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Janssen Place Historic District Walking Tour

The Janssen Place Historic District retains the original layout plan as formulated by Arthur E. Stilwell (1859-1928) and the Janssen Place Land Company in 1897. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Maps Walking Tour House Styles
Mr. Stilwell was born in Rochester, New York. After a short stint in Kansas City in 1879, Arthur returned home because of illness. He returned to Kansas City in 1889 to start a railroad. First though he started the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Trust Company with a capacity of $1,250,000. In ten years the capital invested through the company had reached $30 million.

The genesis of his enterprises began with the Kansas City Suburban Belt and Kansas City, Pittsburg, & Gulf railroads. When problems arose with Wall Street circles, Arthur went to Dutch financiers. After repeated delays, he eventually opened the train service from Kansas City to Port Arthur, Texas in 1897.

Stilwell developed more than 40 corporations, which have established and controlled railroads, terminals, and various other business interests along his railroad line. During this period of railroad promotion and development, Stilwell was deeply involved with real estate ventures. One of these ventures was Janssen Place. Notable restricted residential districts in New York and St. Louis inspired the design as formal area for upper class dwellings. It was named in honor of August Janssen, a Dutch capitalist.
As We See’ Em Arthur E. Stilwell
From As We See' Em; A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Kansas Cityans, ca 1908.
Janssen Place Entrance Stilwell commissioned the local Kansas City architect, George A. Mathews, to design the layout plan. The project included 32 lots, each 75 feet by 250 feet facing a grand private boulevard 100 feet wide with a north open end featuring a massive white limestone and bronze gate. The ground alone cost $100,000 and provided that no fences be erected between the homes. After its initial beginning, only three wealthy Kansas Citians ventured “this far south” to build residences. Only four lots were sold by 1906 when the Janssen Place Land Company dissolved. The remaining 28 lots passed to W. P. Patton, a local capitalist. It was within the period of 1907-1917 that Janssen Place attained its greatest development. Because so many lumber tycoons resided here, the street was often referred to as “Lumberman’s Row.”

 


His first railway, Kansas City Suburban Belt Railway, became the forerunner of Kansas City Terminal Railway. He lost control of his Kansas City Pittsburg & Gulf railroad to his investors. This railroad became Kansas City Southern. He started the Kansas City, Mexico &damp; Orient but the mountains, rugged terrain and Mexican Revolution spelled defeat. The line went into receivership and Kansas City banker William T. Kemper, Sr. was named receiver. Years later when oil was discovered along the lines right-of-way, it was Kemper who reaped the profits. Stilwell moved back to New York and died leaving an estate of $1,000.

 


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Janssen Place Walking Tour

The Janssen Place Historic District entrance is off 36th Street between Locust and Holmes streets.

Janssen Place Boulevard consists of 2 1/2 block long parallel avenues separated by a central median strip of alternating circular and elongated oval islands. At the time of its birth, Janssen Place was outside the city limits, near the end of the streetcar line, just uphill from a spring where wagon trains traditionally had made an overnight stop on their way west. The city’s most renowned architects designed the houses. New electric streetlights, designed in authentic turn-of-thepcentury style, have replaced the long missing gas lamps. As you walk the tour notice all the different, original tile roofs, how many different ways the top floors are separated from the rest, the variety of front doors, and the carriage houses.

A Guide to Janssen Place House Styles

Janssen Place Entrance Entrance—Neoclassic style cut white Arkansas limestone entrance was erected in 1897. “Janssen Place” is a relief within the frieze. Bronze lanterns are located on the stone piers. The flanking, freestanding columns are ornamented with friezes and crowned by ball finals. Stilwell lived in the 600 block of East 36th Street across from the entrance to Janssen Place.
2 Janssen Place #2 Italian Renaissance house was designed by Howe, Hoit and Cutler. It was built for John Henry Tschudy, his wife Anna, and their six children in 1904-5. This home was the third to be built on Janssen Place. The front facade features segmental-arch windows and symmetrically placed roof dormers. Mr. Tschudy was one of the founders of today’s American Royal and the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The family business was the J. H. Tschudy Hardwood Lumber Co. The interior woodwork includes eleven different woods. As We See’ Em J.H. Tschudy
From As We See' Em; A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Kansas Cityans, ca 1908.



#6 Jacobethan Revival was built in 1909 for Albert W. Peet. The Peet family was the owners of Peet Brothers Manufacturing Company, later a part of Colgate Palmolive. According to the 1930 Who’s Who in K.C., the Jesse Andrews family lived in #6. Mr. Andrews was an attorney and general counsel for Long-Bell Lumber Company, Pickering Lumber Company, Bowman-Hicks Lumber Company and Forest Lumber Company. Notice the timbered front gable and the gray slate roof. Albert William Peet



42 Janssen Place #20 Chicago style influenced Italian Renaissance was built in 1910 for William A Pickering, Vice President of Pickering Lumber Company. The Chicago influenced elements include an asymmetrically designed main facade with a main entrance situated in the extreme north bay and bow windows. An unusual feature is the prominent front chimney. Duplexes were built in the 1950s in the original gardens, which reportedly contained beautiful landscaping and goldfish ponds.



