The Dream Continues
This is an update on the restoration of the Kansas City Museum of History and Science.
The magnificent edifice, Corinthian Hall, was built in 1909-1910 for Robert Alexander Long. The architect was Henry Ford Hoit. The style of the mansion is Georgian Revival. It contains: 72 rooms, 15 baths, living quarters for family and live-in servants. The four block area contained a large stable for 8 horses, with accommodations on the second floor of the stable for the grooms. There was also a large tool shed, a conservatory and a green house. Near the East gate, a two-story house was built for the horse trainer (Dave Smith) and his family.
Mr. Long died in 1934. An era had ended! The two Long daughters, Sallie and Loula, had married and lived elsewhere. The mansion was abandoned.
In 1939, Olvie L. Hoggins envisioned the need of a regional museum for Kansas City. It was to preserve cultural and historical artifacts stored in various locations, libraries and basements in Kansas City. Her enthusiasm infected five other prominent Kansas City women. Knowing of the mansion in Old Northeast Kansas City, the ladies contacted the Long heirs and area officials with their idea. The Long heirs made a gift of the property to the city for this museum. And so a regional museum began.
Through the years, many of the interior rooms and walls and fireplaces were removed to accommodate the various museum displays.
During 2006 through 2007, the first phase of restoration began with one and a half million dollars allocated to restore and replace the roof and clean the masonry on the outside of the building.
In 2008, $3,000,000 was allocated for repairs and the second phase was begun with asbestos removal on the inside ceilings, etc. and restoration of the porch ceilings.
By the end of 2008, all windows and doors will be replaced.
Fake museum walls have been removed. Doorways have been uncovered. Fake cheap flooring has been removed exposing the original wood floors. Even through years of neglect, the floors are sturdy and strong. These floors will be refinished, sanded and polished to their former beauty. The tile floor of the solarium, again, can be seen. On the tile floor of the kitchen area, outlines of walls for the storage area for food and cooking utensils can be seen. Also, the outlines of the walls of the mansion workerís dining hall and bathroom are visible. In the breakfast room, a butlerís pantry was discovered and in it can be seen the Silver safe. The stained glass windows in the breakfast room and in the main hall are being re-leaded and cleaned.
Ornate decorations (cove) around the ceilings, doors and windows are now visible. Fireplaces and mantels on the first floor will be restored.
On the second floor, fake walls have been removed. On the floors, one can see the outlines of bedroom walls, closets and tile floors of the bathrooms. In the walls of the bedroom closets, wall safes were found. All family bedrooms had fireplaces. The Northeast wing was servant quarters with bedrooms, bath and kitchen.
In the stable, the original tack room ceiling was uncovered. One can see the outline on the stable floor of the horse stalls.
In 2009, Corinthian Hall will be air-conditioned and a new heating system will be installed. The first floor rooms will be restored as well as the stable and tack room.
THE DREAM SURVIVES!
Rita Nell Patejdl
Posted on this Web Site in
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Corinthian Hall: An American Palace on Gladstone is available in the museum store.
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