National Register as the R.A. Long House. There are 63 contributing buildings, dating to 1887. The district boundaries are Kessler Park on the north and west, Windsor Avenue on the south, and Askew Avenue on the east. Houses on Askew Avenue, Bales Avenue, Gladstone Boulevard, Indiana Avenue, Norledge Avenue, and Windsor Avenue are included in the historic district. The Edward Lucky Scarritt House (1898), 3500 Gladstone Boulevard (N39o6’56” W94o32’24”), Edward A. Stevens House (1902), and the William Chick Scarritt House (1888), 3240 Norledge Avenue (N39o7’2” W94o32’33”) are separately listed on the NRHP. Gladstone Boulevard through the District is part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District, as is Kessler Park (North Terrace Park, which adjoins the district on the north and west.

Scarritt Point South Historic District (N39o6’32” W94o32’42”) includes Judge’s Row along Gladstone Boulevard south of The Concourse city park. There are 121 buildings contributing, dating to 1887. It is generally bordered by Bellefontaine Avenue on the west, Independence Boulevard on the south, Benton Boulevard on the East, and Anderson Avenue on the north. Houses on Anderson Avenue, Benton Boulevard, Gladstone Boulevard, Lexington Avenue, Smart Avenue, and Thompson Avenue are within the historic district. It adjoins the Bellefontaine Avenue Historic District. Gladstone Boulevard and Benton Boulevard within the Historic District are part of the Kansas City Parks and Boulevards Historic District, as are the adjacent Concourse Park and Anderson Avenue Bridge.

Town of Kansas Site is at the north end of Main Street at the Town of Kansas bridge (approximate location N39o6’40” W94o35’0”), north of 2nd Street, on the Riverfront Heritage Trail. The town site was between the river and 2nd Street between Delaware and Grand Streets. A historic marker at the north end of Main Street describes the founding of Kansas City at the site.

The French visited and described the area as early as 1713. In 1790, Auguste Chouteau was given trading rights in the area with the Kanza Indians. Lewis and Clark passed by the area in 1804 and 1806. They gathered pawpaw on their return trip in 1806. Chouteau’s Landing, a fir trading post on the Kansas River from 1818 to 1838, Kit Carson and John James Audubon passed through the area. Chouteau’s wife, Berenice Chouteau, lived in the town of Kansas until her death in 1888.

Settlement began in 1832 when Francois Chouteau built a warehouse to store westbound steamboat goods. In 1833, the Town of Westport was founded. In 1834, Westport Landing was established to receive steamboat deliveries. Westport landing was the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail beginning in the late 1830s. It was also used later as a starting point for the California and Oregon trails. Westport Landing is a site on the California, Oregon, Santa Fe, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails. At the site, a rock ledge was used for riverboat landing.

The town prospered with the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848. In 1848, thousands went through Westport Landing on the way to the California gold rush. Beginning in 1855, the town of Kansas began taking down the bluff and by the 1870s, Main Street, Delaware, Walnut, and Market Streets had cut through the bluffs to the riverfront.  Also in the 1850s, hordes of people rushed through the city to establish the state of Kansas as either pro-slavery or abolitionist. The Gillis House Hotel, built in 1850 between Delaware and Wyandotte Streets on the bluff, housed many travelers after they disembarked at Westport Landing. In 1850, the Town of Kansas was chartered by Jackson County. Just west of Westport Landing was the first railroad bridge across the Missouri River. The Hannibal railroad bridge was completed in 1869. In 1889, the name was changed to Kansas City.

Traber Lafayette Garden (N39⁰6’46” W94⁰33’35”) is 1 acre on Pendleton Avenue, adjacent to and south of Kessler Park and north of Maple Park. This area is not currently being maintained as a garden (2020).

Joe Vaccaro Soda Water Manufacturing Company Building, 918-922 East 5th Street at Harrison Street (N39o6’38” W94o34’21”) dates to 1921. The building was part of the Kansas City Italian immigrant “colony.” In the building, the Vaccaro meeting hall provided a social gathering place and became the largest and most active reception hall in the Italian community of Kansas City. The Cliff Drive and Spirit of KC Scenic Byways Trail passes the building on 5th Street. The building is used for the Soda Lofts.

 

Natural and Cultural Features of Southern Kansas City, Part 2: Leawood, Overland Park, Prairie Village

southern KC Grandview Leawood

above link is to an orientation map of the area

This post includes parks in Kansas east of Metcalf Avenue and south of 71st Street.

National Historic Trail Sites

Santa Fe Trail Park (N38o59’54” W94o37’38”), 7727 Delmar Street in Prairie Village, features a disc golf course amid swales from the original Santa Fe Trail, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A National Historic Trails panel overlooks the trail ruts.

Weltner Park (N38o59’17” W94o36’31”) is at State Line Road and 78th Street in Prairie Village. National Historic Trail panels describe this location as the historic Nine-Mile Point, located 9 miles and 10 chains south of the mouth of the Kansas River. The first survey of the state line in 1823 indicated that the Santa Fe Trail crossed the state line at this point, after heading west from Swope Park area. The Santa Fe Trail was also surveyed a couple of years later, in 1825.

Johnson County Park

Meadowbrook Park (N38o57’42” W94o38’47”) is 80 acres on Nall Avenue at Somerset in Prairie Village. There are three miles of paved trails and three lakes, along with picnic shelters and a clubhouse.

Leawood

133rd Street shared-use trail extends from High Drive west to Nall Avenue.

137th Street Trail extends from Chadwick Road west to Nall Avenue.

