Italian Renaissance Eclectic House (1890-1935)

Reference: A Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia & Lee McAlester, 1984.

Italian Renaissance (1890-1935) style dwellings are two and one-half or three story masonry and wood structures. The style is based on the Renaissance Classical tradition. Arches and cornice-line brackets are the two elements that most consistently mark American Italian Renaissance roots. Other identifying features include upper-story windows smaller and less elaborate than windows below, entrance area usually accented by small classical columns or pilasters, and symmetrical facade. Single to two story projections usually extend from all four elevations. Terraces partially or totally extend along the length of the main facade. The wall panels between third story windows are embellished by stone or terra cotta panels or with brick or stone string coursing. Roofs are hipped, generally from low to medium pitch.

#3 Janssen Place was built in 1912 for George W. Ultch. Mr. Ultch was owner of Ultch Lumber Company. Features to notice are the simple pillars, brick decoration, 3rd floor balcony, quoins, and hood molding over the 2nd floor windows.

#7 Janssen Place was constructed for Rodella G. Dwight in 1909-10. The 9,200 square foot house includes a green-tiled solarium with marble window sills, third floor ballroom with five game rooms, and five full and two half baths. A complete apartment was constructed over the garage for the family chauffeur and connected to the house by phone so the car could be called as needed. Since gasoline was not readily available, gasoline pumps were also located in the garage. A curved mahogany beamed dining room ceiling has the original sterling silver light fixture. The living room also has an unique ceiling of sculpted plaster and the original combination gas-electric sconce lights.

#53 Janssen Place was built in 1913-4 for Granville M. Smith. Mr. Granville was President and Chairman of the Board of Commonwealth National Bank. The designers were Keene & Simpson. The exuberant surface ornamentation includes wrought iron, special brickwork, prominent stringcourse, and surface decorations. The 3rd floor ballroom features crystal chandeliers and 15-foot ceilings. The house is believed to have had Kansas City’s first residential elevator.

53 Janssen Place

#55 Janssen Place was built in 1911 for William H. Schutz. Dr. Schutz was a nationally recognized eye and ear physician. Notice the lozenges, a diamond-shaped decorative motif. High style elaborations include an arched and columned front porch, surface ornamentation, and wide eaves with large brackets.