Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District
The Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2013, The Gombach Group.
The district stands just south of the University of Kansas Medical Center, whose expansion since the 1968 demolition of the Maccochaque School has posed an increasing threat to the integrity of the Hanover Heights Neighborhood. Commercial development along Rainbow Boulevard and 43rd Avenue has altered the early twentieth century appearance of the neighborhood's surrounding environment as well.
The Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District contains sixty-six residences, the majority of which are one and a half story, single family dwellings. Forty-five of the residences are Craftsman inspired bungalows. Fourteen of the remaining twenty-three residences are comprised of a smattering of other early twentieth century styles including the Prairie, Foursquare, and Homestead. The remaining seven residences are noncontributing ranchers that were constructed after the period of significance. Stucco and frame are the predominant materials for the main bodies of the residences within the district, with twenty-four stucco residences and thirty-five frame residences. There are seven brick residences. Rusticated stone foundations predominate in the district, with forty-eight of the residences featuring this element. Eighteen of the residences have either concrete block, slab concrete, or brick foundations. Many of the residences incorporate rusticated stone into the front porch piers and walls, making the stone an extremely important identifying feature for this neighborhood.
The rhythm of the neighborhood is defined by an undulation of one and 1-1/2 story, front and side-gable bungalows with full and half width front porches. Rusticated stone and brick chimneys rise above the low pitched roofs. The deep overhanging eaves, triangular roof brackets, facade gable windows, roof dormers, wide porches, and masonry porch piers enhance the rhythm of the bungalow district. An occasional two-story Homestead or Prairie style house comfortably interrupts the rhythm.
The Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District is located on moderately flat terrain, with some variation in elevation. The residences constructed during the 1912-1930 period of significance conform to a standard setback of twenty-five feet and are located on standard size lots with fifty feet frontage and one hundred and forty-two feet deep. Most of the residences were constructed with detached garages. These detached garages are primarily single pen, gable front, frame buildings. Forty-five of the garages are extant; thirty-eight garages retain their overall integrity and are contributing to the district, seven garages are noncontributing. There are nine examples of basement garages with rusticated stone abutment walls, eleven examples of no garage, and two examples of attached garages. Public concrete sidewalks run in front of all of the properties included in the district, with concrete feeder sidewalks leading from the public walks to the residences. Most of the feeder sidewalks have a slight rise of two or three steps or are flat, although the feeder sidewalks along the east side of Cambridge Street incorporate up to seven steps to accommodate the steeper grade.
By and large, the district retains a very high degree of integrity as an example of an early twentieth century residential neighborhood. Fourteen residences in the neighborhood are noncontributing', seven of these residences were constructed after the district's 1912- 1930 period of significance and seven of these residences are period buildings that have been sided with non-original material.
Construction in the Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District began in 1912, although the majority of the construction occurred in 1921 and 1922. The neighborhood was platted between 1890 and 1911. Development in Hanover Heights represented a continuation of residential development in the area of Kansas City, Missouri that is immediately adjacent to it.
Many of the houses in the Hanover Heights Neighborhood were built by contractor William P. Faulkner (Falkner). Between 1914 and 1924 Faulkner built at least twenty-seven houses in the neighborhood, including twenty houses on Eaton Street (4164-4178 Eaton, 4155-4177 Eaton) and one house on Cambridge Street (4178 Cambridge) that are included in the historic district nomination. Faulkner is credited with five bungalows on Frances Street and one bungalow on 42nd Avenue that are not included in the district but are part of the larger neighborhood. Similar exterior designs and materials and repeated floor plans suggest that Faulkner may be responsible for additional homes within the neighborhood but to date this connection remains undocumented.
Faulkner built Craftsman bungalows and advertised his houses in the real estate sections of the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Kansan between 1919 and 1923, listing himself variously as both builder and owner. Faulkner lived in at least two of the bungalows, at 4170 Eaton Street in 1919 and 4168 Eaton Street by 1922, and ran his business out of his residence. He advertised that he "will build to suit," however it is clear from the advertisements that he was building primarily on speculation. This series of advertisements charts the development of the neighborhood and provides valuable information about the physical appearance of the Faulkner bungalows.
Advertisements for Faulkner's bungalows begin appearing in the June 1919 real estate section of the Sunday Kansas City Star. The June 8, 1919 advertisement reads:
NEW BUNGALOWS: The bungalow plan that is a masterpiece; 22- ft. living room, 18-ft. dining room; built-in chiffonier; ideal kitchen cabinet; clothes chute; massive stone piers and porch; beautiful floors; east front. Level lot, room for drive; price $1,000 under the market; open today. Take Roanoke car to 42d St., walk south 1 block and west 2 blocks. W. P. Faulkner 4170 Eaton Ave.
By that time Faulkner had completed the eclectic row of seven bungalows between 4166 and 4178 Eaton Street. These one and half story frame bungalows all featured rusticated stone foundations and porch piers, full facade porches, eave brackets, and exposed rafter tails. Faulkner integrated four smaller, front gable types with three larger, side gable with facade dormer types to form this early grouping.