143rd Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Aberdeen Street west to Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

Brook Beatty Park (N38o58’18” W94o36’57”) is on Lee Boulevard south of Meadow Lane and opposite of the 86th Terrace intersection. The small park has a playground adjacent to a stream. Trees include sycamore, redbud, and baldcypress.

City Park (N38o55’52” W94o37’6”) is 78 acres at 10601 Lee Boulevard just south of I-435. The park includes an aquatic center, soccer fields, tennis courts, baseball fields, and sand volleyball. The Indian Creek Greenway crosses the park.

Gezer Park (N38o53’13” W94o37’44”) is 10 acres at 133rd Street and Mission Road. A parking lot is on 133rd Street opposite Pawnee Lane. The park reflects the geography of Israel and is named after the Gezer Regional Council in Israel that participates as a sister city to Leawood. The park includes water features representing the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and Jordan River. Other features are a vineyard, Havdalah Gardens, and the Golan Heights. A replica of the Gezer Calendar, dating to 1600 BCE, which was excavated from the Tel Gezer archaeological site, is also in the park. A walking trail which circles the park passes many of the features, including a playground. Trees include London planetree, columnar juniper, eastern white pine, dawn redwood, shingle oak, and swamp white oak. A shared-use path along 133rd Street borders the park.

I-Lan Park (N38o54’5” W94o38’53”) is 11 acres at 125th Street and Nall Road, including 2 shelters, a playground, and a restroom. The park commemorates the sister city partnership of Leawood with I-Lan, a city and county in Taiwan. A bridge in the city in Taiwan has been named the Leawood Bridge. There is a Chinese-themed shelter and a public artwork, the Cloud Gate. The Tomahawk Creek bicycle-pedestrian trail and a bicycle-pedestrian loop are in the park.

Indian Creek Greenway extends from the Missouri State Line upstream to Mission Road, where it continues west into Overland Park. The greenway is part of the American Discovery Trail.

Ironwoods Park (N38o51’38” W94o37’28”) is 111 acres at 147th Street and Mission Road. In the park are the Prairie Oak Nature Center, Oxford School House, and walking trails. The paved walking trails are in two loops making a figure 8. A spur walking trail leads from the playground west to Mission Road. A second spur is a shared-use path extending from the amphitheater parking lot north to Norwood Street near 143rd Street. To the south of a pond is the unpaved Raccoon Hollow Nature trail, which is about 100 yards long. Historical panels at the park describe the Black Bob Shawnee Reservation and the Oxford Schoolhouse.

The Black Bob Shawnee Reservation was 33,400 acres, located in Indian Territory (present-day Kansas) west of New Santa Fe. The Shawnee were removed from east of the Mississippi and established a town near the Coffee Creek and Wolf Creek confluence, which is today north of 179th and Antioch. Lands of the reservation were allotted to individual tribal members before the Civil War. After the Civil War, reservation lands were occupied by whites, leading to legal disputes. In the 1870s, President Rutherford Hayes ordered the Shawnee to move to Oklahoma.

The Oxford Schoolhouse was moved to Ironwoods Park from Mission Road and 135th Street, just to the north. The park was part of the historic Oxford Township, which was bordered by 95th Street on the north, 167th Street on the south, Black Bob Road/Lackman Road on the west, and the Missouri state line on the east. The township is famous for the Oxford Fraud, which took place during the Kansas statehood organization in 1856. In the election of 1857, there were 1,628 pro-slavery votes cast in the township. Most of the names were revealed to be part of an old Cincinnati directory. The Secretary of State would not certify the election and Kansas threw out the votes. This angered southern Democrats, causing a split in the Democratic Party, and leading to the election of Lincoln, the candidate of the Republican Party, in 1860.

Lee Boulevard Trail extends from Mission Road east to Leawood City Park, passing the Leawood Wastewater Facility.

Leawoof Dog Park (N38o55’59” W94o36’42”) is 8 acres accessible from Leawood City Park by crossing the bridge on the Indian Creek Greenway Trail.

Tomahawk Creek Greenway is 4.1 miles, extending from the Indian Creek Greenway at College Boulevard southwest to I-Lan Park. The trail continues into Overland Park. A spur leads from Tomahawk Park east to the intersection of 123rd Street and Mission Road.

Tomahawk Park (N38o54’40” W94o38’2”) is on 119th Street between Mission Road and Tomahawk Creek Parkway. It includes a playground and a section of the Tomahawk Creek Greenway.

Town Center Drive Shared-Use Trail extends from Nall Avenue to Tomahawk Creek Parkway.

The Herman J. and Ella B. Voights House (private), 2405 West 103rd Street (N38o56’30” W94o37’10”), is listed on the NRHP as an example of prairie-style architecture. It dates to 1923.

Overland Park

110th Street Trail leads west from Nall avenue to Lamar Avenue, passing by the Overland Park Convention Center.

135th Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Nall Avenue west to Lamar Street.

137th Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Chadwick Road in Leawood west to Lamar Avenue in Overland Park.

141st Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Lamar Avenue west to Metcalf Avenue.

143rd Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Aberdeen Street in Leawood west to Metcalf Avenue.

159th Street Shared-Use Trail extends from Mission Road west to Metcalf Avenue.

Beth Torah Park (N38o54’4” W94o39’27”) is 12 acres between Lamar Avenue and 127th Street. A greenway bicycle-pedestrian trail follows an unnamed tributary to Tomahawk Creek and passes the confluence with Tomahawk Creek. Access is from Lamar Avenue. Trees include hackberry, walnut, bur oak, chinkapin oak, black oak, sycamore, elm, and ash.

