• Bandstand, Grandstand, and Clubhouse – Longview Farm

    This is the eighth post in a multi-part series about Longview Farm in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. 

    A horse show held at the race track. Look how full the stands are!

    General Info:

    • Built: 1916
    • Modifications: None known
    • Disused: Unknown
    • Razed: 1980s, some parts of the track were never formally torn down and may still exist.
    • Size: Unknown – the grandstand was 125 feet long
    • Location: Make the tree line into a complete oval. The bandstand was exactly where the interior of the traffic circle is now. The grandstand and clubhouse were immediately to the west of that by about 100 feet.
    • Listed on NRHP: No

    Function and Features

    The clubhouse and grandstand in the early 20's.

    As horses were a major part of the farm’s heritage, it might make sense that there would be a horse racing facility on the grounds. It’s true, there was a half-mile track on the farm. However, it might not have been used to the extent that was expected, since Longview was primarily a show horse farm and not a race horse facility.

    The structures built around the race track, the bandstand, grandstand, and clubhouse, contrast the style used for every other building on the farm. While you could say the other buildings on the farm were of a Colonial Revival style, you couldn’t say the same for these structures. Yes, they shared the same tiled roof that was everywhere, but they were constructed out of logs, with the grandstand and clubhouse looking very much like log cabins structures.  They were built later than most of the buildings on the farm, as they completed in 1916.

    A detail that really shows the log cabin structure.

    Through the early years, the race track was used mainly for private charity events and horse workouts. The middle of the track functioned a polo field, and the track itself was built to regulation and modeled after North Memphis Driving Park, which itself has long been closed.

    The structures were there to hold a crowd – the grandstand could hold 1,500 people and had room for 10 horse stalls underneath. The bandstand could hold up to a 20-piece band.

    It is unclear when the racing track facility became disused. The HABS pictures would indicate that it was probably at least 20 years before 1978, although I feel that it was probably abandoned long before that. The elements, lack of maintenance, and vandalism all contributed to these structures not being listed on the NRHP. In fact, the bandstand was already torn down by 1985.

    Vandals appeared to have left their mark in 1970, which was 8 years before this picture was taken.


    The replica bandstand as it appears today.

    The structures may be gone now, but the development of New Longview sought to emulate the historical fabric of the structures. The shape of Pergola Park Drive and Grandstand Circle follow the shape of the track for the most part, albeit with a much smaller radius. At the corner of Grandstand Circle and Rockbridge Drive, a structure has been built that appears to have the exact same foundation size as the bandstand. It’s not the original though, as the original foundation was much taller.

    Additional Photos

    Horse stalls underneath the grandstand.

    Looking towards the clubhouse.

    The bandstand on the interior of the track.

    Deterioration on the porch.

    The bandstand in 1978. Look at the height of the foundation and size of the stones. It's not the same as the one there today.

    The interior of the bandstand.

    The corner of Rockbridge and Grandstand, where the replica Bandstand foundation sits.

    Photo Credits

    Anything in color? Me.
    Anything in black and white? HABS.

  • Assistant Manager’s House – Longview Farm

    This is the seventh post in a multi-part series about Longview Farm in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

    The Assistant Manager's House from the southeast

    General Info:

    Function and Features:

    Completed in April 1914, the Assistant Manager’s House was one of the first buildings completed on the farm and was put to use immediately as housing for construction supervisors. It is similar in size and appearance to other managers’ houses on the farm, particularly the Dairy Manager’s House, which appears to be almost identical to me.

    The house featured three large porches, two on the first floor and one on the second. Over time, all three were enclosed and the rear porch on the first floor was made larger. In its 60 years of use, the house only had two sets of occupants. The first was the original assistant manager of the farm – H.C. Spencer. He occupied the house until the 1930’s, when Mr. Crawford (the farm manager) and his wife (who would become a caretaker for Mrs. Combs) moved in, with Mrs. Crawford moving out in 1974 and leaving the house permanently vacant. Mr. Crawford had died some years earlier of a heart attack.

    Other than the fact the wall separating the office from the rest of the house was removed in the 1930’s, there are not very many characteristics that separate this house from other houses on the farm.

    The fireplace in the main living room on the first floor.

    Architectural Drawings:

    As part of the mitigation plan for the lake project, a number of razed structures had detailed architectural drawings completed. These were included in the  HABS survey.


    The house was razed for the lake project, even though it would not have been underwater.

    Additional Photographs:

    The little nook in the corner was originally the office.

    Detail of the molding on the second floor landing.

    From the east.

    The kitchen.

    Exterior northwest view.

