East-West Streets—Past Homes Tour Houses PDF  | Print |

808 East 31st Terrace

808 E. 31st Terrace

William E. Robbins built this two and one-half story shirtwaist in the summer of 1901. Robbins lived just around the corner at 3111 Charlotte Street. The first residents were Mr. and Mrs. John T. Rosbrook; Mr. Rosbrook was vice-president of a company bearing his name. By 1908 this address had become the home of Frederic and Nellie Degitz. Fred held many different jobs during his lifetime, including conductor on the Main Street Railway and Post Office Clerk. Nellie was a dressmaker who worked from the home. The Degitz family lived at this address for half a century—from 1908 until 1959. The house was subdivided into two apartments in the 1960s.

The original address of the house was 808 Glen Airy Place. The street name was changed to 31st Street Terrace in 1933 as part of an effort by the Kansas City department of public works to standardize and simplify street names throughout the city. Restoration started in 1989. All the beautiful first floor oak woodwork had been painted either harvest gold or chocolate brown. Even the glass panes in the French doors that lead from the entry hall to the living room were painted. An original leaded glass window remains in the living room. The dining room is graced with a box beam ceiling.

811 East 31st Terrace

811 E. 31st Terrace

Built in 1903, this 1,200 square foot gabled-front residence was expanded in 1920 with the construction of a rear porch and 2nd floor bedroom addition. Gabled-front houses were particularly suited for narrow urban lots in rapidly growing cities. The form dominates many 20th century neighborhoods. Fish-scale shingles at the gabled-end and a full-width porch enhances the main façade.

714 East 33rd Street

714 E. 33rd Street

The McIntyre Construction Company constructed this vernacular residence in 1899 for William J. Phelps, a postal worker at the Westport branch office. The main side-gabled face is dominated by a central gabled dormer, with tripartite window, and a full-width porch contained under the principal roof. The house was converted back from two apartments to single-family.

416 East 36th Street

416 E. 36th Street

The stone mansion placed prominently at the corner of 36th and Locust was built for the family of attorney Delbert J. Haff, an early proponent of the Kansas City parks and boulevard systems. The house’s architect, Walter C. Root, was as prominent as the owner and location, serving as a partner in the firm of Root & Siemens, the architects for General Hospital’s main building and the Scarritt Building. The 5,000 square foot house was built in 1901 and the landscaping was designed for national known landscape architect, George E. Kessler. Kessler was also the master designer of Kansas City’s famous parks and boulevard system.

The Haff mansion was designed as an adaptation of the Colonial revival style, featuring a symmetrical façade, multiple-paned windows and half-timber detailing in the gables. The motif continues to the interior, with classical columns placed at the entrance to the music room, the main stairway and surrounding windows in the library. The two-story side porch was likely added to the house between 1910 and 1920, creating spaces for entertaining and sleeping in fair weather. Six types of wood contribute to the interior woodwork and leaded and pieced glass can be found throughout he home on windows, French doors and pocket doors. The large dining room features built in cabinets surrounding a fireplace, as well as a window seat in the bay window. The upper stories include sundecks, a billiard room and servants quarters in addition to the six bedrooms. The house is believed to be the first in Kansas City built with “air conditioning,” a system that blew air over blocks of ice in the basement through interior ductwork.

Delbert Haff come to Kansas City in 1886 to practice law and was eventually hired as legal counsel to Kansas City’s fledgling park board. He was instrumental in creating “one of the earliest and best-planned park systems in the nation,” as described by the Kansas City Star. At a time when there was much resistance to such a system and little authority for the Park board to create or pay for parks and boulevards, Haff worked for twenty years to remove legal obstacles and create a legal method for the Park Board to levy taxes for land acquisition. Haff Circle and Haff Fountain, located at the entrance to Swope Park, have memorialized Haff’s work. During the early 1920’s Haff was president of the Parks Board.

The Haff family owned the house until 1952, when one of Delbert Haff’s daughters sold the home after living here for fifty years. The house served as a nursing home until it was purchased in 1980 by five Hyde Park families who returned it to its single family status by removing walls, sprinkler systems, an addition to the front porch and restoring the stair rail. The house has served as a single-family home since 1985.