Creekside Park (N38o50’45” W94o39’7”) is 20 acres at 15599 Nall Avenue, between Nall Avenue and Lamar Avenue. Near Nall Avenue is a playground. One paved greenway trail extends from Nall Avenue or Reeds Street to Beverly Street and across it to a dead end between 156th and 157th Street. A second follows the creek to Lamar Avenue. The greenway trails follow a riparian area along Negro Creek and a tributary creek.

Empire Estates Park (N38o57’8” W94o38’22”) is 1 acre at 9640 Roe Avenue, between 97th Street and Catalina Street, including a playground. A riparian area and stream are behind the playground. Trees include pin oak, maple, and swamp white oak.

Foxhill North Park (N38o56’12” W94o38’8”) is 21 acres at 10600 Indian Creek Parkway, along the Indian Creek Greenway Trail east of Roe Avenue. It includes a playground and soccer field.

Foxhill South Park (N38o55’52” W94o37’58”) is 6 acres at the end of El Monte Street, providing a parking lot for the Indian Creek Greenway.

Green Meadows Park (N38o50’59” W94o39’31”) is 18 acres at 15401 Beverly Court, featuring a playground and 0.7-mile trail. The trail extends from Glenwood Avenue southeast to the greenway in Creekside Park, which extends to Nall Avenue. Access points to the greenway are Beverly Court north of 156th Street, 153rd Street at 152nd Terrace, Lamar Avenue between 153rd Street and 155th Street, and Glenwood Avenue at 152nd Street. The greenway follows a riparian area along Negro Creek.

Hawthorne Valley Park (N38o54’20” W94o38’31”) is 14 acres at 12300 Roe Avenue. The Tomahawk Creek greenway trail crosses the park.

Indian Creek Greenway extends from Foxhill South Park along Indian Creek to Roe Park, continuing through Nall Hills Park, James Place Park, and Pinehurst East Park, crossing under Metcalf Avenue. It is part of the American Discovery Trail.

James Place Park (N38o56’25” W94o39’40”) is 16 acres along Indian Creek between 103rd Street and Lamar Avenue. There is a playground and picnic shelter. Access is by following Indian Creek bicycle-pedestrian trail south of 103rd Street, adjacent to the entrance road into Promise and Indian Creek nursing facilities. Indian Creek Greenway Trail crosses the park.

Lamar Avenue Shared-Use Path extends from 150th Street north to 133rd Street.

Linwood Park (N38o56’56” W94o37’55”) is 3 acres behind the Reverend Robert and Shirley Meneilly Center for Mission of Village Presbyterian Church. The park includes a playground. Access is from 99th Street. Maple, sweetgum, and red oak trees surround the playground.

Metcalf Avenue Shared-Use Trail extends in four sections. One section extends north from College Boulevard north to 87th Street. A second section extends from the Tomahawk Creek greenway south to 141st Street. A third section extends from 147th Street south to 149th Street. A fourth section extends from 152nd Terrace south to 159th Street.

Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, 5801 West 115th Street, #106, is a partner site of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

Nall Avenue Trail extends from 159th Street north to Creekside Park, and 137th Street north to Indian Creek.

Nall Park south to 135th Street, connecting the Indian Creek Greenway, Tomahawk Creek Greenway, 110th Street Trail, 133rd Street Trail, and 135th Street Trail.

Nall Park (N38o56’18” W94o38’50”) is 13 acres at 10440 Nall Avenue, featuring a playground and soccer field. The Indian Creek Greenway Trail crosses the park.

Nall Hills Park (N38o56’20” W94o39’4”) is 28 acres at 5501 Indian Creek Drive. The park includes a playground. The Indian Creek Greenway Trail crosses the park. A historical panel to the south of Indian Creek near Nall Avenue describes John Nall, a 19th century resident of the area. Nall was a native of North Carolina who settled in Johnson County after 1859. His farm was locally famous for its fruit, and he sold peaches at the City Market. At the north end of Nall Avenue (at 49th Street) was the Shawnee Baptist Mission, where a magazine was published in the Shawnee language from 1835 to 1844. In modern times, major developments that have taken place along Nall Avenue include the headquarters of the NCAA and Sprint (now T-Mobile).  The Nall Hills subdivision was an early suburban development in Johnson County. The area is also the demographic center of the Kansas City Jewish community, with many institutions located along Nall. A second historical panel on the north side of Indian Creek near Lamar Avenue describes Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, for whom the street was named. He was a Mississippian who never visited the area. Lamar served in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, was involved in the 1876 compromise that placed Rutherford B. Hayes in the presidency and ended Reconstruction in the South. He was secretary of Interior under President Grover Cleveland and served on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nottingham Downs Park (N38o59’24” W94o38’41”) is 14 acres between Lamar Avenue and 123rd Street. A greenway bicycle-pedestrian trail leads from Lamar Avenue just south of 125th Street north to 123rd Street, with an additional access at Walmer Street.  Scattered picnic tables are along the greenway, which features a riparian area with a rocky stream, a tributary to Tomahawk Creek. Trees include honey locust, hackberry, bur oak, swamp white oak, shagbark hickory, chinkapin oak, and walnut.

Osage Park (N38o58’19” W94o39’34”) is 6 acres at 87th Street and Lamar Street, including a walking path, playground, and shelter. A parking lot is on 87th Street. Trees include sycamore, sugar maple, swamp white oak, mulberry, pin oak, golden rain tree, hackberry, elm, red oak, walnut, ash, ginkgo, and white oak.

Pinehurst East Park (N38o56’32” W94o39’53”) is 12 acres at 10210 Glenwood Road. The Indian Creek Greenway Trail crosses the park.

