The Kansas Historical Society announced that a segment of the Smoky Hill Trail and Butterfield Overland Despatch and four historic districts are among the newest Kansas listings added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places entered eight Kansas listings into the Register on July 7. The Keeper also removed three demolished properties from the register. This action brings the total number of Kansas listings in the National Register to 1,400.
The National Register of Historic Places is the country’s official list of historically significant properties. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
Eligible properties must be significant for one or more of the four criteria for evaluation. Properties can be eligible if they are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. They can be eligible if they are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past. Distinctive construction can qualify properties for the National Register if they embody the characteristic of a type, period, or method of construction, or represent the work of a master, or possess high artistic values, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction. Lastly, properties may be eligible for the National Register if they have yielded or may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history. The National Register recognizes properties of local, statewide, and national significance.
Below is a summary of the listings and removals:
Grant School – 520 W. 12th Street, Goodland, Sherman County
Grant School was built in 1926 to relieve overcrowding at other public schools in Goodland. It served the community as an elementary school from 1926 to 1969 and then as a junior high school until 2015. The opening of Grant School coincided with the addition of Kindergarten to the district’s curriculum, resulting in the district’s first purpose-built Kindergarten classroom. The school, which exhibits the Late Gothic Revival style, was designed by Hutchinson-based architects Mann and Company, a firm known for its designs of schools. The school reflects traditional elements of the Gothic Revival style with its variegated red brick exterior, stone detailing, multiple gable roofs and dormers, stone quoining, and central tower. The building reflects Progressive-era tenets of school design with a combined auditorium and gymnasium space and specialized classrooms. It is nominated as part of the Historic Public Schools of Kansas multiple property nomination for its local significance in the areas of education and architecture.
Baldwin City School and Gymnasium/Auditorium – 704 Chapel Street, Baldwin City, Douglas County
Kansas City-based architect Charles A. Smith designed the Baldwin City School, which opened in January 1923. The building embodies Progressive-era tenets particularly involving specialized classrooms. It hosted both elementary and high school classes until a new high school was built in 1969. Topeka-based architect Thomas W. Williamson designed a detached auditorium and gymnasium that was completed in 1942 as part of the Work Projects Administration program. Both buildings functioned as a part of the local public school system until 2011. The property is nominated as part of the Historic Public Schools of Kansas and New Deal-era Resources of Kansas multiple property nominations.
South Kansas Avenue Commercial Historic District – Topeka, Shawnee County
Topeka’s South Kansas Avenue Commercial Historic District includes ten city blocks between 6th Avenue on the north and 10th Avenue on the south. The blocks flanking South Kansas Avenue form the primary historic commercial thoroughfare in the central business district of Topeka. The district incorporates all of the commercial, social, and civic functions necessary for the development of a successful urban center, with evidence of specific building booms and the influence of policy changes, such as urban renewal, present in the variety of building types and styles. The patterns of growth and density of the commercial core paralleled the development of the city as it grew mainly south and west from the original town site. Revitalization efforts in the 1960s and 1970s encouraged larger-scale development, and many businesses relocated away from the traditional commercial center. South Kansas Avenue was left with a concentration of banks, restaurants, and offices for government, utilities, and private companies. The nominated area represents the plethora of architectural styles popular during the course of Topeka’s history. Buildings vary in scale from one to sixteen stories high and from a narrow city lot to an entire city block in width. It is nominated for its local significance in the areas of commerce and architecture.
Mill Block Historic District – 101-129 N. Kansas Avenue, Topeka, Shawnee County
The Mill Block Historic District is a five-building, light industrial district along Topeka’s main commercial street, Kansas Avenue, just north of the central business district, between 1st Avenue and NW Crane Street. The buildings reflect the light industrial and commercial warehouse development that occurred along the river at the north end of the downtown commercial core once the presence of railroads was firmly established in Topeka. Constructed between 1904 and 1930 as wholesale warehouse and distribution facilities, the buildings communicate the evolution of this industry from rail to road transportation. The resources continue to function as warehouses. The district is nominated for its local commercial significance.
