News and Events 

Kansas History Day

          On April 25, 2009, I had the honor of being a judge for the Kansas History Day.

          What a great experience to be around high school age students who shared their love of our history.  Several gave oral histories about Mr. Long.  The young man in my division that won first prize did his project on John Paul Jones, the Father of the U.S. Navy.  The R. A. Long Historical Society donated $100.00 to the winner for travel expenses to the Finals in Washington, DC.

Tim Sullivan (RALHS President 2006 to 2014)

Lumber Baron and Philanthropist;
The R. A. Long Story

          The Missouri Valley Speakers Series at the Kansas City Public Library offers monthly presentations by local experts on topics of significance in the history of Kansas City and the Midwest.

          Tim Sullivan (RALHS President 2006 to 2014), “being a life-long student of R. A. Long and his life” was invited to be the July 2008 guest speaker.  A larger than usual enthused group of over 100 gathered on a very hot Sunday afternoon at the Plaza Branch and after his informative talk, questions were answered.

Ongoing Exhibit

Ongoing Exhibit at Historic Longview Farm Elementary School  Ongoing Exhibit at Historic Longview Farm Elementary School
CLICK on small pictures to view enlargements


          The students and staff of Historic Longview Farm Elementary School are very excited with the new exhibit that was put in place in March.  Diane Quattrocchi, Barbara Newcom and Linda Mason spent a morning arranging artifacts owned by R. A. Long Historical Society.  They include a side saddle, a groom’s box from the Show Barn, a wooden floor brick from the Work Horse Barn, a 1912 trophy won by Mrs. Combs, a lantern from her carriage and many pictures to help educate.


Longview Farm Elementary School Receives Award

          Longview Farm Elementary School received the Urban Land Institute Award for a unique partnership involving Lee’s Summit School District, Gale Communities and the city of Lee’s Summit.  The award recognized the school as providing an outstanding example of sustainable historic preservation.

An Open Invitation

          We are available to speak to your club, church or community organization to give presentations.  We can often bring the Loula Long Combs “fine harness cart” carriage, hats, photos, books to sell and other Long family artifacts.

(CLICK on small pictures to view enlargements)


Found – Loula Long Combs’ Hats

          A collection of vintage hats has been made available for viewing by the Miners family.  They came from Longview Farm in the 1960’s and may have been worn by Loula Long Combs herself or purchased by her as gifts for the ladies who lived and worked on the farm.

          “Mrs. Combs had a very generous nature and also loved to shop,” explained Linda Mason, author of The Longview We Remember.  “She enjoyed visiting her favorite downtown department stores and purchased large quantities of clothing and other items to give as gifts to the people who worked for her.  She had a special gift closet on the 3rd floor of the mansion which was filled to overflowing with her purchases.”

Display of several of Mrs. Combs’ beautiful hats.
Display of several of Mrs. Combs’ beautiful hats.

          Rita Miners, who has worked for Longview Garden Center for many years, has made available to Bonnie Hansen, her family’s collection of hats from the farm.  Rita’s 93 year old mother-in-law, Mary Miners, was a volunteer at the garage sales at Independence Boulevard Christian Church.  Sometime in the 1960’s the church contacted Mrs. Combs and requested donations for a sale and she sent over, among other things, these hats.  Rita explained, “My mother-in-law saved them all these years and we are so happy to now share them with the community.”

          Something tangible from Loula really helps people connect with the history and understand her beauty and generosity of spirit.  It was planned to display the collection in glass cases at the Longview Farm Elementary School on the Loula Long Combs Campus.  It is appropriate to view these lovely personal items and continue to honor her legacy in the new elementary school that was once her Show Horse Barn.


Loula Long Combs Picture Presented

          A cheer went up from the crowd and followed the picture around the gymnasium as Tim Sullivan (RALHS President 2006 to 2014) held it up for the students, teachers and parents to see.  The picture of Mrs. Combs was donated to the Longview Farm Elementary School Library.

Picture Presented to Sharon Early and Jaci Hurley

Picture Presented to Sharon Early and Jaci Hurley

          On December 21, 2005, Tim presented it to Lee’s Summit School’s Library Director Sharon Early, Principal Ryan Rostine and Media Specialist Jaci Hurley at the school’s Christmas assembly.  Tim related some of his memories of Mrs. Combs and the farm to the assembly.

          The school was selling their new cookbook that the PTA put together and it included history, pictures and recipes from the farm.  We hope, as the years go by, the students and staff stay as excited about the history as they are now.

Historical Books Donated

          What better place to have books about Longview Farm, Mrs. Combs and Corinthian Hall then Longview Farm Elementary School?  That was the thought that prompted the donation of “The Longview We Remember”, “My Revelation” and “Corinthian Hall-An American Palace” to the school.  On a beautiful Fall day, October 26, 2005, the books were presented to Media Specialist (Librarian) Jaci Hurley for their school library.  She was surprised and thrilled to receive them and pointed out that the children needed to know the history including that of Corinthian Hall.  The children already have a curiosity about the history and the entire school staff is so excited about the farm’s history and enthused about teaching the children.

