Monday, March 9, 2009

Old Antique Vintage 1910 Postcard of the Kansas City Missouri Ctiy Workhouse

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I look through thousands of postcards every year and every now and then there is one that makes me stop and look just because it is so different from what I normally see. Today's postcard is a good illustration of what I am talking about. This would not be that unusual if I was looking through foreign postcards but this one was in a group of Missouri postcards. This is a circa 1910 American News Company postcard of the City Workhouse in Kansas City Missouri. The postcard has no further information on the back and the sender did not even mention the view on the card. At first glance, I would have guessed it was an Armory which often look like castles but I am guessing that it was a maintenance shop for city vehicles or equipment. If we are lucky, somebody from Kansas City will let me know and I can update the article. This post card can be found in my Missouri listings along with 10,000 additional postcards on my website Moody's Postcards.

CATCH POSTCARD FEVER!! Sometimes you find questions and sometimes you find answers.


Cheap Postcard Printing said...

1910, That's almost one hundred years old! It would be interesting to get a postcard of how the place is now :) Just to see how things have changed over the course of a hundred years. Thanks!

OhKaty said...

Hey just though I'd let you know what the building is. It is actually Kansas City's old workhouse, built in 1897 by architects A. Wallace Love and James Oliver Hogg. It was used as a workhouse up until 1911, when a new workhouse was built out at the city's Leeds municipal farm. When it was built, it was quite famous for its modern conveniences, including the first steam-powered heating and ventilation system, a first for the city. There are several postcard versions out there including this one. The three-quarters view looking southeast as this one depicts is the most common.

After its closure as a workhouse in 1911, it was used as a reformatory for women till 1918, and then as city offices (most notably the sanitation and water department offices) up until the 1970s. When the city discontinued use, they bricked up the windows and took out all the floors and ceilings and sold the property (about 1.5 acres). Currently the site is abandoned and filled with trees and trash, and is a favorite of the urban explorers. As of October 2008, it has been on the city's historical landmarks list and has a facade easement on it, meaning that whoever owns it cannot alter the exterior at all except to restore it to original conditions. The current owner has no plans for the property, but there is some interest for buyers with plans, so hopefully it will be sold and restored at some point in the future.

You can read a lot more on my blog about the workhouse, found at: