UG Planning + Urban Design
4 min readMay 18, 2023

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The Gems of KCK- Randy Greeves: Historic Preservationist

When I first moved to Kansas City, Kansas I was blown away by the sheer number and quality of historic buildings that were hidden away in Wyandotte County. One of the first things I did was to research to learn more about these buildings. I am excited to share the gems I found, as well as some of their history. If you want to travel to these sites yourself, this link will take you to google maps with the addresses entered in and ready to go. https://goo.gl/maps/SPjz325Uh3eaLeDDA

Looking out the window of Sauer Castle

The Lustron House

Kansas City, Kansas has many unexpected gems that have been preserved from its history. The Lustron house is located at the Kansas City, Kansas Community College campus and is one of 1500 known to exist in the world. The Lustron house was a manufactured home that was created due to a housing shortage after World War Two and was only produced from 1947–1950. Lustron houses are known for featuring steel panel siding and unique window and porch design elements that have not been used on any other style of building. This was the first time I had ever seen a Lustron house in person and was immediately intrigued. The metal panel siding was the first sign that I was looking at something unique, as I had never seen metal siding on a residential building.

Lustron House at 7250 State Avenue, KCK 66112

Antioch Baptist Church

Antioch Baptist Church is the newest listing on the Kansas City, Kansas Register of Historic Places, and its members are working hard to have it listed on the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places. The Church’s first phase of construction was in 1921 and as the church grew and gained more members, additions were added in 1951 and again in 1956. This trend was common for churches in the area as they built up enough savings to finance their goals while having a dedicated space to gather. This building has an interesting history in which what we see today is a shell that was built over top of the original building. Chances are if you were to peel off parts of the wall you would see the stone underneath.

Antioch Baptist Church Today at 1337 Quindaro Blvd, KCK 66104
Antioch Baptist Church before the remodel (in background), Pre-1956

First Church of Christ Scientist

The First Church of Christ Scientist was designed in 1917 and began with the construction of the basement, which was used until the funding was sequred to construct the remainder of the building in 1927. The final phase of construction took place between 1934–1935. This building is unique as many churches are based on Gothic Revival architecture whereas this one focuses on classical elements. When I first visited this building, I was surprised by the unexpected Classical Architectural style, as the reason many churches used Gothic Style was to have a vertical emphasis that drew people’s eyes upward, towards God. The classical lines of the building, however, give it the feel of an ancient Greek temple and create a sense of grandeur.

First Church of the Christ Scientist- 1719 Tauromee Avenue, KCK 66102

Sauer Castle

Sauer Castle is one of Wyandotte County’s most talked about historic resources. Built in 1871, it is a prime example of the Italianate architectural style. Beyond it’s architectural importance, the people who built Sauer Castle were important to Kansas City, Kansas history. When the Castle was built, Kansas had been a state for only 10 years. Antony Sauer had moved to Kansas as the end of his journey finding a place to call home after immigrating from Germany. Once in Kansas City, Kansas he started several businesses, including a tannery and a seed importing business to serve the local farmers. Once he bought the land Sauer Castle currently sits on, he turned the surrounding 64 acres into terraced vineyards and built his home, which has watched over the area for over 150 years.

In recent years this building has suffered from disrepair, and many think that it is too late to save this icon of Kansas City, Kansas architectural history. Recent new developments, however, have given reason for hope as people interested in preserving and rehabilitating this building have taken an active role in its future, all the while honoring its past. When I was first shown Sauer Castle, my jaw dropped. Here was a beautiful Italianate building straight out of the textbooks I studied. As I looked over all the different features, I became disheartened by the condition it was in, but I knew all it needed was someone to care enough to see it restored to its former glory.

Sauer Castle- 935 Shawnee Avenue, KCK 66103

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