Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Cosby Hotel 1881... dropped "farewell" too pessimistic

I headed down to 9th and Baltimore where the Cosby Hotel is facing its demise. Fortunately no work has started yet so I was able to preserve for posterity some views of the 139 year old building. The west side where another structure abutted the Cosby is the worst... obviously when that building was demolished nothing was done to secure the now exposed walls. But, frankly, the rest of the building doesn't look that bad when you consider it has been totally neglected.
The south side or back of the hotel.
This is the wall that was exposed when the adjacent building was torn down... you can see the obvious care with which it was treated. (sarcasm)

Above on the southside missing window frame... seems to be sitting inside...

The front, or north facade, with modern crap in the distance.

Newly renovated buildings are right behind the Cosby....
Above, detail of front facade... not too hard to tell where "modernization" took place.
Blinds are still in most of the windows.
Above and below.... the radiators for each room are visible through the windows.

Above.... right at the corner of 9th and Baltimore. Below that same corner.... view looking southwest.
To my untrained eye this building looks remarkably robust for one that's on the chopping block. But then my preservation agenda is a lot different from those in power.
Surprisingly you can still rent office or condo space.... I imagine you could get a really good deal.
View looking northwest showing other RENOVATED buildings of similar age.
The alley way between the Cosby and the LaRue Building.
Cosby foreground, New York Life Building in the background...

Surprisingly all of the wood is peeling horribly... something one would expect codes to notice LONG before demolition was ordered. What exactly does that agency do when it's not destroying our architectural history?

Above the east facade. Frankly... I visited and photographed this building two years ago and it looked the same.

Above the west side of the building.... you can plainly see where another structure used to be.

Having had NO response to emails sent to official kc... I would like to note that the City that Works doesn't do so after 10am on Friday. Please, please, please... politicians ask me for a donation... I have some things to say to you.


  1. they don't care about donations with not enough zeros.

  2. In England people live in centuries old buildings. Here in America it's hard to find anything in use that dates from a particular community's settlement period.

  3. Yes, it's always sad when such interesting buildings become derelict, for whatever reason or cause. Unfortunately, very little modern development takes heritage into consideration when the dollars speak loudest. It's people power, however, that can often overturn development decisions, but the public must be kept informed more vociferously than through a lonely article or two, with pix, from you to the dailies and other appropriate magazines may help. Best of luck, and keep up the good work!

  4. It's a good thing nothing there's nothing in kc like Constitution Hall... by now it would be a surface parking lot.

  5. Great pics. Very sad if this building does go down.

  6. Temporary good news.... "the demo has been postponed pending further review." Not out of the woods yet.... but no brick dust in the air.....

  7. "Modern crap." Agreed.

    I don't know what's greater: My love for these old buildings or the sadness I feel when they're torn down. I wish those in power in Kansas City (and other cities, but especially KC)put as much enthusiasm into preserving these unique and wonderful structures as they did in demolishing them.
    Thank you for sharing something that is very close to my heart.

  8. I spent a lot of time right across the street from the building when Aquila had its headquarters in the New York Life Building. One of the things that Aquila did right, was to do a great job restoring the building to its original glory while making a modern functional office space. The building is abandoned again now that KCPL bought Aquila and consolidated staff in another office. I hope someone will find a good use for the building before it turns back into a bum haven and some day faces the threat of the wrecking ball.

    Great job trying to save a historic part of KC. We both seem to have a keen interest in historical stuff and old buildings this year.

  9. These are great pics. Thank you for documenting this building's story, David.

    FYI, the Star ran a couple of pieces, first the announcement that it was "a dangerous building requiring immediate demolition."

    And then a piece on the postponement to give local developer Adam Jones a few days to put together a plan to save it.

  10. I saw those Jason... when I was there on site only the west end of the building, shown in the first picture, was in really bad shape... because the owner hadn't protected it from the elements until it could be renovated. The rest of the building looked... old... but fine... just needs TLC.

  11. According to Monday's article in the KC Star, Jones had until yesterday (Wednesday) to " demonstrate he has the necessary financing and a plan to stabilize and reuse the structure."

    Does anyone know the outcome? Can we all get together and help save this building or is it too late?

  12. Jones was given an additional day to show the city how he proposed to secure the west wall. I think with the amount of interest this has generated statewide that KC will do it's best to work with Jones.