Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Playhouse In The Attic

These pictures were taken prior to the Museum's closing for renovation. I'm grateful to Christopher Leitch the Historic House Director for the Museum for allowing me to go through one last time to photograph the exhibits. He was also kind enough to show my daughter Kelly and I the third floor, attic and roof. Below is a shot from the roof looking down at the front gate on Gladstone Boulevard.... this is four stories up and we are looking toward the south.Below... in the attic is a full-sized playhouse that R.A. Long built for his grandchildren.... this really is adult scale and the attic is tall enough to house it. Word from the grandchildren though is they thought it was a little creepy.
Below.... a dormer and the furniture elevator that could be used to winch up items from the third floor for storage.
It's operated by hand power.....

Above... closeup of one of the copper sheathed dormer windows that are so prominent on the roofline.
Original wallpaper on the ceiling of the attic.
Prior to the removal of all the exhibits for the renovation the attic was used as storage space for old exhibit materials, posters and all sorts of things.
Note the steel beams holding up the roof.

Above.... heading up stairs to the roof.
The view north (above) showing the Natural History Hall.... now being restored as the carriage house it originally was... new windows and doors and the hall entrance addition has been removed.
Above... looking southeast. The large stone house in the foreground originally sat where Corinthian Hall is now and was moved at R.A. Longs expense to help create a space for his home. To the left and rear of that home is Melrose Methodist Church founded by Nathan Scarritt in the 1880s... still going strong.
Wider shot still looking southeast.
The Steven's House.... 1902... now totally restored.
Again looking north over the rooftop of the servants quarters.

Northwesterly view out over Kessler Park and Cliff Drive.
Looking due West.
Excellent view of the KC skyline... not nearly as populated by tall buildings in 1910.

Looking east above and west below.

Above the neighborhood.... Scarritt Renaissance... large stone church in the middle is the old Eastminster Presbyterian Church... structure beyond it is St. Anthony's formerly Assumption Catholic Church.
Heading back down the iron staircase. In a future post I'll show pictures of the third floor before what was left of the exhibits was removed including scenes from the igloo room.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Upstairs at the Longs

The grand staircase in Corinthian Hall takes one to the second floor the third floor was accessed by staircases of lesser grandeur but still beautiful. An elevator was also installed in the 1910 mansion. The home has 70 rooms and when the Longs lived there a staff of 24... mostly Scandinavian and German servants. When the building was converted to a public space as a museum, much of the interior was gutted.... walls removed.... for exhibit space. The process has begun to restore it to pre-museum condition.
The house sits on limestone bedrock with a steel beam and concrete foundation. In one-hundred years there has been no settling. Interior walls are 18-24 inches thick throughout the house. Note the walls below are three courses of bricks thick.

Interior walls were removed and where they used to be can still be seen on the floors. New HVAC and electrical is being installed now. All new windows went in over the summer.

Looking north the Carriage House is visible through the windows. The door opens out on a balcony.

One of the new doors that opens onto the front balcony of the house.
Most of the fireplace mantels are gone.... either taken by the family for use elsewhere or sold and cut out during a two-day auction after Mr. Longs' death in 1934.

A large bathroom on the second floor... only the tiled walls give the use of the space away.
Above, one of the few surviving mantels in the upstairs.
View out of the front bedroom windows. Shown is the Edward Steven's home, built in 1902. Mrs. Stevens was the only person R.A. Long approached about buying her property who refused to sell. He wanted to either move the house or remove the house to improve the view.
Above... old time visitors to the Museum will remember the Igloo. You can see a outline of where is was in this room. It was very popular amongst young visitors (older ones too) because it was interesting and because it was the only air-conditioned room in the Museum.
Not a bad view. Looking west over Cliff Drive during last Sundays' snow.
Above, remnants of another bathroom.

Above... an original elevator that operated from the third floor to the attic... for hauling up of items for storage or furniture.... still works.
Above, the Carriage House in back with the servants quarters on the right. The William Chick Scarritt House can be seen behind the Carriage House... itself in the process of renovation.

Guest rooms were on the third floor... above... and an iron stairway to the attic, below. Thursday I will have views of the attic and some shots from the roof.
This house cost 1.5 million dollars.... including land acquisition, clearance and construction.
Mr. Long was worth roughly 40 million dollars in 1920... equivalent to 500 million today.

Side stairway looking down from the third floor to the first.

Excellent hard hat tours of the building are given each month.... google "Friends of the Kansas City Museum" for more information on those.