After political strife, KCK mayor creates fine architecture

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

The cornerstone of the Masonic Temple at 803 N. Seventh Street in Kansas City, Kansas, was laid Nov. 19, 1908.

A host of local dignitaries were on hand, including Henry F. Mason, a judge on the Kansas Supreme Court and a Grand Master Mason for the state of Kansas.

At the time of its completion in 1909, it was the largest professional meeting place in Kansas City, Kansas.

Architect William W. Rose designed the building while he was still in private practice.

In 1891, Rose was appointed to the staff of architects for the Kansas City, Kansas, school system, a position he held until April 1905 when he was elected mayor of Kansas City, Kansas.

As mayor, he held court over a colorful and amusing tenure surrounding his election, his ousting, his re-election, and final resignation while campaigning for his fourth term.

Rose, 41, was first elected Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, in April 1905.

A scant five months later, Rose was served with a lawsuit for refusing to enforce the prohibition laws.

Rose argued that enforcement of said laws would cost the city dearly in the form of lost liquor permits and taxes from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
One year later in April, Rose resigned his office only to run for the office again.

He was elected in May 1906 under the “wide open” policy.

Once again, his tenure was brief, as by September he resigned his office and was fined $1,000 by the Kansas Supreme Court for contempt in trying to hold office.

In December that same year, Rose was barred from running for the office during the same term in which he was ousted.

Infuriated at being out-foxed, he backed a proxy candidate on the Democrat ticket. The proxy, however, failed, and Dr. George Gray was elected to serve out Rose’s term.

Rose re-entered the architectural profession and was the lead architect on numerous Kansas City, Kansas, schools including Kansas City Kansas High School at Ninth and Minnesota, a Catholic High School at 12th and Sandusky and Bethany Hospital.

The Masonic Hall and the Carnegie Library are said to be two of his finest works.

Rose died May 24, 1931, and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

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