Books being presented to Elementary Students

Media Specialist Jaci Hurley and Longview Farm
Elementary students with the books presented to them.

          The school is located on Longview Farm in the Show Horse Barn and opened August 2005.  Yes, we too cringed at first at the thought of seeing it as anything but a Show Horse Barn.  But the history is still there.  Ceilings and posts have been left uncovered so the history blends with the school.  Most doors and windows were left so it still looks like the Show Barn from the outside.  Artifacts from the barn are throughout the school – even the fireplace in the Ladies’ Lounge.  Photos of Mrs. Combs with her dogs and horses are in the halls.  It definitely is a one-of-a-kind school just like it was a one-of-a-kind farm.

Show Horse Arena Reveals Treasure

by Matt Bird-Meyer,
News Editor of Lee’s Summit Journal
(June 30, 2004)

          Longview Farm is the gift that keeps giving.

          Created in about 1916 by lumber baron R. A. Long, the farm in western Lee’s Summit was a massive self-sustained community, pieces of which exist today as historical treasures in the eyes of many members of the Lee’s Summit community.

          David Gale, president of Gale Communities, is working to preserve and reuse the historic barns, farm offices, pergola and Longview Mansion with his mixed-use New Longview project.  Gale successfully worked with the R-7 School District to have the Show Horse Arena converted into an elementary school.  And he continues to work with city officials, Longview Community College officials, architects and others in the community to bring a cultural arts center to the heart of Longview Farm, adjacent to the two large dairy and calf barns.

          A recent tour of the Show Horse Arena has turned up a new treasure – at least in the eyes of the horse and carriage community.  Taking members of the Longview Horse Park Association through the hayloft of the arena, Gale said one of the members of the tour noticed a fine harness cart tucked away and preserved in layers of dirt and grime.

          Craig Walker, member of the association and president of the Carriage and Driving Society of Greater Kansas City, said he and members of his group believe this small cart belonged to Loula Long Combs, daughter of R. A. Long.  Loula had been dubbed Queen of the American Royal and was the first woman inducted into the horse showperson Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden in New York City for her horse driving showmanship.

          “Craig saw the cart and was absolutely beside himself with excitement,” Gale said.  “It’s fun to see people who understand the value of this and see its potential.”

          Walker lives in Peculiar where he works as a black-smith.  Walker and other members of the R. A. Long Historical Society have been working for a few years to bring Loula’s carriages out of storage and to renovate Corinthian Hail’s carriage house.  Walker said the goal is to place the carriages, ribbons, trophies and harnesses on a rotating display inside the renovated carriage house, which is currently an inactive natural history museum.

          Gale said he agreed to loan the cart for three years for $1.  The main provision of the contract stipulates that the cart is to be used for fund-raising activities to support Corinthian Hall and promote the Long family.

          “We’re kind of excited,” Gale said.  “It’s part of the responsibility that I think we have been granted by the city to ensure that all of Loula’s history is preserved as best as possible.”

          The city of Lee’s Summit approved tax increment financing on a commercial sector inside New Longview.  The tax incentive will utilize the incremental taxes to rehabilitate the rapidly deteriorating farm buildings.

          Walker currently has the cart that was found at the Show Horse Arena at his home and plans to begin restoration work soon with help from other carriage club members.  Although missing a back axle and the two wheel rims that went with it, Walker said it appears that the thick layers of dirt have helped preserve the cart, including the horse-hair cushion.

          “It’s in really good shape,” he said.

          As Walker and other carriage club members inspected the cart, they noticed a few clues that point toward Loula.  One is the maroon color on the seat.  Maroon and silver were Loula’s show colors, he said.  A second clue is a possible date burned on the bottom of the floorboards of the cart.  Walker thinks these numbers, 12722, could be a date with the last two digits being an abbreviation for 1922.  This was the height of Loula’s show days.  He said the cut of the wood also signifies an early 1900s time period.

          Walker said Loula mainly drove pairs of horses with her carriages and carts.  He said the recently discovered cart would normally be driven with one horse today.  However, the pole attachment clearly points to the fact that two horses pulled this cart at one time, Walker said.

          “We want to bring back the awareness of Loula Long Combs,” he said.  “If I could pull this off, I will be extremely happy this year.”

          Loula’s carriages, harness, trophies and ribbons are currently stored in a cave in Kansas City.  Walker said he plans to visit the cave and take pictures of the equipment in order to reproduce the colors and any designs used, such as pinstriping.

          “I think it’s a huge waste to have that stuff down there where no one can see it,” Walker said.

Content of the above article is used with permission of Lee’s Summit Journal.  All rights reserved.  Any reproduction of this material without expressed written permission of Lee’s Summit Journal is strictly prohibited and comes under the penalty of any and all applicable copyright laws of the state of Missouri and the United States of America.

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Trisha Holmes Drape, Editor of Lee’s Summit Journal