Featured Homes~ June 10th, 2017

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Home #1 ~ 3701 Valentine Road

In 1906, noted architect Fredrick Gunn designed this house for his family home.  However, his wife’s illness necessitated a sale, and Charles Hoefer, of the Woodstock-Hoefer Watch and Jewelry Company became the first owner.   The 2 story Craftsman style house features rounded arches on the porch and gable windows, as well as a low pitched red tile gable roof.  Massive stone walls and staircases compliment the natural setting on a bluff overlooking Roanoke Park.  The pebbled glass used in the 12-foot stained glass window is called “Roanoke Glass”.  Huge mahogany columns grace the living room and curved staircase. Reference: Roanoke Protective Homes Association

Home #2 ~ 3671 Belleview Ave.

Architect George Mathews designed this Prairie School style American Foursquare in 1901 with construction costs of $6,000.  The house features a hip roof and prominent dormers, an asymmetrical double hung window configuration on the front façade, fenestration with entablature surrounds, shingle exterior, and bellcast eaves on the main roof.  Prairie elements are the prominent “stringcourse” band that demarks the first from the second story, and the off-centered front porch in a recessed bay.  The three-car garage is a recent addition, and the gardens on the double lot are being restored. Reference:  Roanoke Protective Homes Association

Home #3 ~ 3600 Belleview Ave.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 as a Usonian home, expanded by Wright in 1948, tripling the size of the home. Cypress and brick interior and exterior. One of only two Wright homes in Kansas City.

Clarence Sondern commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design the home in 1939, and it was constructed in 1940. The Sondern House is single level with a flat roof in Wright’s classic Usonian style. Masonry sections provide the support for many walls of glass. There are long overhang on many portions of the house and a carport for the family’s vehicle. This was the first home on which Jack Howe supervised the construction. The original construction was small in size, at just over 900 square feet (84 m2).

The second owner of the home, Arnold Adler, hired Wright in 1948 to design an addition to the original structure. The addition included a new entry area, additional carports, a large dining room, and a living area with fireplace. An additional bedroom and baths were also added, bringing the total size of the house to 2,916 square feet (270.9 m2). Since the home was built near a hill, the expanded living room was built a few steps down from the rest of the house, allowing for a higher ceiling and clerestory windows. The addition continued the use of tidewater cypress for the exterior and interior woodwork.

The famous American painter, Thomas Hart Benton, lived in the house just next door to the Sondern House. While working for Sondern, Wright offered to tear down the “rat trap” of a stable at the rear of Benton property and design a good studio for Benton in its place.  Reference:  Storrer, William Allin. The Frank Lloyd Wright Companion. University Of Chicago Press, 2006, ISBN 0-226-77621-2 (S.279 & S.307)

Home #4 ~ Thomas Hart Benton Home & Studio

The property was built in Kansas City’s Roanoke Park neighborhood around 1903. Although not overly large, the house has a fortress-like appearance owing to its elevation above street level and the random ashlar masonry of its limestone front.

The house was built for Walter E. Kirkpatrick. The architect was George Mathews, a proponent of the City Beautiful movement. Kirkpatrick was the secretary and treasurer for the Kansas City Electric Light Company, and on the board of directors of the KC Street Railway Company. The home is approximately 7800 square feet on 312 floors, containing 24 rooms, 4 fireplaces on 3 chimneys, and a full finished basement. The Benton family purchased the 13-acre property in 1939 for $6000. 


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b “Thomas Hart Benton Home”. Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. Jump up^ “Missouri State Park Advisory Board Annual Report 2008”. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “State Park Land Acquisition Summary”. Missouri State Parks. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  4. Jump up^ “Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site”. Missouri State Parks. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  5. Jump up^ “Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 21, 1980. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  6. Jump up^ “Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio” (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. March 1, 1980. Retrieved November 10, 2015.

Home #5 ~ 3671 Madison

Richard & Lillian Simpson built their home in 1915 for $6,000.  Nelle E. Peters, one of KC’s 1st prominent female architects, designed the 3 story home in a unique blend of prairie school and tudor revival styles.  Prairie elements include the horizontal lines in “string course” banding, the banding in the windows, and the full-width one story front porch.  Tudor elements include the stucco walls and decorative half-timbering and steeply pitched side gable roof with no overhang ornamentation.  The heavy rough-hewn limestone exterior is laid in “dressed ashlar” design.

In 1985, Nancy Ferwell bought the house and began a ten-year period of careful restoration.  She sold it to her daughter’s family, Steve & Holly Ropp in 1995.  The Ropp’s continue the careful care.  An enlarged kitchen addition and entertainment room and gallery designed for children/teens, and a “dormitory” in the dormers on the 3rd floor make this a charming home for the Ropp sisters.

Home #6 ~ 1008 Valentine Rd.

The Victorian mansion was built in 1901-1902 for the family of Llewellyn James, general counsel for the Armour Packing Company.  The current and long-time residents are Dr. and Mrs. Jim Wells.  Dr. Don Carlos Guffey, resident of the home from 1925 to 1966, was a prominent local obstetrician, who delivered two of Ernest Hemingway’s children.  He also delivered Thomas Hart Benton’s daughter, Jesse.

The home of Grand Champion of the City Beautiful Contest in 1929 and was the 8th Designer Showhouse in 1977.

Sitting on over 5 acres, the Wells favor a natural woodland style and Dr. Wells will be happy to point out the many championship trees on the property.

The carriage house was built at the same time as the house, with 3 floors.  The stable is full of interesting iron work and has an ingenious plumbing system for cleaning the stalls.  The grooms lived on the middle floor of the building.

Home #7 ~ 3658 Madison Ave.

The house construction started in 1897 and took 3 years to build.  It was completed in 1900.  The property originally included land immediately to the west.  It was sold off and their is currently a home built there.  The home has had very few owner’s in it’s 117 years.  The previous owners lived in the home for 50 years prior to selling it to the current owners.

The home has known many interesting stories.  During WWII, there were rented apartments on the 3rd floor of the home.  Many homes in the neighborhood had such apartments as a means to offset costs during the war.  Suspicious of the homeowner’s German name, the government sent a “renter” , FBI agent, to live in the apartment as a means to watch the family for suspicious behavior.

The home has hosted many parties over it’s 117 years.  One such party, involved the then President, Harry Truman, his wife, Bess and the homeowner…in the 1st floor powder room.  As told by the homeowner in a recording on file at the Truman Library… she found herself trapped between the President and his bride int he small bathroom, as she was showing Mrs. Truman where the lights were.  Imagine everyones surprise!  Another famous guest was of course, Thomas Hart Benton.