nelle peters 

Nelle Elizabeth Nichols Peters, usually known as Nelle Peters, (1884–1974) was one of Kansas City's most prolific architects, designing a wide range of buildings.

Our History

Most of the area included in the “Old Hyde Park Historic District” was platted as portions of the “Hyde Park” subdivision between 1886 and 1901. Small fragments of the district comprise other plats, such as “Hanover Place” (Broadway to Wyandotte, north half of the 3700 block) platted in 1886, “Arnold’s Resurvey of T.G. Cross Addition” (south half of 3800 block, Broadway to Wyandotte) platted in 1887, and “Redemptorist College Place” (south side of West 34th Street between Wyandotte and Broadway) platted in 1899.  These subdivisions were formed from farmland adjacent to the pre-Civil War town of Westport that had been owned by families associated with Westport and the western expansion of the United States (such as J. J. Mastin, Seth and Hugh Ward, and John Harris). Hyde Park was annexed by Kansas City in 1897 as part of a large tract of land, extending approximately from 31st Street south to Brush Creek and from the state line east to Prospect. Significantly this annexation included the formerly independent town of Westport, the progenitor of Kansas City.

Nearly three-quarters of the buildings extant in this area today were constructed by numerous builders and architects between the dates of plat and America’s entrance into World War One (227 of them between 1900 and 1909 alone). The neighborhood benefited from landscape architect George Kessler’s creation of the naturalistic Hyde Park to the east, a key element in Kansas City’s burgeoning Parks and Boulevards system, and the development of the Roanoke subdivision to the west. Both of these developments were targeted toward upper class interests.

During the period of “Old Hyde Park’s” growth, development of the stockyards and the meat packing and rail industries pushed the residential population out of the previously fashionable Westside area, north of 22nd Street, while the quadrupling of the city’s population created an enormous demand for housing.  The transformation from horse-drawn carriages to cable cars (first appearing in Kansas City in 1887) made possible the dispersion of the urban population as far south as the old Westport area.

 

“Old Hyde Park” became home to middle and upper-middle class Kansas Citians.  Though the greatest housing demand called for large, two and three story single-family residences, there were from the beginning apartment buildings, flats and a few residences for the less grand. This blend of apartment buildings and houses still exists on nearly every block.  Because of the large number of builders and architects involved, styles were varied, creating a blend of architecture unique to “Old Hyde Park”.

After World War One, few unbuilt lots remained in “Old Hyde Park”.  In the 1920s, Kansas City’s residential development shifted again as J. C. Nichols drew the market for single-family residences to the area south of his Country Club Plaza commercial development along Brush Creek. Developers were better capitalized, however, and “Old Hyde Park” became home to both high rise apartments (like those along Armour Blvd), and larger colonnaded apartments (such as those on the south 200 block of West 38th St). Since World War One construction in “Old Hyde Park” has consisted almost entirely of apartments and non-residential properties. The majority of non-contributing structures in the district today are post-World War Two apartment buildings representing more recent trends in architectural styles.

During World War Two a large number of single-family residences in “Old Hyde Park” were divided into small apartments and sleeping rooms, increasing the already dense population of the urban neighborhood but contributing an essential housing service. After the war these renters gradually left “Old Hyde Park” for other, more-suburban residential areas.  The neighborhood went into relative decline, as did similar urban neighborhoods in Kansas City and all over the country. In the last decade the neighborhood has experienced a revitalization as long-time residents have been joined by new residents in renovating the neighborhood’s historic fabric.

In order to facilitate the analysis of construction periods and building types in the “Old Hyde Park Historic District,” the properties were divided into periods by date of construction and by building use. Defining elements in determining the periods included the beginning and ending of architectural periods (such as the end in popularity of Queen Anne designs) and  spurts of building construction.

 

The first period includes all construction before the turn of the century. The building boom before 1910 is included in the second period. The third period includes approximately all construction before World War One, and the fourth period includes construction between World War One and World War Two, the 50 year cut off date. However, all but two buildings in this group were constructed between 1920 and 1927. Of the two remaining buildings, one was constructed in 1929 and one in 1938. The final construction period includes all construction that is less than 50 years of age and therefore non-contributing to the historic district due to age.  1953 marks the start of this period.