42 Janssen Place #42 Georgian Colonial Revival was built in 1910 for Joseph M. Bernardin. Mr. Bernardin was the owner of J. M. Bernardin Lumber Company, President Bernardin Timber & Manufacturing Company and Director Federal Reserve Bank. Different woods set the theme for each room: cherry in the dining room, burled fir in the kitchen, oak in the entry hall, and mahogany in the living room. An exceptional stained glass window that has been featured in national publications dominates the second floor landing. All the bathrooms contain original stained and beveled glass. Notice the brick design between the first and second floor windows, the front door fan and side lights, and pillars on third floor dormer windows and side porch.



48 Janssen Place #48 The second house built on Janssen Place was this 1900 Shingle home built for Burton D. Hurd. Mr. Hurd was President of the Joseph O’Leary Machinery Company. The exterior walls of the first story are of coursed rubble stone. The exterior walls of the second and attic story levels are uniformly surfaced with slate shingles. A stone veranda consisting of solid rubble stone pedestal walls, with fieldstone boulder columns supporting the roof, dominates the main faÁade. A polygonal-shaped, hip roofed dormer with a bow window grouping graces the southeast corner. The upper sashes of several windows are divided by leaded or wood tracery into lozenge-shaped lights. A Palladian window is located in the south attic story.



54 Janssen Place #54 Georgian/Neo-Colonial Revival was built in 1916-7 for John W. Jenkins, President of J.W. Jenkins and Sons Music Company. Shepard, Farrar and Wiser designed the house. The house has many distinctive exterior architectural features. Quoins define the corners; the three dormers are pedimented and have decorative railings; the front door is encased in an elliptical fanlight and sidelights; the entrance portico has stone baluster trim; modillions and brackets define the eaves; and segmented-arched architraves top the windows. As We See’ Em J.W. Jenkins
From As We See' Em; A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Kansas Cityans, ca 1908.



66 Janssen Place #66 Jacobethan Revival was built in 1912-3 for Edward L. Foutch. Mr. Foutch was Vice President of B.R. Electric and Telephone Manufacturing Co., a new and expanding business in 1912. The architects were Smith, Rea and Hovitt. The house has an irregular L-shaped plan with asymmetrically designed facades and front timbered gable. Cut stone frames windows and is used for quoins, coping and balustrades. Projecting eaves have exposed rafters or brackets.



80 Janssen Place #80 Renaissance Revival/Neoclassical, with Chicago school influences, was designed by Shepard, Farrar and Wiser. The house was built for Mrs. A. H. Glasner, Vice President of Glasner & Barzen Distilling and Importing Co, in 1912-3. The bluff-colored bricks are set in very fine mortar joints and the house is ornamented with distinctive window surrounds, wrought iron balconies, and bronze detailing that include exterior lamps, the front door and a glass entrance canopy. The cost of the house was approximately $70,000. The 6,500 square foot house contains 23 rooms, 6 bedrooms, two sleeping porches, glass enclosed solarium and four fireplaces. The moldings on the first floor are Honduran mahogany.



#88 Neoclassical was designed by Roger Gilman and built for Lynn S. Banks in 1913. Mr. Banks was General Ticket Agent for Union Station. Other residents include Frederick A. Boxley and M. G. ‘Mike’ Heim. Mr. Boxley, an attorney, was appointed Jackson County Counselor in 1927 by his friend, Harry S. Truman. Mike Heim and his two brothers owned three Kansas City breweries as well as the amusement park known as “Electric Park” located at 47th Street and The Paseo. In 1966 the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph purchased the house to provide a home for their bishop. The faÁade is dominated by full-height porch with roof supported by columns.

96 Janssen Place #96 Georgian Colonial Revival was built in 1911 for William C. Bowman. Mr. Bowman was President of the Bowman-Hicks Lumber Company. Shepard, Farrar & Wiser, designed it. Nineteen cast-iron pillars are arranged along the front porch. There are seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, and five fireplaces. All wood trim in the house, including the basement, is mahogany.



#73 Italian/French Renaissance with high-style elaborations house was built in 1908 for John M. Bryne. Mr. Byrne was the founder of the John M. Bryne Lumber Company. The front porch is arched and colonnaded. There is a belt course between the first and second floors and different window treatments emphasize each story. Notice the columns and windows on the second floor and the repeat of the front door arch and columns on the upper story center window. The unusual feature of this house is the tall, steeply pitched roof.

67 Janssen Place #67 With Prairie School influences #67 is more reflective of the firm, Shepard, Farrar and Wiser that designed it than any particular architectural style. Note the perfect symmetry of the exterior, the large, vaguely Doric columns set close to the house and embellished with brackets supporting the front porch, and the continuous horizontal dormer across the front of the house. The house was built in 1912 by John M. Bryne as a wedding present to his son Ralph E. Bryne. The living and dining room areas are in cherry. The first and second floors are one and one-quarter inch quarter-sawn oak. Note the diamond leaded glass in the foyer, dining room, and second floor master bath windows.