Museum at Prairiefire (N38o52’55” W94o39’8”) is a partner site of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

Prairie View Park (N38o59’43” W94o39’9”) is 2 acres at Outlook Street and 74th Street west of Nall Avenue. Access is from 74th Street and via a walkway from the end of Reeds Lane north of 75th Street. There is a basketball court, picnic shelter, and playground. A riparian area and tributary to Brush Creek are crossed by a bridge. Trees include red oak, white pine, hackberry, pin oak, and swamp white oak.

Regency Lake Park (N38o51’35” W94o39’40”) is 14 acres at 14800 Lamar Street, featuring a playground, picnic tables, fishing piers, and a ½ mile trail encircling the lake.

Roe Park (N38o56’22” W94o38’29”) is 41 acres at 10400 Roe Avenue, including a splash pad, tennis courts, soccer fields, and shelters. The Indian Creek Greenway Trail crosses the park, and a spur trail loops around the park and leads to 103rd Street.

Tomahawk Creek Greenway is 149 acres and extends from the Indian Creek greenway just south of College Avenue south to Tomahawk Park at 119th Street, Hawthorne Valley Park at Roe Avenue, and I-Lan Park at Nall Avenue. It continues southwest and crosses Metcalf Avenue.

Wilderness Lake Park (N38o50’15” W94o38’28”) is 17 acres at 16001 Rosewood Drive, including a playground, picnic tables, and a 0.6-mile trail which encircles a stocked fishing lake. Access is from 161st street and 163rd Terrace.

Prairie Village

Bennett Park (N38o59’24” W94o38’41”) is at 77th Street and Rosewood Drive, featuring baseball fields, a picnic area, a loop trail, and playground equipment. Trees include shingle oak, red elm, redbud, Siberian elm, serviceberry, ginkgo, and honey locust.

Ralph E. Carroll Memorial Plaza (N38o59’36” W94o37’50”) is at the northwest corner of West 75th Street and Mission Road, featuring a fountain and plantings. Golden rain tree, red cedar, and swamp white oak provide shade.

Franklin Park (N38o58’15” W94o38’21”) is 12 acres at Roe Avenue and Somerset Drive, featuring a picnic pavilion and ballfield. The park is part of the Prairie Village Arboretum. Trees include royal star magnolia, dawn redwood, ginkgo, Kousa dogwood, paper bark maple, Pacific sunset maple, constellation dogwood, honey locust, Kentucky coffeetree, serviceberry, red oak, hackberry, bald cypress, swamp white oak, pin oak, and shingle oak. A row of Osage orange trees extends through the center of the park. A shared-use path extends south to Meadowbrook Park along Roe Avenue and north along Somerset Drive to Mission Road.

Harmon Park (N38o59’18” W94o38’0”) is 18 acres at West 77th Place and Delmar Street, featuring a pool, trails, playground, tennis courts, and a community garden. Adjacent to the south is Santa Fe Trail Park (N38o59’54” W94o37’38”), 7727 Delmar Street, featuring a disc golf course. Santa Fe Trail Park includes swales from the original Santa Fe Trail, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A National Historic Trail panel overlooks the trail ruts. To the east of Santa Fe Trail Park is Skate Park (N38o59’22” W94o37’50), a skateboard area between the City Hall, art gallery, community center, and fire station. Trees include honey locust and maple.

Mission Road Shared-Use Trail extends from Somerset to 71st Street.

Porter Park (N38o59’45” W94o38’22”) is 8 acres at Roe Avenue and Tomahawk Road, featuring baseball, soccer, a picnic shelter, and walking paths. It is the former location of Porter School. With Franklin Park, it serves as the Prairie Village Arboretum. A trail along Tomahawk Road extends north to 71st Street. Brush Creek forms the park boundary on the east. Trees that may be viewed include shingle oak, chinkapin oak, overcup oak, American hornbeam, sycamore, London plane tree, white pine, Kentucky coffeetree, tuliptree, littleleaf linden, Jane magnolia, serviceberry, black tupelo, paper bark maple,  frontier elm, ginkgo, black walnut, sweetgum, redbud, golden rain tree, and sweet magnolia.

Roe Avenue Shared-Use Trail extends from Meadowbrook Park to Somerset Drive.

Somerset Shared-Use Path extends from Roe Avenue to Mission Road.

Talliaferro Park, formerly Meadow Lake Park (N38o59’12” W94o37’10) is at 2900 West 79th Street between Norwood Drive and Aberdeen Street, featuring a trail, picnic tables, tennis court, basketball, soccer, and baseball. Trees include honey locust and linden.

Tomahawk Road Shared-Use Path extends from Roe Avenue to Oxford Road

Weltner Park (N38o59’17” W94o36’31”) is at State Line Road and 78th Street, featuring basketball, volleyball, and picnic areas. National Historic Trail panels describe this location as the historic Nine-Mile Point, located 9 miles and 10 chains south of the mouth of the Kansas River.

Windsor Park (N38o59’54” W94o37’38”) is 6 acres at 7200 Windsor Street. The park is between Windsor Street and St. Ann Catholic School, featuring tennis, volleyball, picnic pavilion, baseball diamond, picnic shelter, and playground. A walking trail passes labeled trees and includes several bridges over a tributary to Brush Creek. Parking is along Windsor Street at Canterbury Street. Trees include black oak, American hophornbeam, American elm, American linden, Amur maple, baldcypress, black cherry, black oak, white pine, ginkgo, northern red oak, Nuttall oak, white oak, pin oak, shingle oak, mulberry, and Kentucky coffeetree.

