About two decades ago, I made and set up a wedding cake at the Kansas City Museum. It was a simple white-tiered cake with red rose petals that seemed to belong in the room alongside the elegant and historical background.
The Kansas City Museum used to be a private family estate built in 1910 by Robert A. Long who was a lumber baron and civic leader. Its Beaux-Arts style architecture and Corinthian columns give a strong sense that you're about to walk into history.
Robert Alexander Long
Long (b. Dec. 17, 1850, d. Mar. 15, 1934) is also another story in itself. He was a developer, investor, newspaper owner, and philanthropist. Long was born in Kentucky but spent most of his life in Kansas City. He also founded Longview, Washington, and Longville, Louisiana.
Long's four-story estate was named Corinthian Hall because of its columns. Built on three acres, it was eventually donated by Long's heirs in 1940 and would become a public museum. It cost about $1 million to construct which would be about $30,768,000 in today's dollars. The architect was Henry F. Hoit (b. Aug. 4, 1872, d. May 30, 1951). Hoit was a well-known architect in Kansas City, and he along with his partners was responsible for the design of numerous prominent commercial and residential structures in the Kansas City area.
Corinthian Hall was a mansion built as a large family residence and had so much livable space. When Long died in 1934, his daughters, Sally and Loula, removed items to be installed into their own homes. They held an auction that same year and the mansion was then up for sale. Because of the originality of the mansion being sold such as furniture and other items, the historical nature of the building was altered.
The property overlooked picturesque North Terrace Park and nearby available acreage, which offered a convenient place for Long and his horse-loving daughter, Loula, to exercise their prize steeds. (Source.)
In 1939, Long's daughters ended up donating the estate to the Kansas City Museum Association. In the following year, it was a history and science museum opened to the public. It was deeded to the City of Kansas City, Missouri in 1948 when it began having financial challenges.
During the 1970s, Union Station was a consideration for a new science museum because the Kansas City Museum wasn't large enough for both local history and science.
For eight years, 2005-2013, Union Station Kansas City, Inc. was managing the museum. In early 2008, the main buildings of the museum closed for renovations. The City of Kansas City and Missouri's Parks and Recreation Department have been operating and managing the Kansas City Museum since May 2014.
In 2015, with the building under Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s umbrella, the firm began initial planning for the future of the museum. (Source.)
After four years of renovation, Kansas City Museum at Corinthian Hall reopened in late 2021. Click here to see the amazing before and after photos. The museum is located at 3218 Gladstone Boulevard in northeastern Kansas City.
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