Westport Historical Society open house celebrates preservation

Westport Historical Society News Release

Contact: Alana Smith, (816) 561.1821, westporthistorical@gmail.com (Harris-Kearney House Museum)


Celebrating Kansas City’s Historical Past

KANSAS CITY, MO (MAY 8, 2012) – Citizens in Kansas City, Missouri will join thousands of individuals across the country to celebrate National Preservation Month this May. “Celebrating America’s Treasures” is the theme of the month-long celebration sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since the National Trust for Historic Preservation created Preservation Week in 1971 to spotlight grassroots preservation efforts in America, it has grown into an annual celebration observed by small towns and big cities with events ranging from architectural and historic tours and award ceremonies, to fundraising events, educational programs and heritage travel opportunities. Due to its overwhelming popularity, in 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation extended the celebration to the entire month of May and declared it Preservation Month to provide an even longer opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states and enable more Americans to become involved in the growing preservation movement.

Here in Kansas City Preservation Month 2012 will be observed by the 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum at 4000 Baltimore hosting a free, open-house for the public on Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 1 to 4 p.m. The open-house will offer opportunities for Kansas Citians to celebrate the preservation of a local historical treasure that chronicles our local and regional development. The open-house is co-sponsored by the Westport Historical Society and Park University’s Program of History.

Learn more about National Preservation Month at www.PreservationNation.org/PreservationMonth.

The 1855 Harris-Kearney House Museum (www.westporthistorical.org) is a non-profit historic site. The Colonel John Harris family migrated from Kentucky in 1832 and settled in the West Port area. Their first home consisted of a four room log house on a farmstead located on the site of present day 39th Street and Gillham Road. John prospered and became the proprietor of The Harris House Hotel in West Port. In 1855, John and his wife Henrietta built a two-story, all brick, Greek revival house "on a ridge just east of town." The grand home was known as the "Mansion House." The bricks for the mansion were made on the premises. Originally, Colonel Harris' mansion stood on 5 acres of land at the southwest corner of the intersection of present day Westport Road and Main Street. In 1922, the house was moved in two sections to its current location which was, in earlier years, part of the Gottfried Homung’s vineyard. The Westport Historical Society acquired the home in 1976 and restored the original 1855 portion of the house as a house museum. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated by the National Parks Department as an official site on the Santa Fe Trail.

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