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Central Hyde Park Historic District Walking Tour


“Preserving the Past for the Future”

Kansas City The Central Hyde Park Historic District is located in the center of Kansas City, Missouri. It is bordered by Armour Boulevard, 39th Street, Gillham Road and Troost Avenue. Hyde Park is a well-preserved, turn-of-the-century neighborhood characterized by large residences built in a variety of architectural styles which reflect the work of many leading local architects.

Central Hyde Park Historic District

In the mid-1880's real estate speculation in Kansas City reached near-hysterical proportions. Land south of the city, extending to the town of Westport was sold and resold at fantastic profits. Among the subdivisions platted in 1886 was one called Hyde Park located midway between the two cities. Next to Hyde Park lay a ravine down which ran a small creek, and to the south ran the old Independence-Westport wagon road used by Santa Fe and Oregon Trail travelers. The land was purchased for use as a private country club. The Club introduced golf to the area. Because of members' complaints, the Westport city council was persuaded to pass a herd law to keep cows off the greens. The bottom dropped out of the housing market in 1888 and development effectively halted for the next ten years. Although the first houses were built in late 1880's, less than 50 houses had been erected by 1900. However, by 1907, when the market had recovered, this number had increased more than five times. For many years this entire area was known generally as "Hyde Park" without reference to the specific subdivisions. Later the application shifted eastward until the term today refers to the area east of the original Hyde Park subdivision. Kansas City 1887

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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.”

 

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