Kansas City, MO

The 1925 building of the ACME Cleansing Company on Gillham Road in Kansas City was reborn in 2019

CJ Coombs

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ACME Cleansing Company Building, 3200 Gilham Road, Kansas City, Missouri.Bartokie, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

At one time, this building was a manufacturing facility

The architectural design of this old building depicts the late 19th and 20th-century revival style. The foundation was concrete and the walls were brick. The property is less than one acre. Located at 32 Gillham Road in Kansas City, Missouri, this building dates back to 1925. The purpose of the plant was to serve as a cleansing plant for household scale garments and upholstery.

On July 16, 2017, the ACME Cleansing Company Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Brief history

In 1894, Lacue Hume (L.H.) Fisher came to Kansas City from Topeka, Kansas. He was the founder of the Silver Laundry Company. Fisher moved to the midwest from Ohio in 1878. He had businesses in Topeka and organized a laundry company in Kansas City. He had offices in the Commerce Building.

In 1916, Fisher constructed the ACME Cleansing Company located at 27th and Main Streets. It was a large facility at that time. In 1917, his laundry service company took eight laundry plants in Kansas City. He also controlled the Kansas City Laundry Service Company which took over eight of the largest laundry plants in the city.

What was unique about the ACME Cleansing Company was that it serviced garments and household items, and it included cold storage for fur and wool for clients. The ACME Cleansing Company Building provided the space and service for "spotting, finishing, dying, and wet cleaning in addition to dry cleaning."

The location at 27th & Main Streets was eventually acquired by the city for the purpose of a park that became part of Liberty Memorial. In 1922, Fisher then purchased the lot at Linwood Boulevard and Gillham Road. It was a convenient location for residents moving into the high-rise apartments nearby.

In 1922, Linwood Boulevard was extended and as part of the City Beautiful Movement, it was also connecting neighborhoods. In 1924, Fisher retained Kansas City architect firm, Archer and Gloyd, to design the ACME Cleansing Company Building at 3200 Gillham Road. For 57 years, this company was in the building.

In 1983, the company sold the building to Ram Leather Care. The ACME Cleansing Company Building inside two stories with its revival-stye design was a functioning industrial building. Its use and ownership by the same people for over half a century certainly influenced the retention of the building's integrity.

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Renovated Acme Cleansing Co. Bldg.LeasingKC.com.

The Acme today - keeping history alive

After extensive renovation, today this historic building is now The Acme studio and one-bedroom apartments/lofts. The building came alive again in 2019. Construction began in the summer of 2018 and leasing began the following year.

This beautiful building also houses the Kansas City Artists Coalition.

The Acme Building, boarded-up and vacant for nearly a decade, now incorporates office and gallery space on the first floor, as well as basement studios, for the Artists Coalition. The rest of the building includes 27 mostly one-bedroom apartments. (Source.)

Click here to see the short video describing the re-use of this building and why it was awarded the 2019 Best Adaptive Re-use Award for Honors.

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO
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