Iberian Sclerophyllous and Semi-Deciduous Forests

Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests include holm oak forests mostly transformed into an agricultural landscape of olive and almond groves. In wilder spots, a dense shrubland called maquis is found. There are wild olive and carob woodlands. A number of endangered animals are hanging on in the ecoregion, including the Iberian lynx, the Spanish imperial eagle, and the great bustard. Wolves are also present. An endemic shrub, Securineia tinctora, is found in the Guadiana and Tajo river basins.

World Heritage Sites

Alhambra, Generalife, and Albayzin World Heritage Site (N37o11’ W3o35’) recognizes the remains of Arabic Spain from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The Alhambra (red castle) has been called Spain’s most beautiful monument and one of the best examples of Islamic art and architecture in the world.

The Alhambra was built in 1333 as a fortified castle and was used as a royal palace. It was modified by Christians in 16th century. The structure reflects the last centuries of Muslim rule in Spain. It is the only completely preserved complex from the Islamic period. After the Christian conquest in 1527, Charles V built a Renaissance palace within the Alhambra which sharply contrasts with the rest of the complex, and the mosque was replaced by a church. In 1829 the American writer Washington Irving stayed at the Alhambra and was instrumental in publicizing it to the world.

The Generalife was the vegetable garden and rural residence of the emirs, known for intelligent use of water from an aqueduct.

The Alhambra and Albayzin are on two adjacent hills, separated by the Darro River. The Albayzin has been continuously occupied since the Arabic period. A residential district that retains its Moorish vernacular architecture, it is a medieval town with narrow streets and small squares, the best illustration of Moorish town planning. It was enhanced by Christian contributions of Spanish Renaissance and Baroque elements.

Historic Center of Évora World Heritage Site (N38o34’ W7o54’) protects the medieval walled city that was undamaged during the 1755 earthquake that devastated other cities. Within the city are 20 centuries of history, but Évora’s golden age was the 15th century, when it was the residence of Portuguese kings. It is the finest example of the architecture of the golden age of Portugal and was the model for the architecture of much of Brazil. Ruins of the royal palace of Évora are in the public gardens. Still visible today are the Roman temple and the Roman aqueduct, the 13th century Cathedral of Évora, and the 15th century Santa Clara convent, São Francisco convent and church (including the Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones), and São João Evangelista church and Os Lóios Convent. At the Capela dos Ossos, the walls are covered with skulls and bones. The center of town is Giraldo Square. Along the streets are whitewashed houses decorated with tiles (azuelos) and wrought-iron balconies from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Biosphere Reserve

Parque Natural de la Sierra de Grazalema is an International Biosphere Reserve with limestone caverns, high peaks, and rare plants and animals including the endemic Spanish fir and Egyptian vultures. Cork oak and holm oak groves are present. Rainfall in the park is noted as the highest in Spain. White villages within the park include:

  • Zahara de la Sierra (N36o50’ W5o24’), a high elevation town with a view of a reservoir and a castle built in the 13th century by the Moors.
  • Grazalema (N36o46’ W5o22’), a high elevation village built in the Moslem era. It is famous for textiles made from wool. The main square has a church, bars, and restaurants.

Other sites:

Convento do Espinheiro Hotel, Évora, Portugal (N38o36’5” W7o53’20”) dates to 1458 on the site where an apparition of the Virgin Mary was seen above a thorn bush (espinheiro). The facility was visited frequently by Portuguese royalty.

Monsaraz (N38o26’36” W7o22’51”) is a medieval walled town on an isolated mountaintop in eastern Portugal. Dramatic views are possible from the town and the fort. Medieval fortifications enclose a castle and the town and were built in the 12th to 14th centuries. Additional fortifications were added in the 17th century after the restoration of Portuguese independence. The new fortifications were responsive to the invention of firearms. In the former town hall of the municipality of Monsaraz is the Museu do Fresco. The frescoe was discovered in 1958 during renovations to the structure and was located behind a wall. It is believed to date to the 14th century and depicts good and bad government similar to a 1340 painting in Siena, Italy. Also in town is the House of the Inquisition, which contains a museum about Jewish residents prior to the Reconquest.

Olivenza, Extremadura Autonomous Region, Spain (N38o41’ W7o6’) is administered as part of Extremadura but is claimed by Portugal based on treaties dating back to 1297. Although the Guadiana River is the de facto boundary between the two countries, the border is not shown on a Portuguese highway map purchased in Lisbon (Turinta Mapas, Portugal, 1:600.000), suggesting the boundary is in dispute. The town contains Manueline (Portuguese) architecture, and the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena exemplifies this architectural style.

A city since Roman times, Ronda (N36o45’ W5o10’) is the largest of Andalucia’s white villages, with a population of was conquered first by the Berbers in 713 and then by the Christians in 1485. A railroad was completed to the mountain town (elevation 2,460 feet) from Algeciras in 1892 to provide relief from the heat of Gibraltar in the summer. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles spent time in the city.

Arab baths at the entrance to city in the river gorge at Ronda (El Tajo) are the best preserved in Spain. The baths are at the confluence of the Culebras Creek with the Guadelevín River, which ensured a reliable water supply. The Arab baths were used as steam baths. It was obligatory for all outsiders visiting the city to use them. The baths were in an area of small shops including potters and tanners.

The Puente Nuevo (New bridge) was completed over the Rio Guadelevín in 1793. It is 390 feet above El Tajo canyon floor. The former town hall is now a hotel adjacent to the bridge.

Plaza de Toros de Ronda is the oldest bull ring in Spain, dating to 1572. The current complex contains a horse-training facility and a museum of bullfighting in addition to the bull ring.