 

By building use the properties were divided into “Single Family” residences, “Duplexes,” and “Multi-family” apartments.  The “Other” category includes two churches and one commercial building located in the district.

By construction date and use, the extant buildings in the district breakdown as follows:

Properties that are non-contributing due to age include:

 

3412 Baltimore (1976);
3608-12 Baltimore (1965);
3632 Baltimore (1966);
3636 Baltimore (1966);
3701 Baltimore (1967);
3718 Baltimore (1962)
3609 Central (1953);
3703-05 Central (1987)
3701 Walnut (ca. 1966)
3740 Warwick (1966);
3741 Warwick (1966);
3800 Warwick (1965)
3704 Wyandotte (1967);
3710 Wyandotte (1962);
3739 Wyandotte (1967);
3740 Wyandotte (1964);
3801 Wyandotte (1955)
204-06 W. 36th Street (1962)

Properties that are non-contributing due to alterations include:

 

3711 Baltimore (1901)
3729 Walnut (1907); 3736 Walnut (1895); 3837 Walnut (1901)
3726 Warwick (1908)
3627-29 Wyandotte (1890)
101-03 West 34th Street (1922)

 

ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION

 

Included in the “Old Hyde Park Historic District” are single family residences, duplexes and multi-family apartments, the majority constructed before World War I.  While single family residences comprise the majority of buildings in the district, multi-unit dwellings represent the bulk of construction from a second building episode between the end of the war and 1927.

The single family residences represent the variety of architectural fashions popular from the end of the nineteenth century through World War I.  While a few architect-designed properties are included in the district, the majority are vernacular house forms embellished with stylistic elements.  The locally popular “Kansas City Shirtwaist,” a variation of the Midwestern four-square house, predominates.  These houses are clad with brick or stone on the first story and shingles, clapboards, or stucco on the upper stories.  Most have full-width or wraparound front porches and multiple roof dormers. 

 

Architectural embellishments reflect the various architectural styles elaborated below.

  • Queen Anne:  shingled siding, asymmetrical plan, wraparound porch, stained glass windows, decorative stick work

  • Colonial Revival:  center hall plan, gabled portico, pent overhang, sidelights

  • Neoclassical:  columns, cornice returns, dentils, modillions, Palladian window

  • Tudor:  small multi-light sash, simulated half-timbering

  • Prairie:  wide eaves, banded windows

  • Craftsman:  knee braces, exposed rafter tails, multiple gables and dormers, leaded and art glass windows

These same styles, whose features were adopted for vernacular designs, are typical of the few high-style residences extant in the district.

Multi-unit dwellings were constructed in the district from the beginning.  Prior to 1910, over eighty-percent of the construction was for single family residences.  However, after 1910 that trend shifted as increased population demands necessitated the construction of  multi-unit buildings.  Between 1910 and World War I sixty-five percent of the residential construction in “Old Hyde Park” contained multiple units.  That number increased to eighty-five percent in the decade following the war.

The most prolific type of multi-unit dwelling in the district is the Colonnaded Apartment.  These two to three story, brick buildings typically contain four to six apartment units.  They are distinguished by front porches elevated on columns and piers of different orders.  The columns range from simple, posts to full-height, fluted Corinthian designs.

The thirty-unit Colonanade Apartments, erected in 1905 at 201-219 Armour Blvd between Wyandotte and Central, featured one of the more ornate and high style exterior designs of the decade. Records from the first decade of the 20th century show that Mayor Henry M. Beardsley and businessman James M. Kemper were residents of the Colonnade Apartments.

Following the war, apartment designs became larger, porchless, and more functional with minimal ornament influenced by historical European architecture.  Fewer buildings were constructed, but each contained substantially more apartments than the earlier four or six unit buildings.

Most of the buildings contributing to the historic district have suffered few changes.  The most common alterations involve the replacement of historic siding and porch elements.  A number of buildings have replacement windows as well.  Exterior wood stairs leading to the second and third stories are found on many of the homes that were converted in to apartments during the 1940s.

ARCHITECTS

 

While the majority of homes in the district were not architect designed, some of Kansas City’s most prominent architects did contribute designs to the neighborhood.