    The enclosed porch on the second floor.

    Photo Credits

    All photos are from the HABS survey. David Kaminsky, August 1978. Architectural drawings by Leonida Guido Cubellis.


  • Webster School

    The Webster School from the lawn of the Kauffman Center.

    General Info:

    • Also known as: Webster House (current business name)
    • Built: 1885, addition in 1887 or 1888
    • Location: 1644 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Missouri.
    • Architect: Manuel A. Diaz (original), William F. Hackney (addition)
    • Size: Two stories and a basement; 76′ x 80′ (original building), 76′ x 36′ (addition); all on a 22,995 square foot lot
    • Listed on NRHP? Yes
    • Listed on Kansas City Historic Registry? Yes
    • Current Uses: Antique shop and restaurant, since 2002
    • Prior Uses: Public school (1886 – 1932), vacant (1932 – 1938, 1977-?), State of Missouri Social Security offices (1938 – 1945), Midland Radio School/Central Institute of Technology/Missouri Institute of Technology (name changes) (1945-1977)

    History and Features:

    While it may now be known as Webster House, the building formerly known as Webster School spent much of the past 125 years as an institute of learning.

    Webster School was created to fulfill a need for schools in a growing city. Apparently, this is the Webster that the school was named after given the naming scheme used for schools in KC built around the 1880’s.  The school board paid $6,000 for the site the school sits on in April 1885 and spent somewhere between $14,975 and $29,966 to build the original building – the documents are pretty vague. The construction was completed very quickly; it started in July and was ready for pupils by November of 1885. The construction wasn’t shoddy either – the brick walls are 16 inches thick.

    The original structure apparently wasn’t enough, and an addition was built in 1887 that was connected to the original structure on every level – even in the attics. The addition originally had two rooms on each floor. The two buildings are practically indistinguishable now as they feature identical architectural elements, even down to the same stone treatments around the windows.

    The small hallway connecting the original building (right) and addition.

    After serving as a school for almost half a century, a shift in demographics away from a residential neighborhood made the school a candidate for closure – and thus it was closed in 1932 and would remain vacant for the next six years. Views of the building as a public school can be found on the Kansas City Public Library’s website here and here. It looks like they were taken at the same time and before 1938, as playground equipment is on the east side of the building.

    After housing the Social Security Administration for a few years, the Midland Radio School moved into the building.  Apparently it was a place that offered college classes for a time, as my dad took some classes there in the  early 70’s. Midland modernized the interior of the building during their tenancy, probably hiding/preserving some stuff for many years (more on that later). They also painted the brick a buff color, and the paint was peeling by the time they left in 1977. The entrance was modified significantly too, but was removed a few years after the building became vacant. Other modifications were relatively minor to deal with architecturally – some of the original rooms were partitioned, and some windows were bricked.

    The Webster School from about a block away.

    After the Missouri Institute of Technology moved out, the history of the building becomes much harder to find. The NRHP listing shows the condition of the building in 1982, after a few years of vacancy, and a picture from the Missouri Valley Special Collections shows the condition in 1989. The condition looks better in 1989, yet there were apparently holes in the floor and leaks everywhere.

    After setting vacant for some time, the school was bought by Shirley Helzberg around 2001 to be home to the displaced  Crestwood Galleries Antiques  & Cafe. To prepare the buildings for the new business, they underwent a multi-million dollar restoration . For the larger building, the first floor was reconfigured to hold offices and four large gallery spaces.  The restaurant and other galleries were placed on the second floor.

    A view of the south side of the original building.

    The restoration of the school held some surprises and challenges. Behind plasterboard were old chalkboards – probably unseen for 70 years. More notably, there was a photograph found showing the school with a bell tower while historical research was being conducted. The tower had apparently been removed fairly early in the history of the building after a bell tower had fallen and killed several students at another school in Kansas City. The restoration including rebuilding the tower, which now serves as one of the defining architectural features of the school. A major challenge was the paint – as they weren’t allowed to sandblast away the paint covering the brick and instead had to use a chemical peel that preserved the integrity of the bricks. Since 2002, when the antique shop and restaurant opened under the “Webster House” moniker, the building has been continuously occupied as business has flourished. It has also received a new neighbor that is very renowned architecturally –  the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

    The "front" of the original building.

  • Raw Picture Batches

    I’ve created a series of 7 pages (so 20+ MB of photos don’t load all at once) that showcase many of the photographs that are eventually going to be in blog posts, and a whole bunch of other pictures that may or may not be architecturally related. There are ~650 pictures total, so each batch contains 100 photos, except for the last one.