Response to Longview Alliance from Chris Hughey, Project Manager of the City of Lee's Summit

The Longview Alliance asked Chris Hughey, Project Manager of the City of Lee’s Summit, to address some questions about Longview Farm’s listing on the National Register of Historic Districts.  We are very thankful for all of his work to provide the following information:

 

1.       Does the Longview Farm historical structures still qualify as a State Historical District on the State’s Register?

The Longview Historical District is still listed as a National Register Historic District.  There is some openness as to if the surrounding existing developments over the past several years would have some affect on the listing.  If there would be any thoughts on its classification this would occur by the National Park Service (NPS) who is in charge of all National Register of Historic Places (link).  That said any hypothetical modification to the listing would not diminish importance and desired restoration of these structures that is shared by many people including staff.

Also just a minor clarification, the state registry is actually all the National Register districts just filtered out with Missouri only listings.

 

2.       If so, do all of the structures still qualify for tax incentives and other preservation assistance?

Theoretically yes, the tax credits come from the state and federal governments.  If the owner would choose this route they would need to follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (link).  The National Park Service and the MO State Historic Preservation Office with the Missouri Department of Economic Development would have to provide a definitive answer at the time assistance/credits are requested.

 

3.       If the structures are still on the Register, what would happen to their standing if we move some of the structures?

The National Park Service would have to make that determination.  More than likely those particular structures would no longer be listed as a contributing asset to the district since their surrounding context would change.

 

4.       Would relocating the structures within the district, help maintain its standing?

This is something the NPS would have to comment further on.  Similar to the response for number 3 this would likely make those individual structures no longer a contributing asset to the district, but is dependent on where they would be moved to and new surrounding context.

 

5.       Would the State Historic Preservation Office be willing to provide “cultural resource planning” assistance as outlined on their website?

That would be up to the SHPO if they have the capabilities to provide that resource.  The City as a “Certified Local Government” can apply for a grant from the SHPO to help fund “cultural resource planning” needs by the community (i.e. National Register District listings, Historic Preservation Plans (policy based)).  (See also response to #6.)

 

6.       Who should the City & Longview Alliance contact in the future with questions?

It would be dependent on the question or topic.  The SHPO is an excellent resource with a wealth of knowledge and personally I have always had helpful experiences with them.  Tax credit or specific rehabilitation questions should be directed to one of the preservation architects at the SHPO - Samantha Berhorst (573) 751-5376); National Register District/survey questions should go to Michelle Diedriech (573) 526-1680; for Certified Local Government program questions (CLG link) to Rebecca Rost at (573) 751-7958.

General historic preservation questions at the City level should be directed to Ron Seyl in our Planning & Codes Administration Department (816) 969-1600.  I too could assist Ron with inquires having previously worked with the HPC.

 

7.       Does the City of Lee’s Summit or the Historic Planning Commission have a position on relocating/moving the Longview Farm structures?  And a position on relocating the three historical structures directly impacted by the Kessler Ridge development being proposed?

Since this area is not within a “local historic district” the City’s HPC (HPC link) does not have a review procedure over any of the proposed development, and therefore does not have an official opinion.  However, the applicant/developer has presented to our HPC for informational purposes. 

 

Planning Commission Update

At the Feb 16th Longview Alliance meeting members reviewed the Planning Commission discussion and vote.  The Commission asked a lot of questions about our original master plan, and expressed serious concerns about deviating from the plan.  We took their message to heart.  The Longview Alliance decided that we need assurances that Mariner will submit a comprehensive master plan (which addresses the historic structures, commercial development and home construction south of Longview) AND will agree to work with the City of Lee’s Summit on a design overlay.  A design overlay would provide needed aesthetic and quality guidelines on future construction (similar to what was recently adopted in Downtown Lees Summit).

 

This week members from the Alliance are meeting with Corey Walker of Mariner Real Estate and City staff to share our requests and concerns and work toward solutions.  Once those meetings are complete we plan to call another Alliance meeting and finalize our position for the March 5th City Council meeting.  Attendance at that City Hall meeting is important, as we demonstrate the strength of our coalition.