Eight apartments by the area’s leading female architect, Nelle E. Peters are included in the district: 200-202 W. Armour (1920); 300-306 W. Armour (1926); 3813-3815 Central (1913); 3814-3816 Central ( 1921); 3817-3819 Central (1913); 3812-14 Walnut (1915); 3816-3818 Walnut (1915); 3820-3822 Walnut (1923).  The buildings along Central and Walnut are typical three story, U-shaped, brick apartment buildings.  Four of the buildings are Colonnaded apartments with two-story columns or posts resting on one-story brick piers.  The other two buildings are similar in design, with enclosed sun porches replacing colonnaded porches on the facade.

The two buildings on Armour are larger and more modern in design. The Ellison at 300-06 Armour Blvd, in particular, is reminiscent of Peters’ designs on the Country Club Plaza.  This building is seven stories in height with Gothic and Classically inspired ornament around the door and window openings and the roof line.  The “Nelle Peters Historic District,” containing ten larger apartment buildings near Country Club Plaza, was designated to the Kansas City Register in 1989.  The concentration of Peters designs in the “Old Hyde Park” represents the second largest recognized concentration of this architect’s work. In this neighborhood Peters worked with developers W.G. Wrenn in the 1910s and with Charles E. Phillips in the early 1920s.

John McKecknie is recognized as one of Kansas City’s leading interpreters of the turn-of-the-century Arts & Crafts school of design. Twelve buildings by McKecknie, and his firm McKecknie & Trask, are included in “Old Hyde Park,” including a concentration of eleven small apartment buildings at the west end of Armour Boulevard. McKecknie’s work in the district includes the following properties: 100-06, 108-10, 112-14, 116-18 West Armour (1902-03); 109-11, 113-15, 117-19, 121-23 West Armour (1906); 212-14, 216-18, 220-22 West Armour (1905); 6-8 West 37th Street (1903). The majority of these buildings are two-story, colonnaded apartments embellished with McKecknie’s own interpretation of Craftsman style. Identifying features include groups of thin posts instead of columns and ornate geometric brick and stone trim, especially at the eave line.  100-06 West Armour is a larger building of a Mediterranean-inspired design.

Other locally prominent architects whose work is contained in the “Old Hyde Park Historic District” include:

  • Philip T. Drotts  – 311-15 W. 38th Street (1925)

  • Otis Goddard – 3433-3435 Central (1911)

  • F.E. Hill – 3522 and 3526 Walnut (c. 1896)

  • Alfred Hockaday – 220 West 34th Street (1901)

  • George Mathews – 3810 Warwick (1896)

  • Walter Root, Root and Siemens – 3809-15 Walnut (1905)

  • Clarence Shepard, Shepard & Farrar – 3823 Walnut (1910)

  • Wilder & Wight – 3800-02 Baltimore (1910)

DEVELOPERS

 

During the period of peak construction in the district, between 1900 and 1909, Kansas City experienced a tremendous growth in population.  There was a great need for housing, and many developers engaged in speculative construction to meet the demand.  A number of developers purchased groups of lots on which they built houses, rapidly filling entire blocks.   Several developers constructed a dozen or more homes on a single block within a single year. 

 

The following list represents those developers who made a significant impact on the “Old Hyde Park” streetscape through building construction on numerous parcels.  One of the developers, Charles E. Finlay, was active right at the turn of the century, while the remaining developers were active between 1903 and 1908.

 

  • Charles E. Finlay:  (c. 1899) – 3700 block Baltimore (6 buildings, both sides); (1899-1902) – 3700 block Wyandotte (9 buildings, odd)

  • C.L. Bliss: (c. 1909) – 3632-44 Walnut (4 buildings)

  •  J.D. Hamrick: (c. 1903) – 3600 block Central (7 buildings, odd); 3600 block Wyandotte (6 buildings, even)

  • E.W. Hayes: (c. 1904) – 3300 block Baltimore (5 building, odd)

  • Shelton & Gens: (c. 1908) – 3700 block Walnut (12 buildings, even and odd)

  •  J.O. Wade: (c. 1908) – 3800 block Baltimore (4 buildings, odd)

 

One developer who was very active in the District after World War One is of particular note.  Charles E. Phillips was a noted builder of hotels and apartment buildings in Kansas City, who constructed numerous multi-family dwellings in “Old Hyde Park.”  Phillips was also a patron of architect Nelle E. Peters, commissioning numerous designs in the Country Club Plaza vicinity as well as in “Old Hyde Park”. 

