Upscale Baltimore Hotel hosted presidents

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

 

Eccentric. That’s how many described noted turn-of-the-century Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss.

A student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Curtiss designed a variety of commercial buildings in Kansas City.

His residential work was limited, but some homes remain today, including Porte-Haven, located at 414 S. Gladstone Boulevard in the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood.

This week, we feature an E.C. Kropp published color postcard showing the stately Baltimore Hotel, located on Baltimore between 12th Street and 13th Street.

Thomas Corrigan, owner and operator of Kansas City’s early streetcar system, built the Baltimore for veteran hotel men A. D. and D. J. Dean.

The brick load-bearing walls were 48 inches thick at the bottom with iron posts on the interior supporting concrete floors.

All the cement was from Germany and came to this country as ballast on sailing vessels.

Originally, the hotel opened in 1899 to much fanfare.

The original structure can be seen in this card with three arches in the center of the third floor.

Business at the upscale hostelry was so good, two additional floors were added to the original structure in 1904.

In 1907, another addition was undertaken, expanding the hotel all the way to 12th Street.

The new structure was the centerpiece of upscale life in what was then a bustling downtown Kansas City.

Presidents Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt both stayed at the hotel during their terms in office, as did presidential hopeful William Jennings Bryan.

The Great Depression, however, swept across the land in October of 1929 and business faltered.

The operation was shuttered in August of 1938.

In 1939, the building was razed in a piecemeal fashion in order to make way for what the daily newspaper described as a “low building and parking lot.”

It has been rumored that pieces of the polished marble columns that graced the lobby of the hotel were dumped in a wooded area just north of Independence and The Paseo.

In the late 1960s, urban renewal planners designated the area as “block 92.”

Today, the site of the former Baltimore Hotel is home to a modern office building.

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