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Kansas City Houses 1885-1938

Michael C. Kathrens
New photography by Bruce Mathews
Foreword by Steve Noll

Hardcover, 400 pages, 485 photos, including 192 in color and 75 floor plans, 9.25 x 12.25 inches

Published in association with Minnesota Prairie Wind Foundation

ISBN 9780983863229

Retail price $69.95

Available November 2018






Click on an image above to see the full spread


Kansas City Houses 1885-1938

The great houses of Kansas City weave a rich architectural tapestry, filled with exquisite detailing and sumptuous effects.

Kansas City Houses 1885-1938 reveals the architectural treasures built during the city's boom years. This is the first book to survey the rich architectural heritage of this major Midwestern hub, which straddles the state line between Kansas and Missouri. Architectural historian Michael C. Kathrens spotlights the work of highly accomplished architects, many based in Kansas City who have long been overshadowed by their high-profile East Coast counterparts. He places the significant but little-known architectural legacy of Kansas City in a historical context and traces the development of the city's exclusive residential neighborhoods starting in 1857, which helped transform the once rough-and-tumble town into a fashionable city with tree-lined blocks populated by handsome houses and private clubs.

Kathrens thoroughly documents forty superb houses that reflect the outsized fortunes of influential Kansas Citians who built them. Included are Oak Hall (1887), designed by Frederick E. Hill for newspaper publisher William Rockhill Nelson, who helped establish the Nelson-Atkins Museum; Marburg (1895-1896), the mansion of minerals magnate August R. Meyer designed by Van Brunt & Howe; Corinthian Hall (1910), lumber baron Robert A. Long's classical Beaux Arts style mansion designed by Henry F. Hoit; the homes of oilman Ernest C. Winters and Walter E. Bixby of Kansas City Life Insurance, both designed by Edward W. Tanner (the Bixby residence notably features interiors by Kem Weber); Bernard Corrigan's mansion (1912-1913) designed by Louis S. Curtiss with a nod to the Vienna Secession; and two houses by Mary Rockwell Hook, one of the first women to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. These residences-mostly done in revival and Beaux-Arts styles-embodied a distinctly Midwestern sense of moderation that, in the houses still standing, continue to define the city's best neighborhoods developed almost a century ago.

Kathrens's authoritative yet accessible text is complemented throughout by drawings, floor plans, archival images, and newly commissioned photographs, documenting both the exterior and interiors of each house.

Kansas City Houses 1885-1938 includes architects' biographies and a catalog of 62 additional houses, bibliography, and index.

Published in association with Minnesota Prairie Wind Foundation

Michael C. Kathrens is an independent scholar specializing in American residential architecture of the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. His previous publications include American Splendor: The Residential Architecture of Horace Trumbauer (Acanthus Press, 2002, revised ed. 2013), The Great Houses of New York: 1880-1930 (Acanthus Press, 2005, revised ed. 2012), and Newport Villas: 1885-1935 (W. W. Norton, 2009)