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April 24th, 2019 at 11:11 AM

‘Who Lived in the Kansas City Museum?’

You Asked, We Curated the Facts

A picture of the Long family who once lived in what is today the Kansas City Museum. (Collections & Curatorial Services | Kansas City Museum)
A picture of the Long family who once lived in what is today the Kansas City Museum. (Collections & Curatorial Services | Kansas City Museum)

Earlier this month, Flatland announced its launch of curiousKC kids and the voting round winner. With the 49-person vote of confidence, we got busy to answer the winning question:

Who lived in the mansion that is now the Kansas City Museum?

The Corinthian Hall, a four-story mansion that was finished in 1910, housed a family of four – Robert Alexander Long and Ella Long, and the couple’s two daughters Sallie and Loula. The Long family lived there for 24 years.

“This big place was all for one family,” said Denise Morrison, the curator at the Kansas City Museum (3128 Gladstone Blvd.). Morrison added that Robert, the patron of the family, owned lumber stores around the country called Long-Bell Lumber Co.

A third-grader from Apache Innovative Elementary School asked curiousKC: “Who lived in the Kansas City Museum?” We answered. (Elizabeth Hansen | KCPT Kids)

Three years after moving in to Corinthian Hall, Long built Longview Farm, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The farm had dairy cattle, horses and a sprawling series of greenhouses. Long also built the R.A. Long Building at 10th and Grand. The 14-story building was one of Kansas City’s first skyscrapers.

After Robert and Ella died, Sallie and Loula donated the mansion and surrounding land in the historic Northeast neighborhood to the Kansas City Museum Association to be converted into a public museum in 1939.

A historical postcard featuring the Kansas City Museum. (Contributed | Kansas City Museum)

Following 77 years of mostly continuous operation (it shuttered during World War II), the museum was closed for renovations in 2017. The property is currently owned by the city of Kansas City, Missouri, and operated by the city’s Parks and Recreations Department.

The city is hoping to start building exhibits at the end of this year to re-open Corinthian Hall in late 2020.

The Kansas City Museum is hosting The Derby Party this Saturday, May 4, from 3:30 to 7 p.m. General admission tickets ($75) for the Kentucky Derby watch party, which is sponsored by our sister radio station 90.9 The Bridge, are still available.

Elizabeth Hansen is a freelancer for KCPT Kids and contributed to this report. She can be reached at kids@kcpt.org.