Thursday, May 21, 2009

Corinthian Hall Restoration

Corinthian Hall, pictured above, is being completely restored as closely as possible to its original condition. During its conversion to a museum a lot of detail was lost in terms of woodwork and moldings. Also, many of the contents of the home were sold off or taken to Longview Farm. Really, in much of the house, all that's left is the basic structure and many interior walls had been removed entirely.
The area around the main door of the Carriage House is being prepared for the hanging of large double wooden doors that will look like the original design. They are very heavy.

Christopher Leitch the historic house director for Corinthian Hall gave a "hard hat" tour last Sunday as a part of the Friends of the Kansas City Museum's annual picnic. Here he talks about the servants quarters.
One of the few original furnishings that remains is this sink and the tile surrounding it in the servants area. 25 people were in service to the Longs.

Everything is carefully preserved whether it is to be retained in the structure or not.
Looking northeast in the servants area. All original interior walls in this section are gone.
The ceiling, above, and the floor, below, in the Solarium. The stained glass shown in these windows is original and was produced locally.

Some of the ceiling detail has been preserved although quite a bit of latex paint will have to be carefully removed before that design can truly be appreciated.

Fortunately stain glass windows were saved that were in exterior walls and have been restored.
This window looks east. A detail from the left most panel is shown below.

The ceiling in the dining room awaiting restoration as is the mantel-less fireplace in the same room.

Many famous people dined in this room including the allied leaders prior to heading to the Liberty Memorial for it's dedication in 1926.
Room just off the main hallway on the east side of the home.
Formal living area on the westside of the front of the house.
Some furnishings from the house are kept in storage... but will need extensive restoration just like the house.
Detail of a section of wall in the formal living room.
Looking through the living room window across Gladstone Boulevard to the Stevens' House which is profiled in an earlier post on this site. Mr. Long wished to purchase the house from Mrs. Stevens so he could demolish it... or to persuade her to let him move the building so his view would not be obstructed. She refused. The only landowner who did.
Looking west through the living room window toward the downtown skyline. All of the windows in the home have been replaced with new thermal units that have the same exterior color as the original windows did when the house was completed in 1910.
One of the stained glass windows that has been restored is the beautiful one on the landing between the first and second floors. Here Christopher shows where an organ was located when the Longs were still in residence. (An organ was still there in the 50s when I visited as a kid.)
The restored glass...

One of the few remaining original fixtures. Corinthian Hall cost 1 million in 1909 dollars for land acquisition, home moving and construction. The renovation has no set completion date. The tour also included the second floor... but I had to leave for a graduation party. I will post photos of that floor as soon as I can arrange a tour. :)


  1. Sometimes, if you ask really nice, they will let you up to the attic where you can then shimmy up onto the roof of the building.

    Probably got some of the best photos of downtown KC from there.

    I love following this project when I was in KC.

  2. was it abandoned, how did it get so bad

  3. I have been on the roof Wednesday.... I might post some of those shots later on. M.V. the house was converted into a museum in the 40s and 50s... walls and such were torn out to make room for the exhibits. Last year all the exhibits were removed to make way for the restoration... that's why it looks so bad right now. The shell of the building is in fine shape and it has a new roof. It's just going to take a long time and a lot of money to bring it back.

  4. I thought there a observitory in the back for night viewing with a telescope, is it still there?

  5. There used to be a planetarium where shows about the heavens were presented on weekends... that building is now the "Storytarium" where kids are presented tales on family weekends. The Kansas City Astronomical Society used to periodically set up outside in the back when celestial events dictated but no telescope was on site permanently.

  6. That's gonna be so cool when it's finished!

  7. you're a little off on the liberty memorial dedication. 1914, nah.

    nice pics

  8. Absolutely awesome! Thank you for all the pictures. It's so strange to see the house in such a different way (windows unblocked, the Gold Room stripped, carriage house, etc.) Thanks for taking these pictures and keep us updated on the rennovation. I need to go up for a hard hat tour....

  9. You're right Beermo.... would have been very difficult to have the dedication prior to the war. :)

  10. I didn't know they were going to do tours like this. Thanks for all the great photos.

  11. jocohistory.... keep an eye on the Friends of the Kansas City Museum website...or the Museums website... they announce the hard hat tours in advance and whether they are open to the public or just to "Friends" members. Hper

  12. What a beautiful building! Like a 'baby Vanderbilt Breakers' on the east coast. I need to call my K.S. cousin, who works at Hallmark, and see if he's seen it! Nice photos.

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