#61 Georgian Colonial Revival was built in 1909 for Edna B. Peck. Mrs. Peck was the widow of George B. Peck, founder of the long-time downtown Dry Goods Company. According to the 1930 Who’s Who in K.C., Philip Joseph Kealy lived in #61 with his second wife, Joyce M. Hutchins. Mr. Kealy was ex-president of Kansas City Railways Company. The front gabled porch provides an inviting entrance to the L-shaped cross-gabled house. The south wing has a gambrel roof. Notice the stone window surrounds and the front chimney.

#55 Italian Renaissance 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.

53 Janssen Place #53 Italian Renaissance 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.
#27 The first house built on Janssen Place was #27. This 1900 Queen Anne was built for William A. Williams, Secretary & Treasurer of the Kaw Valley Construction Co. By 1909 the Robert M. Rigby family owned the house. Rigby was successful in the printing business for twenty-three years in Kansas City. The exterior walls of the first story are constructed of cut rubble stone laid in broken courses. Cut rubble stone also forms the balustraded wall on the veranda and open terrace. Multiple groupings of wood columns support the front porch. A polygonal shaped roof caps the north side octangular-shaped turret. Attic levels have pedimented gables. A two story bay graces the south facade. Pointed finals cap the turret and central structure roofs. As We See’ Em R.M. Rigby

From As We See’ Em; A Volume of Cartoons and Caricatures of Kansas Cityans, ca. 1908.
17 Janssen Place #17 Jacobethan Revival was built in 1912-3 for Abram Rosenberger. Mr. Rosenberger was associated with the H.M. Jones Distillery Co. The multi-paned windows are in multiple groups. The front is dominated by a massive, multiple fluted, very tall chimney. Notice the stone balustrades on the terrace and upper story.



#7 Italian Renaissance 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.

#3 Italian Renaissance house 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.


A Guide to Janssen Place House Styles
(Reference: A Field guide to American Houses, Virginia & Lee McAlester)
r /> The original 19 styled houses on Janssen Place fall within three of the principal architectural traditions: Ancient Classical, Renaissance Classical, and Medieval.

Neoclassical (1895-1940) is the third Ancient Classical style. These are normally two-story houses with prominent full-height columns. The columns usually have very elaborate capitals of either Roman or Greek inspiration. The first wave of popularity emphasized hipped roofs and elaborate, correct columns. The facades show symmetrically balanced windows and center door.

Renaissance Classical styles are based upon buildings built during the revival of interest in Ancient Classical models. The styles usually have balanced, symmetrical facades and typically have such decorative details as pedimented (crowned) doors and windows, dentils, quoins, and pilasters. Colonnaded, one-story entrance porches are frequent. The Italian Renaissance (1890-1935) and Colonial Revival (1880-1955) styles fall within the Renaissance Classical tradition.

Colonial Revival refers to the entire rebirth of interest in the early English and Dutch houses of the Atlantic seaboard. The early examples are rarely historically correct copies but were instead free interpretations with details inspired by colonial precedents—eclectic mixtures. The principal areas of elaboration are entrances, cornices, and windows. The front entrance is normally accentuated with a decorative crown supported by pilasters, or extended forward and supported by slender columns to form an entry porch. Doors commonly have overhead fanlights or sidelights. The facades are normally symmetrically balanced with center door. The subtypes include Georgian, Adam, and Dutch.

Italian Renaissance (1890-1935) style dwellings are two and one-half or three story masonry and wood structures. 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 faÁade. Single to two story projections usually extend from all four elevations. Terraces partially or totally extend along the length of the main faÁade. 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.

The Medieval architecture provided the inspiration for the Tudor, Queen Anne, and Shingle styles.

The Jacobethan style is a subtype of the Tudor. There is an emphasis on steeply pitched, front-facing, dominant gables. About half have ornamental false half-timbering. Other identifying features are tall, narrow windows, usually in multiple groupings and with multi-pane glazing; massive chimneys, commonly crowned by decorative chimney pots; and basically irregular L-shaped plan with asymmetrically designed facades. A proportionate number of windows have lower and/or upper sashes divided into smaller rectangular lights. Cut stone of alternating size blocks frames windows and some are surmounted by transoms. Additional stone is used for quoins, coping and balustrades. Projecting eaves have exposed rafters or brackets.

Queen Anne (1880-1910) style is named and popularized by a group of 19th-century English architects led by Richard Norman Shaw. The roofs are steeply pitched of irregular shape, usually with a dominant front-facing gable. Patterned shingles, cutaway bay windows, and other devices are used to avoid a smooth-walled appearance. The faÁade is asymmetrical with partial or full-width porch, which usually extend along one or both sidewalls.

Shingle (1880-1900) style aims for the effect of a complex shape enclosed within a smooth surface (the shingled exterior), which unifies the irregular outline of the house. Most variants and details are designed to enhance either the irregularity of the shape or the uniformity of its surface. Towers are more likely to appear as partial bulges or as half-towers rather than as fully developed elements. Porch supports are most commonly either slender, unadorned wooden posts or massive piers of stone or shingle cladding. Palladian windows and simple classical columns, both borrowed from the contemporaneous early phases of the Colonial Revival, are the most common decorative details.