 

Charles Phillips’ contributions to the district include:  (ca. 1921) – West 38th Street (5 buildings, odd);
206-08 West 34th Street;  3418-20 Baltimore

 

In conjunction with architect Nelle E. Peters, Phillips also developed:

  • (1915) – 3812-14, 3816-18 Walnut

  • (1920) – 200-02 West Armour

  • (1921) – 3814-16 Central

  • (1923) – 3820-22 Walnut

  • (1926) – 300-06 West Armour (Ellison)

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

 

The “Old Hyde Park Historic District” is significant under National Register Criterion A for the area of COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (1887-1929) and under Criterion C for the area of ARCHITECTURE (1887-1929).

The “Old Hyde Park Historic District” is significant as an example of a neighborhood developed for the growing middle class population of Kansas City at the turn of the century.  The initial development of “Old Hyde Park” coincided with the construction of the streetcar lines to the south of the business district in 1887 and with the expansion of industrial and manufacturing enterprises in the West Bottoms.  The streetcar made it possible for employees to live in a relatively suburban area, such as Hyde Park, while working in the Bottoms or the downtown business district. The suburban neighborhoods were also perceived as being more healthy and desirable than the congested and dirty inner-city.

The expansion of Kansas City’s industrial base also resulted in a tremendous influx of population after the turn of the century.  New residential neighborhoods were platted and built to meet the housing demand.  Individuals and developers constructed single family dwellings, duplexes, and multi-family apartment buildings.  Because so much land was available for development (following the annexation of Westport in 1897 Kansas City had doubled its physical size), the majority of residential construction consisted of sizeable, single family homes.  Neighborhoods such as “Old Hyde Park,” developed for the middle and upper-middle classes, incorporated large, high-style homes on the same block as more modest vernacular houses and multi-family apartments.

Although there are some grand houses in this area, the integrity of the neighborhood is the district’s outstanding characteristic.  The proposed historic district contains 397 structures, only 18 of which date after 1927.  It includes 59 multifamily residences constructed before World War I. The period of most rapid growth was the decade after 1900 when nearly 300 residences were constructed.  For example, the 3700 block of Walnut was begun in 1907 and finished in 1908.  Similarly, one-third of the ninety-four properties along Wyandotte were built in the years 1903-05; the building was so substantial that there are today only six non-contributing structures (due to age) along its six blocks.

 

The “Old Hyde Park Historic District” retains the distinctive character of a late 19th-early 20th century neighborhood.  The District’s integrities of materials, design, and workmanship are strong, in spite of alterations to individual buildings and modern construction.  The majority of alterations involve wall cladding, porch details, windows, and/or the construction of exterior wood stairs.  Generally the alterations have only a minor affect on the character of the property and the district.  Only seven of the 373 buildings constructed during the period of significance are sufficiently altered to be considered non-contributing elements.  The district’s integrity of setting is enhanced by the uniform setbacks of buildings and the large trees that still line the street.  While modern apartment complexes, most constructed in the 1960s, disrupt the historic sense of scale in some areas, they do not damage the integrity of feeling for the larger district.

The “Old Hyde Park Historic District” was developed during a period of great architectural variety.  The late 19th century was the heyday of exuberant Victorian architecture, while the early 20th century witnessed the return of more subdued Classical and Colonial Revival styles, the exploration of traditional Craftsman themes, and the development of the uniquely Midwestern Prairie style.  The architectural vocabulary of these varied styles is represented both individually and in unique amalgamations on buildings throughout the District.  The result is a neighborhood of substantial residences, eclectic in design, that present a streetscape largely unchanged since the 1920s.