The Museum of Ronda is in Mondragon Palace, which was the palace of Moorish kings after 1314. It exhibits three architectural styles, including a Mudehar-style patio, Castillian-style patio, and Noble Hall, with a flat alfarje ceiling. Exhibits track the archaeological history of the area from caves in the mountains dating to 500,000 years before present through the Late Antiquity period after the Romans.

Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria, Ronda (N36o44’48” W5o10’10”) was built in 1906 on a cliff overlooking the mountains. It was the residence of the poet and writer Rainer Maria Rilke, who was born in Prague and wrote in the German language on existential themes.

 

Southwest Iberian Mediterranean sclerophyllous and mixed forests

Southwest Iberian Mediterranean sclerophyllous and mixed forests (PA 1221) are found on the Atlantic coastal strip of southern Portugal and Spain, especially in the Guadiana, Tajo, and Guadalquivir River basins. The most common forest is of cork oaks, mixed with other genera such as Laurus, Arbutus, Erica, and Ilex. Holm oak and holly oak are also common. Scleroophyllous forests typically have evergreen leaves, which are thick and leathery and small to conserve water.

World Heritage Sites within this ecoregion include:

Monastery of Batalha World Heritage Site, Leiria District,Portugal (N39o39’33” W8o49’34”) was constructed at the end of the 14th century. It is considered a masterpiece of Gothic art. King John I built the structure in gratitude for a victory at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 over the Castilians, in which King John obtained the throne and independence of Portugal. In the chapel are the tombs of the king and his wife, as well as his sons.

Complex of Belem (Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belem) World Heritage Site, Lisbon Municipality, Portugal, includes the Tower of Belem (Torre de Belem) and the Jeronimos Monastery (Hieronymites Monastery). Both commemorate Portuguese power in the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Tower of Belem (N38o41’30” W9o12’57”) was built on a small island from 1514 to 1520 for defense of the Tagus estuary and is considered an architectural jewel of its time. It commemorates the maritime discoveries of Portugal and is a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. The nearby Hieronymites Monastery (N38o41’50” W9o12’25”) was built to provide spiritual assistance to seafarers and to pray for the king.

The University of Coimbra World Heritage Site, Coimbra District, Portugal (N40o12’30’ W8o25’30”), includes the hilltop campus and botanical gardens of the university (Alta area), including the hilltop the Royal Palace of Alcazaba (Paco das Escolas or University Palace) and the Joanine Library with baroque décor and documents extending back to medieval times; as well as buildings along Sofia Street (N40o12’44” W8o25’47”) including the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Cruz. As the country’s oldest university (dating from 1290), Coimbra played a key role in the institutional and architectural development of universities throughout the Portuguese colonies. It has outstanding universal value as a university city hilltop location for the Portuguese world encompassing four continents in the colonial era.

Historic Center of Córdoba World Heritage Site, Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain, includes the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, the Judería, the Roman Bridge, the Torre de la Calahorra, and Molino de Albolafia (flour mills). Other notable sites are the Sinagoga, Caballerizas Reales (Royal Stables), and Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos (Fortress of Christian Monarchs). This area became urban in Roman times and has subsequently been occupied for thousands of years by Visigoth, Islam, Judaism, and Christian peoples. In the 8th century, 300 mosques, other palaces, and other public buildings were built in the city, and Cordoba was the main urban and cultural focus of the western world.

  • Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba (N37o52’45” W4o46’45”), or the Great Mosque, is one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings and the most important monument in the western Islamic world. Construction began in 786 and it was expanded to its current size in 991. Unique features are double arches in the roof, a ribbed vault with intertwined arches, and 856 columns, some recycled from Roman ruins, to hold up the arches. The arches have a distinctive terracotta and white-striped pattern. An intricate mihrab, or prayer niche, faces Mecca. With the conquest of Córdoba in 1236, the mosque was converted into a church. The church is known as the Capilla Mayor, and is a Gothic chapel built completely inside of the mosque in the 15th A Renaissance cathedral was built inside the mosque in the 16th and 17th centuries. Entrance to the Mosque-Cathedral is through the Patio of the Oranges, which has orange trees and fountains.
  • Judería (Jewish Quarter) is to the west and north of the Great Mosque. The narrow cobblestone streets and whitewashed walls are typical of Andalusia. However, there are also the Courtyard Houses of Córdoba, which are distinctive in being communal and built around interior courtyards. This design is believed to be of Roman origin. The Andalusian touch is the hanging flower gardens that adorn the walls of the courtyards, with a fountain in the middle and a well to catch rainwater. Some patios date to the 10th The annual Courtyards Festival in May is a World Heritage Event.
  • Puente Romano (Roman bridge) features 16 arches and its appearance was enhanced by an 8th century Moorish reconstruction. It was featured in the Game of Thrones television series. Today it is a pedestrian-only bridge.
  • Museum Torre de la Calahorra (N37o52’32” W4o46’36”) is in a tower built to protect the Roman bridge and guard the entrance to the city that is noted during the Islamic Period. In 1369, additions were made to make the tower a more effective defensive structure. The museum features exhibits on life in Córdoba during the 10th century when Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived there.
  • Molino de Albolafia includes a water wheel which has been on the city logo since the 13th They are first believed to be built by Romans but are also known to have carried water to the Emir’s palaces in the Islamic period. They were taken out of operation during the Christian reconquest.
  • Sinagoga dates to 1315 and was believed to be a family synagogue.
  • Caballerizas Reales date to 1567.
  • Alcazar de los Reyes Christianos is the palace where Ferdinand and Isabella met Columbus and dates to the 13th and 14th

Cathedral, Alcázar, and Archivo de Indies in Seville World Heritage Site (N37o23’0” W5o59’30”) commemorates three adjacent buildings in Seville, Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain. Together, they are an exceptional testimony to the civilization of Islamic and Christian Andalusia. The sites epitomize the Spanish golden age, with vestiges of Islamic culture, Christian ecclesiastical power, royal sovereignty, and trading power.

