By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
April 30, 2014
When it opened in 1914, Longview was hailed as “the world’s most beautiful farm.”
Longview Farm was the country estate of Kansas City lumber baron and local philanthropist Robert Alexander Long. This real photo postcard shows the Hog Barn at Longview Farms, Lee’s Summit, Mo. The primary residence at Longview was the Longview Mansion, also known as the Long Country Home.
The mansion, along with 50 other farm structures, was constructed in just 18 months between 1913 and 1914. An army of 50 Belgian craftsmen and close to 200 Sicilian stone-masons were among the 2,000 workers employed to turn roughly 1,700 acres of “scrub” into one of the most beautiful working farms in the country.
Long’s daughter, Loula, and her husband Robert Pryor Combs lived at Longview for over 60 years as she competed in and won international horse shows in New York, Canada and England. She became known as the Queen of the American Royal and is in the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. All of her prize-winning horses were raised and trained at Longview Farm, including her favorite, Revelation, whose grave marker is in front of the Show Horse Arena.
Today, much of the farm is gone, subdivided into park land, Longview Lake and a “new Longview” development of “walkable” neighborhoods filled with new homes, shops and a charter school fashioned from one of the Long horse barns. The only original structures that were retained are the mansion, the chapel and a few of the horse barns. Gone are the worker’s cottages, the hospital barn, the hog manager’s residence and most of the other out buildings that once dotted the countryside just west of Lee’s Summit, on what was known far and wide as the world’s most beautiful farm.