Boulevard church could soon get historic listing

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Historic. The Independence Boulevard Christian Church is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places. A decision should be made by spring. Joe Jarosz

By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
November 19, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – A Northeast church is one step closer to becoming listed on the Kansas City and National Register of Historic Places.

At the most recent Historic Preservation Commission meeting, commissioners heard the case for the two-story limestone Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Blvd. The building is nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C in the area of Architecture as a locally significant example of the Beaux-Arts style.

According to the informational packet on the church, it was built in two phases between 1905 and 1910. With the addition of a 1919 bell tower, “the church’s symmetrical facade includes colonnaded pediments, an east dome and classical ornamentation. The interior is as exuberant as the exterior, with mosaic floors, stunning woodwork, fluid lines and sanctuary stained glass windows created by Tiffany studios. The church is one of Kansas City’s jewels, designed by prominent architect Henry Hoit.”

Susan Jezak-Ford, Historic Preservation consultant for the church, told the commissioners the church is an excellent example of historical style in Kansas City. As an early local example of the style, it may well have influenced the form and ornament of later Beaux-Arts buildings in Kansas City. The church has changed little since its last addition in 1919, retaining its massive, well maintained presence in northeast Kansas City.

Jezak-Ford said they started the process this past spring. The church was interested in getting the building on the national register and submitted the proper forms to the Missouri State Historic Preservation office. They received noticed that the building was probably eligible and proceeded to hire Jezak-Ford to help them with the process.

“I gathered a lot of information and hired a photographer from the Northeast and pursued the nomination [on behalf of the church],” Jezak-Ford said. “Finally, the draft reached a stage where the state office was fine with it after many visits with the church and congregation. Before a National Register nomination goes to Jefferson City, it has to be approved by the city’s Landmarks Commission.”

There were no questions from the commissioners, just praise to Jezak-Ford and congregation member Martha Dominick for their work on the presentation. Being approved by the Kansas City register of historic places, Jezak-Ford said, offers the church more protections, as well.

Commissioners unanimously approved the nominations. The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation approved the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, during its most recent quarterly meeting. Jezak-Ford said next, the nomination will go onto the National Parks Service in Washington D.C. to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places. A decision by the National Parks Service should be made by February 2015.

“It’s a lot of steps,” Jezak-Ford said. “The hard part is gathering the information and writing a cohesive document, making a statement of significance for the building and that takes months and months. Hopefully one more slideshow and then we’re on our way.”

 

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