8th annual Northeast Kansas City Historical Society Homes Tour Preview

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

The Northeast Kansas City Historical Society (NEKCHS) 8th Annual Historic Fall Homes Tour will be held Saturday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This year, the tour will feature five historic homes located in the Indian Mound Neighborhood, as well as Northeast High School.
Toye Palazola, vice-president of the NEKCHS, said the homes on this year’s tour are a great representation of the neighborhood and of the people who have invested in their homes.

“There is so much resurgence in this area, so many new families coming in, and so many people who have worked really hard restoring these neighborhoods,” she said. “The people on these homes tours exemplify that.”

Bringing people into Historic Northeast neighborhood for the tour not only showcases the homes, Palazola said, but is part of the educational side of the NEKCHS.

“It’s just so important to educate people on the history of the city and the neighborhoods and through the education of the past, we have insight into the future,” she said.

Palazola said the homes tour offers guests a chance to look back in time.

“I think when people walk through these tours and into these homes, it gives them a chance to stand at the door and look at the woodwork, the architecture, the wood floors, the windows, glass, and everything in these homes. It gives you a moment to stand there and look back in time and appreciate the history of our city,” she said.

Manny Abarca, president of Indian Mound, said the neighborhood offers a variety of affordable housing options.

“As one of the largest neighborhoods in the entire Northeast, we have such a diversity in housing stock ranging from the working-class family homes that provide much needed affordable housing to our city to the grand homes along Van Brunt,” he said.

“Furthermore, visitors will defy perceptions by realizing the grandeur of our many parks and historic schools. The suburbs pale in comparison to the beauty, intentionality, and diversity of our community.”


Northeast High School

The school, built in 1913, is a four-story Grecian-Doric structure. Considered completely state-of-the-art at the time, the building’s cost at completion was $500,000.

The building could generate its own electricity, had its own laundry facilities, a water filtration apparatus, and a revolutionary heating and cooling system.

Made of solid concrete with a brick facade, the building was considered to be 100 percent fireproof.
The school also holds stained glass windows, created in Italy, that sit at the top of the marble staircase.


140 Van Brunt Boulevard

Built in 1910, the two-story stucco Craftsman-style home has a stone foundation and stone wrap-around porch.

The original owner, James Home Knapp, a contractor who did business as J. H. Knapp Construction Company, lived there with his wife Laura Lee Lane Knapp in 1911.

Originally, the home address was 122 Abington Boulevard before being changed to 122 Van Brunt in 1914, then again to 140 Van Brunt in 1941.

The street name was changed in honor of Kansas City architect and urban planner Adriance Van Brunt, who died the year prior.


121 N. Van Brunt Boulevard

Built in 1920, this two-story wood-frame house was first home to Mary Ellen Anderson Ward and her three children.

In 1925, Harry Benjamin, owner of Harry’s Market at 3704 Independence Avenue, and Julia H. Stempleman owned this home and lived here with their four daughters.

This home features a tall brick chimney, and a center-front entry with a large front porch held up by two single-step columns.


123-125 Van Brunt Boulevard

Just a block south of St. John Avenue, this duplex was originally purchased by John Wesley Miller, one of the founders of the Rudy Patrick Seed Company, and his wife, Minnie May Pluckett Miller in 1924.

Built in 1923, the two-story frame and brick veneer home was originally in the Abington Park No. 2 Subdivision and boasted of being oak finished, having a water heater, double garages, and the latest built-in features.

The two-story porches are supported by brick columns on the first level and wood on the second.


333 N. Chelsea
Built in 1917, this home was built in then-Burge Park, an 80-acre restricted residential district and was originally home to John James Butts, a salesman, his wife, Eva Waddell Butts, and daughter Dorothy in 1919.

From 1922 to 1927, Henry Barry, the owner of a soft drink saloon on the northwest corner of 13th and Main, lived here with his wife Lillie Latrasse Barry and their three children.


4301 Gladstone Boulevard
Built in 1926, this two-story Dutch Colonial house was constructed in the center of a lot at the intersection of Gladstone Boulevard and Cliff Drive Place.

The first owners were Jack A. DeFeo, who worked for his father at the DeFeo Fruit Company, and his wife Mary DeFeo.

The wood-frame home with first-floor brick veneer had three fireplaces, a center hall foyer, crown molding, a decorative staircase, a sunroom, and a two-car garage.

Jack and Mary lived in the home until Mary’s passing in December 1963 and Jack’s passing three months later.


Featuring the gracious hosts for the 8th Annual NEKCHS Fall Homes Tour. PHOTO/BRYAN STALDER

NEKC Historical Society

Founded in 2012 and operated by an all-volunteer staff, the Northeast Kansas City Historical Society (NEKCHS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote and preserve Northeast Kansas City history while proactively fostering an appreciation of its historical significance and unique history.

Currently, the NEKCHS has 10 board members, 75 regular members and is always open to adding new members.

Membership benefits include discounts to various NEKCHS events, access to “members only” topics and events, and business sponsorship.

Tickets for the 8th Annual Homes Tour are on sale for $15 in advance or $18 the day of the event and can be purchased at nekchs.com. Members of the NEKCHS receive an additional discount.

To retrieve your tickets, guests can visit the hospitality canopy at 123-125 Van Brunt Boulevard, which is where the tour will begin.
The Homes Tour is still looking for volunteer docents to guide guests through the homes. The docent will cover either a morning or afternoon shift and will also receive a free ticket to the event.

Palazola said she appreciates those who have opened up their homes on the tour, and she hopes the tour offers a glimpse into the rich history of the Historic Northeast.

“People are proud to show their homes and are proud to show off what they’ve done,” she said. “These are people who are proud to show off Northeast Kansas City and to let people know that this is a great place to restore a home or find a house and raise your family. There’s just so much diversity, so much culture, so much rich heritage, and it’s affordable.

This year’s tour is sponsored by the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and The Inn at 425.

For more information about the event or the NEKCHS, visit nekchs.com.

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