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3605 Gillham Rd, Historic Kansas City Foundation, approx.1977 PDF  | Print |

3605 Gillham Road

Section 20, Township 49, Range 33, presently comprising Hyde Park, was originally deeded by the United States and accepted by the state of Missouri on June 6, 1828 under an act of United States Congress on July 24, 1827 setting aside this section for seminaries of higher learning. Such seminaries were not religious seminaries but were simply educational facilities.

On December 5, 1833, an original patent was issued by the state of Missouri to Samual Allen granting the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 20, township 49, range 33, containing 40 acres and part of the seminary land. On November 10, 1837, Samual Allen and his wife Sarah, deeded to Jacob Ragan for $1,000 the west half of the southeast quarter of section 17, township 49, range 33 and also the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 20, township 49, range 33. The exact size of that total parcel of land is unknown, but the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter, on which 3605 Gillham is located, is 40 acres.

Jacob Ragan died in 1878. His will granted a life estate in the property to his wife Anna Ragan. Anna Ragan died on March 8, 1887 and the property passed to her children Steven C. Ragan, Greenbury Ragan and Madeline C. Ragan Johnson. The heirs sold the property on December 17, 1887, 9 months after the death of their mother for the sum of $160,000. It should be noted at that time there was no income tax.

The 40 acres were purchased at that time by W. G. Mellier and James C. Darragh. Mellier and Darragh deeded the property to H. P. Stimson on January 17, 1888. A corporation was set up, known as the “Kenwood Land Company” and Mr. Stimson then platted the land, sub-divided it, and names the area “Kenwood.” Stimson sold block 8 to S. M. Jarvis and R. R. Conklin, who did business at that time under the name of the Jarvis-Conklin Mortgage Trust Company. It appears from records that they hired Mr. E. H. Bouton as the builder. 3605 Gillham was one of 7 houses built on the block at the same time. Same builder, same heating and plumbing contractor.

All have interesting architectural details; all are distinctively designed. All have towers. All use wood shingles. Architects as of now—known.

The first owner of 3605 Gillham was Lina Spivey, who purchased the house for $13,500 on April 1, 1890. There are several entries on the abstract that would indicate refinancing or perhaps financial problems in the area. The next purchasers appear to be P. H. Kirshner and Agnes F. Kirshner on April 9, 1901. Mr. Kirshner was a partner in the law firm of Beardsley, Gregory and Kirshner. Mr. Alfred Gregory lived at 3608 Locust and Mr. H. M. Beardsley lived at 3632 Locust. The Kirshners sold the property to a Josephine Phillips on October 1, 1907, who in turn sold the property to the Inland Security Company on November 25, 1911. It should be noted that C. H. Kirshner was a principal shareholder in that company and it would appear that this was simply a refinancing.

There were several owners after Kirshner and the property was deeded to Mary B. Armstrong on January 8, 1923 for 48,800. Then from Mary B. Armstrong to Mary J. Armstrong on April 9, 1925 and by Margaret J. Armstrong to Clarence E. Peterson and Virginia L. Peterson on December 27, 1926. They, in turn, deeded it to Iroquios Realty Company in august of 1927. During this process there had been a default on the note secured by a deed of trust and trustee, Mr. W. Thomas, took possession of the property. Margaret A. Strickler, whose maiden name was Armstrong, took ownership of the property on March 5, 1932. Thomas J. Strickler was president of the Kansas City Gas Company. It appears that the property was converted into apartments in approximately 1931 or 1932 during the ownership of Miss Armstrong-Strickler. The city directory records multiple tenants at 3605 Gillham from 1931 on. The house was purchased by the Kansas City Historic foundation in the spring of 1977 and purchased by the present owners William H. smith and Kathy McCarty in December of 1977.

The house, as it is restored, follows as nearly as discernable, the original floor plan of the hose. The house was not constructed with the front porch nor with the two additions that are presently off the floor rear. It appears form the city records that the porch and additions were added in 1908 at an approximate cost of $1,200. Before the house was converted, the second floor consisted of a balcony, two other bedrooms and a bath. A door in the hall led to the maid’s room and the storage room. The third floor consisted of three bedrooms and a bath.

Mrs. Armstrong-Strickler, who owned the house during the 20’s and 30’s, taught Margaret Truman how to play the piano and her furniture is now in the Truman Library.