  • Real Alcázar and Gardens of Sevilla, begun in the 10th century as the palace of the Moslem governor, was reconstructed on the same site by Moorish workers working for the Christian King, Peter the Cruel of Castile, in the 1360s. It is currently used as the Spanish royal family residence when in Seville and is the oldest royal palace in Europe still being used. The palatial buildings and extensive garden display cultural treasures from the Renaissance to Neoclassical periods. It is directly associated with the discovery of the New World and its colonization, for within the Alcazar is Cuarto del Almirante, or Admiral’s Hall, headquarters of the House of Trade with the Americas, where plans for history’s greatest expeditions were made, including Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. The Italian Renaissance gardens extend south from the Alcazar. Episodes of the Game of Thrones TV series were filmed at the Alcazar.
  • Jewish Quarter (Santa Cruz district) occupies the city adjacent to the Alcazar. A wall was constructed to separate Jews from the rest of the city following the Reconquest. After 1391, most Jews left after the reconquest persecuted the population of non-Christians.
  • Catedral de Sevilla (Cathedral of St. Mary of the See) is the largest Gothic cathedral (seat of the bishop) in the world and one of the largest churches in the world. It was constructed from 1184 to 1198 as a mosque. Following the reconquest in 1248, the mosque was used as a Cathedral. The Gothic Cathedral was constructed between 1434 and 1517. In the 1500s, Renaissance-period works were added, and in the 1600s Baroque phases were added. Inside the cathedral are several tombs, including that of Christopher Columbus. Giralda Tower on the east wall is the former minaret of the mosque and is now used as the bell tower of the cathedral. It dates to 1195 and is considered a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The top of the tower can be reached by a walkway of 34 ramps and a final flight of stairs.
  • The General Archive of the Indies dates to 1598 and contains valuable historic documents on the colonization of the Americas. The building is Spanish Renaissance architecture and is between the Cathedral and Alcazar.

The Cultural Landscape of Sintra, Lisbon District, Portugal, is described as “an extraordinary and unique complex of parks, gardens, palaces, country houses, monasteries and castles, which create an architecture that harmonizes with the exotic and overgrown vegetation, creating micro-landscapes of exotic and luxuriant beauty…This syncretism between nature and ancient monuments, villas and quintas [estates] with monasteries and chalets influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.” (https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/723 ). The following properties are included in the World Heritage site:

  • The Convent of the Capuchos (Arrabalde convent) (N38o47’3” W9o26’17”) was founded in 1374, destroyed in a 1755 earthquake, rebuilt, and abandoned in 1834.
  • The Chalet and Garden of the Countess of Edla (N38o47’6” W9o23’57”) was built as a retreat in the 19th century for King Fernando II and his future wife, the Countess of Edla.
  • The Park and Palace of Montserrate (N38o47’40” W9o25’15”) was built in the 19th century and is considered one of the most beautiful architectural and landscape Romantic properties in Portugal. The Farmyard of Monserrate served the palace of Montserrate and today is managed to reflect the cultural heritage of agriculture in the region.
  • The Moorish Castle (N38o47’33” W9o23’21”) was built in the 8th and 9th
  • The Park and Palace of Pena (N38o47’15” W9o23’25”) are the greatest expression of European Romanticism in Portugal, built by King Ferdinand II in the 19th It is one of the seven wonders of Portugal. The gardens contain 500 tree species. The Pena Farm and Stables were used for carriage rides and contain a hillside planted with tea.
  • The National Palace of Sintra (N38o47’51” W9o23’26”) is in the town center. A grandiose and magnificent palace of the kings of Portugal, it is the best preserved medieval royal residence in Portugal. It was built as a Moorish fort in the 11th century, conquered by Christians in 1147, and improved by various kings from 1281 to the 16th The silhouette has remained the same since the 16th century. The palace retains geometric tiles and arched windows of Moorish era. Distinctive cone-shaped chimneys are visible in the kitchen area. One of the most important features of the national palace is facing with tiles, the finest example on the Iberian Peninsula. Management of the state-owned property is by Parques de Sintra-Monte da Lua, S.A., a non-profit corporation.
  • Other buildings in the World Heritage site are the Palace of Seteais (late 18th /early 19th century), the Regaleira estate (late 17th century), the Town Hall (early 20th century), and 4 churches in Sintra.

International Biosphere Reserve in the ecoregion:

Parque Natural de la Sierra de Grazalema, Cádiz Province, Autonomous Community of Andalusia, Spain, is an International Biosphere Reserve with limestone caverns, high peaks, and rare plants and animals including the endemic Spanish fir and Egyptian vultures. Cork oak and holm oak groves are present. Rainfall in the park is noted as the highest in Spain.  White villages within the park include:

  • Quesos El Bosqueño (N36o45’ E5o31’), an artisan cheese-making factory in the village of El Bosque (the forest), which makes traditional cheeses from goat and sheep milk.
  • Zahara de la Sierra (N36o50’ W5o24’), a high elevation town with a view of a reservoir and a castle built in the 13th century by the Moors.