In May and June, 1922 another series of advertisements appear in the Kansas City Star. These are all slightly different, calling out different features or aspects of the development. The May 21, 1922 advertisement reads:
COME OUT TODAY. Most beautiful bungalows. Make your choice today; these homes are being sold as fast as completed; there is a reason; fine level lots with separate drives and garages; big stone porches, chimneys and fireplaces; living room 24 x 12, dining room 12 x 18, big sleeping porches 20 x 19 with ten windows; tile bath and base tubs; a house full of closets, built in chiffoniers, clothes chute, linen closets and hat boxes; restricted neighborhood and all new homes; priced $1,000 to $2,000 below the present market prices. Why pay more, when you can buy the best for less on a reasonable payment down and easy monthly payments, interest at 6 per cent? Take Roanoke car to 43rd st., walk back north 1 block and west two blocks. W. P. Faulkner, Owner 4168 Eaton Ave. Will build to suit.
In 1921 and 1922 Faulkner had completed at least thirteen more residences in Hanover Heights, including 4157-4177 Eaton Street, 4164 Eaton Street, and 4178 Cambridge Street. Included in this group are five prototypical front-gabled bungalows with half width, front gabled porches and gabled roof monitors or dormers. These bungalows incorporate rusticated stone foundations and porch piers into their stucco or frame bodies. Faulkner also constructed a variety of side and front-gabled bungalows, two Prairie style houses, and one Dutch gambrel roof house during this period.
The bungalows that Faulkner built in Hanover Heights emphasized a high degree of craftsmanship and functionality. The numerous built-ins and the detached garages placed the houses within their time. The rusticated stone foundations provided a visual and naturalistic link between the ground and the dwelling. As Faulkner advertised, "These bungalows are the last word in home planning and design."
A March 4, 1923 advertisement in the real estate section of the Sunday Kansas City Kansan reads:
MOST BEAUTIFUL BUNGALOWS: Two blocks west of the state line between 41st and 42nd Streets. Buy your home in Kansas, out on the Roanoke Car line. No viaduct to cross. No packing house district to go through. A district of all new homes: large level lots with drives and garages; big stone porches; living rooms, 24 x 12; and a wonderful sleeping porch 20 x 19, with ten windows; tile bath; clothes chute; built-in chiffoniers; a house full of closets; bit stone fireplace to burn coal or gas; priced at a special bargain for quick sale. Take Roanoke Car to 43rd and State Line, walk back north one block and west two blocks. — W. P. Falkner 4168 Eaton Ave.
While no exact construction costs for the bungalows that Faulkner built in Hanover Heights have been identified, similar "modern bungalows" were selling for between $3500 and $6850 in 1923. This price range targeted the new middle class, providing comfortable and aesthetic housing at an affordable price. Faulkner marketed his homes for quick sale at reasonable prices and payment plans. Faulkner's home buyers include an advertising manager for Jones Leather Company, a hog salesman with Page and Cassida Livestock Company, a yard foreman with the Frisco Railroad, a linotyper with Western Typesetting, a sales manager with National Refining Company, an insurance agent with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, an artist with the Kansas City Star, and a principal at Rosedale High School.
The Bungalows, Prairie style, Foursquare, and Homestead houses that Faulkner is not credited with are somewhat more difficult to interpret. Most of these homes appear to have been owner contracted and not built on speculation. These houses stand along Cambridge Streets, and 41st and 42nd Avenues, comprising the full extent of the historic district. They are functional houses that are open and comfortable, with large windows and porches, that featured closets, bathrooms, and built-ins as standard features. They are contemporaneous with Faulkner's houses and many reflect similar stylistic treatments, indicating that Faulkner may well have been responsible for the construction many of these homes as well. The Judge Louis Gates House (c. 1922-1923, NR 1980), a Prairie style residence located at 4146 Cambridge Street, is the only other attributable house in the district. It was designed by Clarence Shepard, who enjoyed an extensive residential design practice in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Gates residence exhibits most of the visual characteristics identified with the Prairie School: the use of natural materials, precise angular forms, deep eaves and continuous horizontals punctuated by short verticals.
By the mid-1920s Hanover Heights had become an established residential district. Residential construction in Hanover Heights dropped off significantly after 1922, which was the year that Hanover Heights became part of Kansas City, Kansas. Hanover Heights was annexed into the City of Rosedale in 1911 and after many years of acrimonious debate Rosedale was consolidated with Kansas City, Kansas in 1922. Between 1922 and 1938 the Kansas Medical School constructed eight buildings just north of the Hanover Heights Neighborhood along Rainbow Boulevard, forming the core of the present University of Kansas Medical Center.
In the years following World War II, Hanover Heights came under increasing pressure, both from commercial development along 43rd Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard, and from an aggressively expanding University of Kansas Medical Center to the north. But despite this, the core of Hanover Heights retains its attractiveness and viability as a residential neighborhood. In the last ten years Hanover Heights has been one of the few older neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kansas to see an influx of young professionals intent on rehabilitating the original residences. The neighborhood's proximity to the Kansas City, Missouri line is an obvious factor in its desirability, but many are undoubtedly attracted by the visual qualities of the area that give it its charm and architectural cohesiveness.
† Martha Hagedorn-Krass, Architectural Historian, Kansas State Historical Society, Hanover Heights Neighborhood Historic District, Kansas City, Kansas, nomination document, 1990, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.