Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Corinthian Hall


A few weeks ago my editor at Spaces, Zim Loy, called to ask if I could bring a couple of my chairs for a shoot. The images would accompany my latest article on collecting, um, chairs.


Absolutely, sure, fine, delighted, where?


"Kansas City Museum," was her reply. I furrowed my brow and Zim read the silence correctly, not a dropped call, but confusion. "You've been there, right?"


"Well, no." "You've never been to the Kansas City Museum?! The Long estate? You'll die."


"Oh. Ok." Robert A. Long made his fortune in lumber long ago. I had been to Longview Farms, which was the Long family's country retreat. Terrific. This would probably be good. I googled it and off I went.


The Beaux Arts home was completed in 1910. It was a private residence for 24 years. After Robert Long and his wife died and his children were hither and yon the house languished for a while until it was purchased to serve as a museum.


The black and white images here show the house when the Longs owned it; the later photos are of the house before the rooms were converted to exhibit space.


The building is currently undergoing an extensive renovation. It was certainly amazing to see it. I did not take pictures while we were there, but you can see the house in its current state here.


One of the initial phases of the renovation was the restoration and protection of the stained glass, which is wonderful, but I could not stop looking at the plaster work. Stunning. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

For more information on the Long family, the house and the museum check out the Friends of the Kansas City Museum site here. Hard hat tours are available for members.

Images courtesy of the Kansas City Museum.

17 comments:

Pat's Addition said...

This grand building reminds me very much of Wilson Hall, Monmouth University in NJ. It was the set for the movie "Annie" and where my Mom worked for many years. Her office was a bathroom completely covered in marble. Similar stairs, glass and plaster work..now well cared for as it is on the Nat. Historic Trust.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

I think it's good the house is a museum now. And not a house museum, by the way. The Longs appear to have had hamfisted taste.

Mrs. Blandings said...

AL - new money.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Pat - those are the kind of experiences you cannot predict! Sounds amazing.

home before dark said...

I don't know if you have stumbled upon (In)Decorous Taste or not. She, too, has a chair fetish. She's young, smart (Vassar grad in cognitive science no less!), sassy and loves the intersection of fashion/home design. She and her mother are decorative painters. Old School. Big Time. What the three of you could paint up, think up, do up staggers my mind. Just click on the chair on the right side of her blog. Have fun!

beachbungalow8 said...

I remember going to the kc museum on field trips as a kid and later to fundraisers as an adult. I completely forgot about it. Seeing it again after all of these years I'm blown away by its grandeur.

Let this be another post illustrating the beauty of the midwest. No, it's not all track homes on the prarie.

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

Are those your chairs in the first image? If so they look teriffic!

David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

Leigh Chandler said...

While in grade school, this was always one of my favorite "field trips"! We would tour the many halls with roped off rooms filled with what I thought to be original furnishings. This, The Museum of Natural History, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Philharmonic... either students from Prairie Elementary were spoiled or back in the day all of K.C's school children had these lovely excursions!

Tracy said...

My great-grandparents were frequent dinner guests of the teetotaling Longs and never failed to attend without a stowed away flask.

Style Court said...

Patricia, you must feel as if Christmas has come early. What a treat to have your chairs photographed. The feature is beautiful.

Mrs. Blandings said...

HBD - sounds like a match made in heaven - I will check it out.

Tracy - I'm quite sure I would have done the same.

Megan - can't wait to see it when it's had its face lift. Bill remembered going there as a kid as well, but didn't quite remember the house.

David - TWO of the chairs are mine. The Biedermeier reproduction and the mid-century Cherner chairs are mine. The Regency chair is mine in my imaginary world.

Leigh - they were original furnishing and some, while not all, remain. Many will be placed in the house when it is complete.

Courtney - thanks, it was pretty fun - so much better than getting my own picture taken.

Beardsley60010 said...

Mrs. Blandings, this Kansas City native, in the Chicago area for over 25 years, so appreciates the info on the KC Museum. My grandfather lived in NE Kansas City, and as a teenager I stumbled across the museum.

Always loved the building, and that area of Kansas City was such a sleeper back in the day. There were some great homes in that neighborhood, although many had quite a bit of deferred maintenance. What's happening around there now?

Mrs. Blandings said...

Beardsley - sadly, more of the same. I do visit the neighborhood fairly often as they have one of the best cookie bakeries in town. There are some wonderful homes there.

Bex said...

I love these trips down (KC) memory lane! Not sure if it's still there, but one of the big attractions of the Kansas City Museum used to be an old-fashioned soda shop in the basement. I used to love going there as a kid.

Anonymous said...

"AL - new money."

That was beneath you.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Anon - sorry. We all slip up every now and then.

Mrs. Blandings said...

In fact, I'm feeling a little off my game.