Other sites in the ecoregion of note include:

Coimbra District, Portugal

Conimbriga Museum and Archaeological Park (N40o5’57” W8o29’37”), Condeixa-a-Nova, Portugal, preserves the remains of a large Roman settlement, which was constructed by the Romans from their arrival in 139 BC until barbarian invasions in 468. It is considered the best-preserved Roman ruin in Portugal.  The walled settlement was served by an aqueduct, baths, and Roman road, which can still be viewed. The Repuxos House (Fountain House) contains a garden with original irrigation system and 500 water jets which are still operational.

Pousada de Coindeixa Coimbra, Condeixa-a-Nova (N40o7’2” W8o29’4”), is a restored building used as a hotel on the site of the 16th century former palace of the Almadas, a noble family.

Evora District, Portugal

Cromeleque dos Almendres (N38o33’27” W8o3’40”) is a double circle of 95 stones erected about 5000 B.C. This makes it 2,000 years older than Stonehenge and the oldest megalithic monument in Europe. The monument is associated with the development of Neolithic communities in Europe. The stones’ flattened side faces the sun, and some have geometric carvings. The stone circles are a short walk from a parking area on a hilltop forested with cork oak trees. The hilltop is the drainage dividing line of the three largest rivers in Portugal, the Tagus, Sado, and Guadiana. The site is accessible from the village of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe via signed dirt roads. On the drive to the parking area is another marked side trail to the Menhir dos Almendres (N38o33’50” W8o2’54”), a single granite monolith rising 4 meters. A line from the menhir to the stone circle marks sunrise in the summer solstice.

Lisbon District, Portugal

Palace of the Arches (Vila Gale Collection Palacio dos Arcos, Paco de Arcos, Oeiras Municipality, Lisbon District, Portugal), is a hotel built in the 15th century; the king watched ships leaving for India from the balcony. The current hotel is dedicated to Portuguese poetry, with verses from famous poetry on the walls of public areas. Public gardens are adjacent to the palace (N38o41’48” W9o17’21”).

Lisbon Municipality sites include:

  • National Azuelejo (Tile) Museum (N38o43’28” W9o6’50”) displays hundreds of ornate patterns in the rooms of the former Convent of Madre Deus, 1509. The decorative tiles date from the 15th century to the present. Also, ceramics and porcelain are also displayed.
  • The Alfama District (N38o43’ W9o8’) of Lisbon is a former Muslim district with a maze of narrow streets and home of Fado music.
  • Restoration Square (Restauradores) (N38o43’ W9o8’30”) and Baixa District (downtown) including the Santa Justa elevator. The name celebrates the restoration of the independence of Portugal in 1640, after 60 years of having a shared king with Spain.
  • Parque Eduardo VII (N38o43’50” W9o9’17”) provides a panoramic view of Lisbon and the Tejo (Tagos) River from a hill above the city. It was named for an English king who visited in 1902.

Parque Natural Sintra-Cascais is 14,583 ha and includes megalithic monuments, the Guincho-Oitavas dunes, Guincho Beach, Ribafria estate, Ramalhao Palace, the Sanctuary of Peninha, and the Cultural Landscape of Sintra World Heritage Site. It is the westernmost point on the European continent. The Cultural Landscape of Sintra World Heritage Site (see) is within this park. Also, the coastal overlook, rocky coastline, and wildflowers at Cape Raso, Guincho Beach, Cascais Municipality (N38o43’ W9o29’), are part of the park. A view to the north is of Cape Roca, the westernmost point in the European continent.

National Palace and Gardens of Queluz (N38o45’0” W9o15’30”), Sintra Municipality, Lisbon District, Portugal, is a royal residence located west of Lisbon. It is a landmark of both Portuguese architecture and landscape design from the 18th and 19th centuries and includes baroque, rococo, and neoclassical influence. It is sometimes compared with Versailles. The structure was built as a summer palace in 1747 and transferred to state management in 1908. The Queluz Gardens surround the palace on three sides and include a botanical garden, a channel for boat or gondola rides, a maze garden, hanging garden, and Malta garden. Management of the state-owned property is by Parques de Sintra-Monte da Lua, S.A., a non-profit corporation.

Santarém District, Portugal

Campanhia das Lezirias is a state-run farm located at the confluence of the Tagus and Sado Rivers. It is currently 20,000 ha in area and is managed for agriculture (rice), cattle, breeding of Lusitano horses (the oldest saddle horse breed in the world), and forestry.  The farm includes the Estate Monte de Braco de Prata (restaurant, horse sports activity center, and stud farm (N38o52’47” W8o51’45”), the cork oak forest (N38o49’ W8o51’), and the Catapereiro Winery (N38o48’47” W8o52’56”).

Cádiz Province, Andalusia, Spain

Arcos de la Frontera (N36o44’52” W5o48’24”) is dramatically positioned on a rocky cliff above the Guadalete River. There is a tangled labyrinth of cobblestone streets with a castle at the high point. The castle has shields of the Dukes of Arcos on the outside. An overlook and hotel are adjacent to the castle. The town was at the frontier in the 13th century battles with the Moors.

Seville Province, Andalusia, Spain

Hotel Inglaterra, Sevilla, is an 1857 hotel is located on Plaza Nueva (N37o23’20” W5o59’45”), opposite the city hall. It features a rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city including the cathedral. In the 19th century, monarchs visiting Seville stayed at the Iglaterra Inn. Behind the city hall was a prison that held Cervantes. During his time in jail in 1598 he conceived the idea of Don Quixote, the most influential work of Spanish literature.

Plaza de España, Sevilla (N37o22’35” W5o59’10”), was built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 as a semi-circular brick building in the Renaissance style. It was the location for the filming of movies such as Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia. Today it offers a park-like setting along the Guadalquivir River.