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3200 Gillham Road, Kansas City Register of Historic Places PDF  | Print |

The Acme Cleansing Company Building was constructed in 1924-25. The building contains neo-classical elements and was designed by architects Archer & Gloyd. The building was placed on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places on June 16, 1983.

Statement of Significance

The Acme Cleansing Company Building exhibits a remarkably ornate architectural treatment of a commercial/industrial building. Through the use of terra cotta, and numerous decorative elements, the building portrays a character not normally associated with its type. The architects emphasized the design of the building with no loss to the building´s purely functional requirements. The building´s design garnered critical acclaim, at the time of its construction,and remains a unique addition to the cityscape.

Historical Associations

The Acme Cleansing Company was founded in 1901 by L. H. Fisher.

The Company had occupied a building located at 27th and Main, but when the Liberty Memorial was constructed, the building and land were acquired for park purposes.

Mr. Fisher engaged the architectural firm of Archer & Gloyd, to design their new facility at the southwest corner of Gillham Road and Linwood Boulevard.

The Acme Cleansing Company has occupied the building continuously since 1925.

Architectural Significance

The primary construction material of the building is buff brick. Glazed terra cotta is used to provide decorative embellishments.

The architects devised a plan which fully exploited the space of the irregular tract of land on which the building is located. The resultant plan, a modified "U" shape, restricts the garage and dock facilities to a non-visible portion of the site. Further, the plan shape created an interior courtyard, which offered a maximum amount of light into the interior spaces of the building.

The entrance bay, which received lavish decorative detail, became the focal point from which the two wings extended to the south and west.

In 1924, the owners and architects of the building were cited by the Architectural League of Kansas City for their "...contribution to architecture by the unusual embellishment allowed on a strictly industrial building." (the winner of first place that year was the Kansas City Life building at Armour and Broadway, another building that relied heavily on Classical architectural features.) The jury for the Architectural League consisted of out-of-town and local architects, who used as their judging criteria: (1) the design of the exterior; (2) the design fo the interior; (3) plan arrangement; (4) fulfillment of the purpose of the buildings; and (5) durability of construction and material.

Architects

Arthur W. Archer and Galen Gloyd formed their partnership in 1919. The partnership lasted until 1931, when Mr. Gloyd opened his own office.

The firm´s designs in Kansas City include: The Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church (1922) at 39th and Agnes; The Lakeside Hospital (before (1928) at 2801 The Paseo (3801 Flora); and the B. H. Motor Company (19280 at 4538-42 Troost Avenue.