419 East 36th Street

419 E. 36th Street

John W. McKecknie, a prominent Kansas City architect, designed this stone and shingle residence in 1908 for W.A. Hichman at a cost of $12,000. Mr. Hichman, secretary of the Kemper Grain Co., and later president of W. Hichman Grain Co., lived in this residence until the mid 1920’s. One Kansas City history describes Mr. Hichman at the time of construction of this residence as “now erecting a modern and commodious dwelling at the corner of 36th and Locust Streets.” McKecknie was noted for his interesting treatment of residential structures and this house is no exception. The long, sloping gable roof extends to form the porches. The residence also contains an intermingling of unusual art and design elements which can be seen in the repetition of a flower pattern in the leaded glass in the windows, doors and cabinets. From its triangular stone north wall to its square brass doorknobs, this house carries a stamp of individuality bordering on eccentricity. In the best suburban tradition, but an odd location, there is a split-level landing at the foot of the center stairs separated from the front entry by a long walnut railing. A dramatic open effect is achieved in the living room, which spans the entire east side of the house. That room ties into the entry hall and dining room without partitions using instead ceiling beams and what are whimsically called “pseudo-Corinthian columns.” Directly above the large living room fireplace, there sets not a cabinet or stone façade but a window! Seeing is believing as the flue has been channeled diagonally under the window into the adjacent chimney. Highlighting a simply magnificent dining room are 20 stained glass panels set flush with the ceiling among intersecting oak beams. By throwing a switch, the panels are illuminated from behind individual bulbs. If one’s eyes can be pried loose from the ceiling, they will note twin eight foot leaded glass china cabinets and mid-wall to ceiling oak wainscoting. As if the first floor did not offer enough surprises, the oak staircase rises to a second floor landing, which forms a room of its own complete with fireplace. Eight-eight windows are amply strewn around the exterior of the house.

500 East 36th Street

500 E. 36th Street

This Colonial Revival was designed by Lewis Curtis and built in 1909 for Frank Brumback, a lawyer. Among subsequent owners were the president of J.R. Coal and Mining Company, Stephen Velie—son-in-law of John Deere, and the secretary of the Emery Bird Bayer Company. But as time and the evolution of Hyde Park progresses, the grandeur of this house was lost to the kind of abuse only a neglected boarding house environment can impart. When the house was purchased for restoration gold and black enamel paint was accented by debris and the smell was unbearable. Broken pipes had rotted floors and joists and bare light bulbs hung from the walls as if by threads. Most first-floor fixtures are original but lost elegant features include the two double copper sinks and leaded glass library shelves.

600 East 36th Street

600 E. 36th Street

A.A. Mosher, a local railroad executive, had this Victorian house built in 1891-1992 of red brick and Colorado sandstone with a red slate roof. The house has subsequently been occupied by John A. Robinson of Hall-Robinson, grain brokers, and by Bertrand Rockwell, father of the renowned Kansas City architect, May Rockwell Hook. Before restoration began the house had been vacant and boarded up. In the late 1970s the house underwent extensive restoration to reemphasize its elaborate cherry and oak woodwork, six fireplaces, cut glass windows, two pantries (one for the butler and one for the cook), and turreted “tutoring room” off the second floor landing. Of particular note are the detailed scrollwork in the exterior sandstone, the high carriage step on the west side of the house, and the elaborate first floor carved stone fireplace. It took six years to find someone to reproduce the delicately thin spindles missing from the stair railing to the second floor. Because of articles in the Kansas City Star, someone who had lived in the house brought the owners pictures of the missing back porch.

616 East 36th Street

616 E. 36th Street

John Barber White, the prominent Kansas City lumberman and philanthropist built the shingle style house in 1892. The shingle style of architecture was prominent in America between 1880 and 1900, particularly in the seaside resorts of the Northeast. The neighbors affectionately dubbed the house “the Teddy Roosevelt house” because its style mimicked that of the President’s summer home. The house was a renovation project of the Historic Kansas City Foundation. They purchased the house in 1986. At that time there were six apartments. The house is resplendent with character and contains interesting details like pocket doors, quarter-sawn oak woodwork, plasterwork crown molding, cove ceilings, and wainscoting. Other architectural highlights include the attractive original fireplace mantles, and the stairway and windows on the landing.

628 East 36th Street

628 E. 36th Street

The 1894 country mansion at 628 E. 36th is one of Hyde Park’s oldest residences. With a stone first story and shingled second and third stories, the temptation is to label this home “shirtwaist,” But it does not neatly admit to such a characterization. A true shirtwaist is entirely wood frame construction, with the stone (or brick) on the first story being an ornamental, rather than structural addition. The shingles on the upper story flare out to meet the stone, much like the dress style popular when the term was coined. But this house with 5,500 square feet is much grandeur than the typical shirtwaist. In addition, the Palladian motif windows—center window with arched head flanked by a rectangular window on either side—are more commonly associated with Georgian Colonial Revival architecture. Another interesting feature is the orientation of the home in that the gable, rather than the roof, faces the street. Five apartments were removed and walls replaced according to the original floor plan.

642 East 36th Street

642 E. 36th Street

Root and Siemens, designers of the Scarritt Building, designed this handsome cut stone residence in 1904-06 for W.W. Sylvester, vice president of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad. Mr. Sylvester lived in the residence for only one year. Mr. Charles Sharp, president of C.H. Sharp Contracting Co., purchased the house in 1907 and lived here with his family until 1911. In 1912 the residence was sold to Mr. Frederick Thwing, president and treasurer of the Lion Oil and Refining Co. The Thwing family remained here until 1924. From 1927-1931 the Standard Club used the residence. After that time the house was vacant for a number of years before it became a boarding home for the aged.

