Kansas City, MO

Historic 1922 estate of Hunter L. Gary had other family owners, including the son of house architect, John Van Brunt Sr.

CJ Coombs

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Hunter L. Gary House, Kansas City, Missouri.Photo byMwkruse, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Hunter Larabee Gary House (Gary House) is located at 1228 West 56th Street in Kansas City, Missouri. It's a two-and-one-half-story brick house designed by architect John Van Brunt, Sr. The architectural design is the Neoclassical style.

The residence has a stone foundation, dressed limestone trim, a slate roof and a full-width two-story porch across the primary, south-facing facade. (Source.)

There is a carriage house at the northeast corner of the property. There are tennis courts in the northwest corner. On the south side of the property along 56th Street, there is a long and tall wrought iron fence and a gate across the driveway. The residence and the carriage house were constructed in 1922. In 1928, a sunroom and breakfast room were added.

The residence is an example of the high-end architecture during the 1920s in the exclusive subdivisions of Kansas City. Even though the residence is constructed of brick, it is very formal.

Van Brunt designed the front façade of the Gary House to resemble the back elevation of George Washington’s home Mount Vernon. (Source.)

Hunter L. Gary

Gary commissioned the house to be built around 1906. He was somewhat of a financial guru. He was a businessman and telephone magnate. He worked closely with his father in the telephone business. He was also associated with the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and Commerce Trust Co. of Kansas City.

Gary was born in 1884 in Macon, Missouri. He started out as a salesman and became interested in the telephone. In 1897, he bought his first telephone system in Macon. The company, Theodore Gary & Company, was successful. By 1907, its headquarters were in Kansas City.

In 1905, Gary married LaMora Sauvinet and they moved to Kansas City in 1912 so he could work at his father, Theodore's company. In less than a decade, he was the first vice-president and treasurer of the company. He also held various positions with telephone and power companies in Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, Illinois, and New York.

In 1922, Vant Brunt & Hertz were commissioned to design a Neoclassical-styled residence. The Garys lived at the residence until 1937 when Hunter died. As reported by The New York Times on December 1, 1946, Hunter died in Reno, Nevada. He was only 62. He was survived by his wife, LaMora, and two children from a previous marriage (according to the newspaper). LaMora moved out of the house by 1940. She died on February 25, 1969, at age 84.

Harry T. Abernathy and his wife, Bessie Cook Abernathy, bought the home in 1941. After Harry died in 1948, his wife moved out the following year. In 1949, Henry H. Cate (president of Flour Mills of America, Inc.) and his wife, Gladys, purchased the residence. From, 1953 to 1974, John Van Brunt, Jr. and his wife, Grace Wilson Van Brunt, also lived in the house. Van Brunt Jr. was the son of the architect who originally designed the home.

After John and Grace died, the house was deeded to their daughter, Margaret Van Brunt Rymar in 1970 and she lived there with her husband from 1974 to 1988. After that, the property was sold to Arthur and Carolyn Elman who lived there until 2006 selling it to the current owners. As you can see, a lot of history has passed through this home.

The house of Hunter L. Gary was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 2008.

Thank you 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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