The House that R. A. Long Built
The above is the title of an
article appearing in the Longview Daily News on October 1, 2005. It
was the result of telephone interviews by Evan Caldwell from Longview,
Washington in reference to Corinthian Hall, the original home of the R.
A. Long family still standing at 3218 Gladstone Boulevard, Kansas
City, Missouri. This fine historical structure currently houses
the Kansas City Museum.
Tim Sullivan of the R. A. Long Historical Society was interviewed by phone and pointed out that we have something in common and encouraged Longview residents to work with us in preserving the history and educating people. He said he would welcome their input and ideas. Tim also said “partnerships with places touched by Mr. Long could lead to more artifacts, exhibits and history people can enjoy.”
Linda Mason was also called and she told him that bringing the history together was important for all who have ties with Mr. Long. There were not many men who accomplished what R. A. Long accomplished in his lifetime!
We want to thank Mr. Caldwell for his continuing interest in the Long history. We do hope to create a relationship with other cities that have the “Long Connection.”
Architect Henry Hoit designed this
Beaux-Arts style mansion for lumber businessman Robert Long, who named
it Corinthian Hall after the front portico’s six Corinthian columns.
Long moved his family, including wife Ella and daughter Loula, into the
new home in 1910 after a six-month shopping trip to Europe. The
oldest daughter Sallie visited often and 4 of her 5 children were born
at Corinthian Hall.
Architects designed Beaux-Arts buildings with elaborate entries because of the awe-inspiring first impression. The Great Hall, styled in the French Renaissance tradition, features a white marble floor accented on the border by amber-colored marble. A pink marble vestibule is at one end, and a stairway of marble ascends from the other end to a stained glass window designed by Hoit. Here the family greeted guests, gathered with their staff for Christmas gift exchanges, and watched the marriage of daughter Loula to Robert Pryor Combs.
SALON ~ front, west side
The Long family reserved the Louis XVI Salon for the most formal entertaining. The French doors opened to the outside portico, and a white Italian marble Fireplace accented the north wall. The original rug matched the ornate plasterwork on the ceiling.
LIBRARY ~ back, west side
This was Long’s private retreat, where he read the Bible each morning. The Elizabethan-style room has oak-paneled walls and leaded glass bookcases and windows. New York craftsmen carved the massive oak mantel following the architect’s designs. The gilded bronze and onyx candelabra and clock on the mantel won a Paris Exposition grand prize.
LIVING ROOM ~ front, east side
The predominant colors were slate blue and gold. A stone fireplace extended to the ceiling and was patterned after one in the Chateau Blois in France, a favored model for American palaces. The baseboards were red marble and the blue damask on the walls was woven in salamander and crown motif.
The room had green latticework on the walls, a bower of potted ferns, and chintz-covered wicker furniture. The stained glass sunlights were designed by Hoit.
DINING ROOM ~ back, east side
Everything in this gold and soft green room—the motifs on the wall, ceiling and curtains, the chandelier, furniture, tapestries, and overdrapes was in the Louis XIV style. Rich green marble, silk velvet and custom-woven silk damask were featured throughout the room.
BASEMENT ~ hallway
A bowling alley occupied the long hallway. In the room now holding the model train exhibit, the family played billiards. (Look closely at the fireplace.) Three storage rooms and laundry facilities occupied other basement space. The recreated 1910 Corner Drugstore fills a former storage room. The house had the first commercial-sized elevator in a private residence this side of the Mississippi.
FAMILY BEDROOMS ~ second floor
The French style dominated the family bedrooms, which had connecting sitting rooms, spacious dressing rooms and baths. Mr. Long’s suite also featured a fully equipped barbershop. Loula’s suite was in the Marie Antoinette fashion; most designers thought the style particularly suitable for young ladies. Eldest daughter Sallie America had four of her five children in the home. The third floor (not accessible to the public) housed staff bedrooms and guest quarters. The Long family employed 24 people, including four maids, a butler, two cooks, two chauffeurs, two laundresses, gardeners, stable hands and a horse trainer.
CARRIAGE HOUSE ~ behind Corinthian Hail
The two-story building contained stalls for horses, a harness and tack room, a wash room, and a lift for elevating the vehicles to the storage rooms. The second floor also contained living quarters for the stable hands, complete with a sitting room and bathroom.
The gatehouse lodged the horse trainer, Dave Smith, and his family. The property also included an enclosed paddock used for exercising the horses, a tool shed and along the north end of the estate, a colonnaded pergola connected the greenhouse on the east with the conservatory on the west. The conservatory kept houseplants in bloom and large ornamental trees alive during the winter.
THE SCARRITT NEIGHBORHOOD
The grounds of Corinthian Hall, overlooking Kessler (North Terrace) Park, provide a spectacular setting that encompasses an entire square block. The skyline of Kansas City, Missouri is to the southwest.
Long began to purchase property around the 3200 block of Gladstone Boulevard in 1907 and continued until he owned the entire block. Two large houses stood on the property and Long paid the owners enough to warrant moving the houses. The Victorian home of Judge William Hockaday Wallace moved to 3200 Norledge and was enhanced with stone. The other house was moved diagonally across the street on the southeast corner of Gladstone and Indiana. Both homes still stand today.
The garage which still stands on Indiana contained a generating plant in the basement. (see photo below) Electric and phone lines were run underground to the other buildings on the property. The chauffeur and his family lived above the garage.
Newcomers such as Robert A. Long found a busy and growing Kansas City in the late 19th century. Long and other wealthy families built grand European-style homes along the eastern bluffs—near enough to their downtown businesses and factories in the East Bottoms. Here too poorer families found smaller homes close enough to downtown jobs and factories in the Bottoms. Others lived as staff members in the homes of their wealthy employers. Together these people made an impact on Kansas City. Their legacies are still with us today.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Corinthian Hall: An American Palace on Gladstone is available in the museum store.
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