This home contains many exterior Tudor style elements including the arch drip molds over the third floor windows, the archway on the porte-cochere at the rear of the house and the lancet windows in the upper sashes of the dormer and third floor windows. Other outstanding architectural exterior details are the tile bellcast gable roof, the stone lintels, lugsills and quoins decorating the windows and the semi-hexagonal bay north of the main entrance. An additional feature is the stone shield motif adorning the porte-cochere. The house has almost as many fascinating interior features as it does exterior. Highlights include four fireplaces—two of imported marble.

603 East 39th Street

603 E. 39th Street

This intriguing home of stucco and timber is a subtle combination of English Chippendale with oriental influences such as the Japanese style roofline. Although structurally sound, the home underwent major renovations. The house contains all of its original leaded glass.

605 East 39th Street

605 E. 39th Street

Real estate developers abounded in Kansas City around the turn-of-the-century and played an active role in the development of Hyde Park. Edwin Ruthven Crutcher came to Kansas City in 1891 and started the real estate firm of Crutcher and Welsh. Advertisements run in 1898 noted that they were “headquarters for choice residence property in the Hyde Park and Troost Avenue District.” Around 1905 Mr. Crutcher reorganized the company and joined together with his sons Edwin, Jr., Loving, and Wallace to form Crutcher and sons. For many years Mr. Crutcher resided with two of his sons at 401 E. 36th Street, a home designed for him by medical doctor/architect James Stewart.

605 E. 39th was built by Crutcher and Sons in the fall of 1909, as were the two homes west of this address. All three were completed and available for purchase by early 1910. It is interesting to note that the Crutchers themselves occupied the house for about three years from 1911 to 1914. For the next thirty years the house change hands over eight times. It was not until the 1940s that a long-term owner finally occupied the site, Astur and Stella Gulaian and their children Vartan and Loretta. The Gulaians owned Astur Gulaian & Sons Rugs, an Oriental rug store located for many years at 3916 Broadway. The family occupied the house until the death of Mrs. Gulaian in the early 1990s.

The historic features inside the house become obvious after passing through the front door. In the living room there are thirteen windows, oak bookcases and a distinctive stone fireplace. A built-in oak cabinet with stained glass doors dominates the south wall of the dining room; the room also contains a box beam ceiling and long window seat. The old back porch has been incorporated into the kitchen to create an eating area with windows on three sides. A butler’s pantry and half bath round out the first floor. French doors on the second floor lead to a porch that overlooks the park across the street.

709 East 41st Street

709 41st Street

The area south of 39th Street was first platted for residential development on June 24, 1885. During 1887, 25-foot wide lots in the plat were offered for the unbelievable price of only $13.50! Development continued into the next century and by 1925 the area know today as south Hyde Park was filled with homes. Much of the development of south Hyde Park occurred through real estate speculation, and 709 East 41st Street was built for just that purpose. The real estate development firm of Wheelock and Stine built the five houses located on the south side of this block of East 41st Street in the summer of 1908 using two basic home designs. At that time, the estimated cost of building this one and one-half story frame bungalow was $2,000.

One of the earliest owners, Myrtle Miller, lived in the house from the late teens to the early 1950s. The Harte family followed and stayed in the house until the late 1960s, and the next owner until 1985. The glass paneled front door with sidelights leads into a small entry hall with the original beveled mirror. From there, it is only a few steps into the living room featuring the original green tiled fireplace and mantel. Additional features include a bay window and unusual shallow box beam ceiling in the large dining room.

904 East 42nd Street

904 42nd Street

On August 29, 1910, G.E. shelton applied for a building permit to construct two single family dwellings at 904 and 906 East 42nd Street. mr. Shleton was the owner, architect, and builder for the new homes which cost $4,000 (for both) to build. Early owners of 904 included Robert Mckee, owner of the McKee-Cooksey Brokerage Company, and William Bates, a salesman with the Fred Harvey Company. In the late 1940s the home was purchased by William T. and Mary A. Armbruster who resided at this address until the late 1970s. Mr. Armbruster was a long time employee of Home Rug and Drapery Cleaning Company. This classic stone and shingle shirtwaist home sits high above the street grade making it seem aller than its two stories. The terrace garage was built n 1916 and extend underground in 1963 to accommodate the longer car styles of the day. The oak front door with beveled glass and stained glass sidelights are original to the house. A unique key-hole-design stone fireplace graces the entrance and unusual ridged oak trim surrounds the doors and windows throughout the house. A twenty-one panel window in the living room is duplicated in the dining room which also features a bay window and box beam ceiling. Brass light fixtures set into the four corners of the beams are original. The oak staircase leading to the second floor is a Mission-style design. Unusual narrow oak floorboards (only one and one half inches wide) are used throughout both the first and second floors.

808 East 43rd Street

808 43rd Street

Clarence E. Shepard built the Stewart-Fosselman two-bedroom bungalow in 1908. He was a real estate agent and builder, who also built the house next door at #806. When built, the two houses were nearly identical in dimension, design and appearance. Over the years, this house has changed hands many times, and when bought in 1983 it was in “just adequate” condition.