How do you go about picking up an historic, two-story brick home -- the oldest in Kansas City -- and setting it down on a lot two blocks away?
Kansas City's Grant Renne & Sons moving firm did it in 1922, carefully relocating the stately Harris-Kearney House to what was once a vineyard to save it from demolition. Ross Renne, a great-grandson of the firm's founder, talks about the extraordinary process in in Moving the Harris House in 1922 on Saturday, September 14, 2013, at 2 p.m. at the Westport Branch, 118 Westport Road.
Built in 1855 as the home of the owner of Westport's Harris House Hotel, the Harris-Kearney house originally sat on a five-acre lot at the southwest corner of Main Street and Westport Road now occupied by the (currently vacant) Katz Drug Store building. In the 1870s, a two-story wooden porch was added.
But by the early 1920s, the property was deemed so valuable as commercial real estate that plans were laid to either raze or relocate the building. Happily for history-minded Kansas Citians, the second option was chosen and the home was moved in two pieces to its current location at 40th and Baltimore.
In 1976, it was acquired by the Westport Historical Society, and now houses a museum and the Society's offices.
Moving the Harris House is part of the Second Saturday series sponsored by the Westport Historical Society.
Admission is free. A reception follows at the Harris-Kearney House, 40th and Baltimore.