Fun Facts

  • How does R. A. Long connect with Bill Gates?  Some of the original old-growth beams from the Long-Bell Lumber Company in Washington were used to build Microsoft-Founder Bill Gates mansion in Medina on Lake Washington.  (History of the Port of Longview)
  • Did you know Loula Long Combs competed in and won international horse shows for 65 years?  She retired in 1961 at the age of 80. (R.A. Long Historical Society
  • Toward the end of their lives, Loula and her sister, Sally American Long Ellis, donated land for Longview Community College (MCC Longview).  Other parcels were sold and became Longview Lake and nearby residential communities. (R. A. Long Historical Society)
  • Longview Farm was an economic driver for Lees Summit.  The farm employed approximately 350 people; many of the jobs were well-paying, skilled jobs. (R. A. Long Historical Society
  • The Chapel held its first service in December 1915 with Dr. George Combs giving the sermon.  Many special projects were done by the church members, including giving to the Penny Ice Fund in Kansas City, buying a bed for the St. Louis Orphans Home, and adopting a French orphan boy and supporting him until he was grown.   In addition, in the early years, a motion picture machine was set up in the Chapel basement and a picture show was shown every Thursday night to the farm people. (R. A. Long Historical Society
  • “The purifying system near the Lake filtered 50,000 gallons of water a day and pumped it to the 100,000 gallon water tower.  It was distributed by gravity.” (R. A. Long Historical Society)
  • The street, Grandstand Circle, is named after the Longview Farm race track that seated up to 1000 people.  The Grandstand, designed in an American Log Cabin style, “stretched 125 feet long with ten box stalls underneath he stands for the horses”. During horse shows American flags lined the track, and were on display on every building on the farm. (Teresa T. Mitchell, Longview Farm: Biography of a Dream Come True)
  • Construction of the farm and all of its buildings started in 1913 and completed in just 18 months.  Construction workers included “50 Belgian craftsmen, 200 Sicilian stone masons” and 2000 other workers. (Teresa T. Mitchell, Longview Farm: Biography of a Dream Come True)

  • In “1916 the farm had over 500 heads of cattle (232 being milked in two dairy barns,) 16 Percheron Draft horses, 61 saddle horses, 44 harness horses, 29 colts, 29 mules and 375 Duroc Jersey hogs”. At its height, the farm had over 800 head of cattle. (Teresa T. Mitchell, Longview Farm: Biography of a Dream Come True)

  • Longview Farm developed a reputation for growing beautiful flower gardens and manicured gardens. Greenhouses were developed for “commercial flower production and distribution though a wholesale outlet in KC.”  “Sweet peas, roses and chrysanthemums” were grown, and “an average of 2000 blooms” were provided daily. (Teresa T. Mitchell, Longview Farm: Biography of a Dream Come True)

  • The Longview dairy “produced up to 1000 quarts of raw milk per day”, and was distributed through a KC dairy.  "One hundred quarts also went to Mercy Hospital daily at 10 cents per quart, 20 cents less then the retail price and was less than the actual production cost".  Milk also went to the Sheffield Community House, a charity institute established by R. A. Long’s church.  They "received their milk for free and in turn supplied milk to the poor for free." (Teresa T. Mitchell, Longview Farm: Biography of a Dream Come True)

  • Loula Long Combs showed her horses throughout the United States and even transported her horses to compete in Canada and England.  Dressed in her full-length gowns and trademark feathered hats, her success received national attention from the media:

Time Magazine (1951) reported that she took blue ribbons every year at the National.

Newsweek (1950) called Loula the most remarkable woman in the National.

Life Magazine (1952)  Loula was called kindly empress of U.S. show rings

National Geographic (1954) called Loula the undisputed empress dowager of Americas horse shows.

Sports Illustrated (1956) Loula was quoted as saying, After sixty years I still get nervous each time I enter a ring.  I still catch my breath at the sight of a blue coming toward me and I suspect I will for the next twenty-five, God willing. (R. A. Long Historical Society

Pop Quiz

Which of these were included in Longview Farm?

A. police and fire department

B. hotel for men

C. community newspaper

D. all of the above

Answer: D  The Longview Farm also included giant greenhouses, housing for employees, a church, a school, telephone service, and handsome barns with wood pegged floors for the prize cattle and hogs.

How many rooms are in the Longview Mansion?

A. 29

B. 32

C. 38

D. 48

Answer D  The Longview Mansion is a massive 22,000 square foot structure with 6 fireplaces, 14 bedrooms and 10 baths.  It also claimed the first central vacuum system west of the Mississippi.