Church of the Assumption Historic District – 204 and 212 SW 8th Avenue / 735 SW Jackson Street, Topeka, Shawnee County
The Church of the Assumption (1924) and Assumption Rectory (1929) were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The buildings, along with an associated garage, were nominated for their architectural significance as examples of the Mission Revival and Renaissance Revival styles. This new nomination expands the boundaries to include the two associated schools, the former Hayden High School (1939) and Assumption School (1954), and adds an argument for the property’s educational significance. The Church of the Assumption established the first Catholic elementary school and high school in Topeka. For much of the period of significance, Hayden High School served all of the city’s Catholic parishes. The construction of Assumption School in 1954 during the baby boom illustrates the rapid expansion of growth of Catholic education after World War II.
Westheight Apartments Historic District – 1601-1637 Washington Boulevard, Kansas City, Wyandotte County
The Westheight Apartments Historic District on the 1600 block of Washington Boulevard in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, includes four multifamily apartment buildings constructed between 1947 and 1952. It is a locally rare collection of simple, yet distinctly Modern Movement apartment buildings. In their design, the Westheight Apartments embraced basic tenets of the Modern Movement aesthetic, which were more commonly applied to commercial buildings or later, large apartment buildings. By contrast, nearly all contemporary Wyandotte County apartment projects featured buildings that enlarged and adapted the singlefamily dwelling form and traditional historicallyderived architectural idioms to fit a multifamily purpose. The buildings have flat roofs, rectangular massing emphasized by projecting entrance and stair towers, and wide expanses of windows. The district distinctly embodies national design trends from the mid20th century when the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) heavily influenced the design of multifamily housing that was constructed using agencybacked mortgages. It is nominated for its local significance in the area of architecture.
Barnes, Oscar D. & Ida, House – 901 N. Broadway Avenue, Wichita, Sedgwick County
The Oscar and Ida Barnes House is located in Wichita’s Midtown neighborhood and was completed in 1911. It is an excellent example of the Italian Renaissance style exhibited on a foursquare, a common house form of the early 20th century that allowed for considerable variation and experimentation in style. The Italian Renaissance style was most popular in Wichita between 1900 and 1920. In residential architecture, it is typically characterized by a low, hipped roof with ceramic tiles, wide eaves with brackets, a symmetrical facade, stucco or masonry walls, and Classical columns and details. The Barnes House also exhibits the Craftsman style in its built-in cabinetry, geometric window designs, and interior floorplan. The architect is unknown, although it may have been Charles Terry, who worked with Oscar Barnes on the design of several commercial buildings. It is nominated to the National Register as part of the Residential Resources of Wichita multiple property nomination for its local significance in the area of architecture.
Smoky Hill Trail and Butterfield Overland Despatch Segment – 522 Golf Course Road, Chapman, Dickinson County
This nominated segment of the Smoky Hill Trail and Butterfield Overland Despatch is located adjacent to Indian Hill Cemetery on the west side of Chapman in Dickinson County. This portion of the road began as a military route connecting Fort Riley with the Santa Fe Trail south of Ellsworth. By the late 1850s, the Smoky Hill Trail developed through Kansas between Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak, Colorado, and functioned briefly as the Butterfield Overland Despatch in the 1860s. The six-acre property is nominated as part of the Historic Resources of the Santa Fe Trail multiple property nomination, as a tertiary route, meaning it was not created solely for Santa Fe trade but was occasionally used as a supporting road. The period of significance encompasses the duration of use for long-distance travel, beginning in 1853 with its use as a military road and ending with the last stage coach service over this segment in 1870.
McClinton Market – 1205 E. 12th Street, Wichita, Sedgwick County
The McClinton Grocery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on June 28, 2011 for its local significance in the area of commerce and its association with community leader and state representative Curtis McClinton, Sr. It was nominated as part of the African American Resources of Wichita multiple property nomination. The building was demolished in early January 2015.
Hitschmann Double Arch Bridge – Barton County
Hitschmann Cattle Underpass – Barton County
Two 1930s-era bridges near Hitschman were listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 16, 2008, for their local significance in the areas of social history, government, and architecture. They were nominated as part of the New Deal-era Resources of Kansas and Masonry Arch Bridges of Kansas multiple property nominations. The bridges were demolished in October 2014, and the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office requested they be removed from the National Register.