 

BOUNDARY JUSTIFICATION

 

The “Old Hyde Park Historic District” is comprised of three discontiguous areas.  These boundaries have been delineated to exclude the majority of commercial properties in the area (most of which have lost integrity due to extensive alterations) while including those portions of the streetscape that retain integrity from the period of significance.  The small, four- property node on the 3600 block of Warwick and Gillham was included because these four houses have been rehabilitated, retain excellent integrity, and are among the oldest in the neighborhood.  Although the surrounding streetscape on both streets has been altered by the construction of modern apartment complexes, the integrity of the individual properties is sufficient for inclusion as a contributing component of the district.

LEGAL

 

All of Lots 9 thru 27, inclusive and the south 25 feet of Lot 8, Block 1; All of Lots 19 thru 31, inclusive, Block 2; All of Lots 12 thru 22, inclusive, Block 3; All of Lots 1 through 22, inclusive, Block 4; All of Lots 1 through 22, inclusive, Block 5; All of Lots 9 thru 11, inclusive, Block 6; All of Lots 1 thru 3, inclusive, and the east 20 feet of Lots 20 thru 22, inclusive, and all of Lots 5 and 6, Block 7; All of Lots 7 thru 16, inclusive, and the south 17.5 feet of Lot 17, Block 8; All of Lots 1 through 22, inclusive, Block 9; All of Lots 12 thru 17, inclusive, and the south 33.91 feet of Lot 18, Block 10; All of Lots 14 thru 16, inclusive, the west 131.60 feet of Lots 17 and 18, all of lot 19 and the south 25 feet of Lot 20, Block 17; All of Lots 7 thru 13, inclusive, and East 24.6 feet of Lots 17 and 18, Block 18; All of Lots 1 thru 12, inclusive, Block 19; All of Lots 1 and 2, 13 thru 24, inclusive, Block 20; All of Lots 5 thru 7, inclusive, 17 and 18, and the north 15 feet of Lot 16, Block 21; All of Lots 1 thru 12, 16 thru 24, inclusive, Block 32; All of Lots 5 thru 10, 13 thru 24, inclusive Block 33; All of Lot 1, except the west 15 feet, and all of Lots 2 thru 12, inclusive, Block 34; All of Lots 1 thru 6, Block 35; All of Lots 3 thru 12, inclusive, Block 36; All of Lots 1 thru 4, 9 thru 12 inclusive, Block 51; All of Lot 1, Block 52, Hyde Park; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

All of Lots 1 through 24, inclusive, Block 23; All of Lots 1 thru 7, inclusive, Block 24, Corrected Plat of Blocks 23 and 24 of Hyde Park; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 13 through 24, inclusive, Block 29; All of Lots 7 thru 12, inclusive, Block 30, Plat of Blocks 29 and 30 of Hyde Park; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 5 thru 8, inclusive, Block 39; All of Lots 2 thru 8, inclusive, Block 40; All of Lots 1 through 12, inclusive, Block 41; All of Lots 1 thru 5, inclusive, and the north 25 feet of Lot 6, and the east 71.5 feet of Lots 11 and 12, Block 42; All of Lots 1 thru 4, inclusive, and Lots 7 thru 12, inclusive, Block 43; All of Lots 10 thru 12, inclusive, and the north 39 feet of Lot 9, Block 44; Plat of Blocks 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and 44 of Hyde Park; a subdivision of Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 13 thru 24, inclusive, Block 47; All of Lots 1 through 24, inclusive, Block 48; All of Lot 2, Block 49; All of Lot 2 and the north 83.42 feet of the west 60 feet of Lot 1, Block 50, Plat of Blocks 47, 48, 49, and 50 of Hyde Park; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

All of Lots 1 through 14, inclusive, Block 59, Plat of Blocks 59 and 60 of Hyde Park; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 5 thru 12, inclusive, Block 1; All of Lots 1 through 12, inclusive, Block 2, Hyde Park Annex; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 1 thru 5, inclusive, and Lots 10 thru 12, inclusive, Arnold’s Resurvey of T.G. Cross’ Addition; a subdivision of Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 1 thru 12, inclusive, Hanover Place; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Lots 1 thru 8, inclusive, Redemptorist College Place; a subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of Baltimore Place, a condominium subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of The Londonaire, a condominium subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of The Warwick Arms, a condominium subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

All of The Warwick 38, a condominium subdivision in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Elizabeth Rosin
Preservation Planner

“Old Hyde Park Historic District”
Case No. 135-D
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