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Historic Homes Tour, the First One was in 1977 PDF  | Print |

The first Hyde Park homes tour/festival was held June 4th and 5th, 1977. The event was coordinated by Westport Tomorrow, Notre Dame de Sion School, and the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. The homes tour/festival hoped to attract people in the Kansas City area to come and see the special qualities the Hyde Park neighborhood offers and to raise money for the sponsoring organizations.

The theme of the homes tour/festival was "Hyde Park—The Way We Were and The Way We´re Going." Main events included a homes tour of historic homes, neighborhood artisans displaying their crafts, a beer and wine garden and every type of music ensemble from classical to ragtime. The main activities were located at Notre Dame de Sion School, 3823 Locust and Harrison Parkway.

School children planned to "show off" the unique historic heritage of Hyde Park by enacting skits, dressing in period costumes, and interviewing older residents and writing articles. A grand ballroom dance was planned at Notre Dame de Sion to officially open the festival on Friday evening.

The festival planners hoped to not only attract attention to their neighborhood—offically stretching from Gillham to Troost and from Armour to 39th*—but to show others the potential of home ownership in Kansas City´s older, close–in neighborhoods.

Houses on the self–guided, walking tour were built from 1907 to 1913. They include two on Janssen Place, No. 80 and No. 96, and three smaller homes. The oldest home was 3800 Campbell. A house at 3629 Harrison Boulevard was just starting to undergo remodeling, showing what the houses offer before restoration. The other house on the tour was at 3601 Charlotte, owned by a long–time Hyde Park resident. The others are owned by persons who have moved to the neighborhood in the last three years.

Persons shopping in an older neighborhood will find a much wider price range then in an area of newer homes. In Hyde Park, for example, investors and speculators still were picking up houses priced in the teens, while others sell for $50,000 or more. Prices on Janssen place were double that.

The homes tour was scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, although entertainment may run longer. Harrison Parkway was closed and music, theater and other groups performed on a stage adjacent to the grassy slopes, Chamber music was presented in the Victorian parlor of Notre Dame de Sion.

Also on the grounds of the school, which were open for tours, were booths set up by several restaurants and national groups offering native food. Parents of Notre Dame students were in charge of the food arrangements.

The house at 3501 Charlotte contained an exhibit of art nouveau items, selected because they were in vogue at the time most of the homes on the tour were built. Furniture, paintings, lamps, silver, jewelry, clothing and decorative items such as boxes, vases and paperweights had been donated by collectors, many of whom lived in the area. The house was built in 1911 for Benjamin Berkshire, a lumberman, and the ornate woodwork testifies to the original ownership. Neoclassic in style with Italianate and Jacobethan elements, it was designed by the architectural firm of Shepard, Farrar & Wiser, which designed many house in the Hyde Park area.

Shepard, Farrar & Wiser also designed the two houses on Janssen Place. Specially made gray–brown brick is used in the neoclassic, neocolonial revival–style home with Chicago–influenced amalgam of design elements at 80 Janssen Place. It was built originally for Mrs. A.H. Glasner, window of the president of a distilling and importing firm, and her son–in–law.

The third Shepard, Farrar & Wiser design on the tour is a neocolonial revival home built for another lumberman, William C. Bowman, who headed Bowman–Hicks Lumber company.

Wilder and Wight designed a prairie schoolhouse–style home as the show home for the subdivision in 1907 when the area south of Campbell and Manheim Road was being developed. Ledrum R. Wright, a real estate agent, was the original owner of the house at 3800 Campbell.

Another real estate agent, George W. Goldman, originally owned the house at 3629 Harrison Boulevard.

Tickets for the festival were $3 in advance or $3.50 the day of and were available at the school, Westport Tomorrow or from members of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association.

Because many streets in the area are narrow, free parking was available at the Trinity Methodist Church, Armour and Kenwood, and the Blue Cross building, 36th and Warwick. A free shuttle bus run continuously from the lots to the school and another shuttle circled the homes tour route to pick up anyone with a ticket who did not care to walk the mile route.

* The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association boundaries at the time of the first homes tour/festival were the current central Hyde Park boundaries. North and south were added to the neighborhood some time after this first homes tour. It appears to be around 1979.