Kansas City Castles
October 08, 2011
I was browsing through the book Weird Missouri by James Strait when I came across information regarding castles in Missouri. I’ve always been interested in ancient history and have dreamed of living in a castle (what history buff hasn’t?), so having castles in Missouri intrigued me. The book states that there are about 20 castle-like structures in Missouri. Four are highlighted in this book. One is located in St. Louis (Stuart Castle), one in Lake of the Ozarks (Old Cross Castle), and two in Kansas City (Tiffany Castle and City Workhouse). Searching the internet provided very interesting information on these two local castles.
Tiffany Castle was built in 1908 for $35,000 by Dr. Flavel Tiffany, a prominent ENT doctor who helped found the Kansas City Medical College. It was designed by architect, Clifton C. Sloan. It has a living room, kitchen, dining room, 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, reception hall, library, conservatory with fountain, spiral staircase, roof garden, and basement gymnasium. It was the first residential building in the Kansas City area to use reinforced concrete in its design. It is still a private residence, and is located at 100 Garfield, Kansas City, MO.
City Workhouse was designed by architects Wallace Love and James Oliver Hogg, and built in 1897 at the cost of $30,000. It was used as the city prison at that time. It is sometimes referred to as "Brant’s Castle" after the prison superintendent, Major Alfred Brant. It was built to help improve conditions for prisoners by providing reduced overcrowding and fire hazards. It also had a steam fan system which provided fresh ventilation. It could house 112 men and 48 women at a time. It remained a workhouse until 1918 when it became city office space. The city abandoned the building in 1970. It is mentioned in the book, The American Institute of Architects Guide to Kansas City Architecture & Public Art, under the heading of Vine Street Workhouse. It is located at 2001 Vine Street in Kansas City, MO.
Both Tiffany Castle and City Workhouse have fascinating histories. Newspaper articles from the early 1900’s provide interesting information. I’m ready for a fieldtrip to view these castles. Anyone want to come with me?
Lone Jack Branch