Arthur-Leonard Historic District
The Arthur-Leonard Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2007, The Gombach Group.
The Arthur-Leonard Historic District is located within the city limits of Liberty, Clay County. The district is roughly both sides on S. Leonard from south of the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks to Arthur, and both sides of Arthur from S. Leonard to Jewell. Although S. Leonard eventually curves as it heads south out of Liberty, in this section it is part of the rectangular grid system of city streets. This district is on level land, which differentiates it from the other historic residential areas of town. This may have affected the size of the lots, which are generally larger than in the other districts. There are forty-eight buildings within its boundaries: thirty-six are contributing, and twelve are non-contributing. Of the thirty-six contributing buildings, twenty-nine are residential buildings, six are garages, and one formerly served as a summer kitchen. Of the twelve non-contributing buildings, ten are garages. There are a variety of housing styles, types, and sizes located within the small district including a post-Civil War Greek Revival Residence, Queen Anne style, Prairie style, and simple National Folk forms such as the gabled ell. With this variety of housing types constructed over a wide span of years and representing many changes in American architectural tastes, the Arthur-Leonard Historic District is a good example of a Residential District property type, as defined in the amendment to the Multiple Property Submission, "Historic Resources of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri" (hereafter, "Liberty MPS"). The district as a whole retains integrity of location, setting, feeling, association, materials, and design, and it fulfills the registration requirements for the Residential District property type.
The Arthur-Leonard Historic District contains thirty-six buildings which retain a sufficient degree of integrity to be contributing to the Residential District property type. Buildings within the district are associated with two of the contexts presented in the Liberty MPS: Stability vs. Growth: Residential Growth and the Real Estate "Boom." 1867-1896, and The "Bon ton" Suburban Community: Liberty from 1896-1946.
The Arthur-Leonard Historic District is located south of the square, and immediately south of the Burlington Northern Railroad. S. Leonard Street was formerly the main road leading south out of Liberty, and consequently has some early residences constructed on large lots, particularly on the east side of the street. The houses on the west side are situated very close to the road, and have small front yards. Today S. Leonard remains a busy artery, and it has recently been widened at the northern edge of the district. There are concrete sidewalks on both sides of the streets and new concrete curbs.
Arthur Street is an east/west street which also contains large impressive homes on large lots, but additionally has some smaller National Folk style houses. It generally only receives neighborhood traffic. It also has sidewalks on both sides of the streets. Although many residences have large trees in their front yards, there are no "street" trees per se in this district. Some homes on Arthur Street are on small lots, but those in the middle of the block are quite large. The setback for the houses changes in this area, giving varied appearance to the neighborhood. The generally level topography, particularly on Arthur Street, affords a clear view of all houses.
There are a variety of materials used on the residences-from stucco to concrete, brick to stone, wood clapboard to asbestos siding. The siding changes do not detract from the contributing status of the buildings, however, as nearly all buildings retain a high degree of original features and floor plans. The styles and forms vary greatly within the district, from the impressive Greek Revival mansion at 143 S. Leonard, to the large Queen Anne residence at 406 Arthur, to the Tudor Revival house at 155 S. Leonard. The district is most noted for its impressive collection of early twentieth century houses, particularly those that are reflective of the Prairie style. These houses are comparatively large, and appear to have enjoyed a high level of maintenance over the years.
A full listing of the contributing buildings in the Arthur-Leonard Historic District follows, giving the address, building style/type/form, estimated date of construction, and contributing status. Known alteration dates are included as well, although most buildings have undergone minor, undocumented alterations which do not affect integrity levels. A brief description of each contributing building follows the listing, which includes the style or building form. The last line indicates a count and the contributing status of any outbuildings, such as garages.
311 Arthur, house, (c. 1880) Contributing. This two story Italianate house with limestone foundation has asbestos siding but retains many other historic features, including bracketed eaves under the overhanging hip roof. Two wall dormers have gable end returns, brackets, and attic vents with pedimented surrounds. The very tall, narrow 1/1 windows are paired, and with the door, have entablature surrounds.
317 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Contributing. This cottage is a pyramidal variant featuring a bellcast pyramidal hip roof over the main square block, with a bellcast hip roof over a projecting front bay as well; both roofs have widely overhanging eaves. It has a brick foundation and vinyl siding. The enclosed front porch has a hip roof. There is a non-contributing one car garage with wood siding and gable roof.
322 Arthur, house. (1946) Contributing. This one story brick Dutch Colonial Revival house has a front-facing gambrel with siding in the gambrel end. A breezeway connects the garage to the house.
325 Arthur, house. (1912) Contributing. This two story foursquare has elements common to the Prairie style, such as the widely overhanging eaves on the hip roofs of the main house, porch, and dormers. Narrow wood clapboards cover the walls, square porch columns, and porch balustrade. There are typical 3/1 Prairie style windows and a multi-paned front door with sidelights.
327 Arthur, house, (c. 1909) Contributing. This two story foursquare has some stylistic features typical of the Colonial Revival style, such as the simple classically-inspired columns on the full length front porch, corner boards with grooved pilaster treatment, and the fenestration surrounds with entablatures. The bellcast hip roofs of the main house, formers, and front porch have widely overhanging eaves. The house has a limestone foundation and wood clapboards which are narrower on the second story than on the first. There is a small contributing one car garage with a flat roof and shiplap siding.
333 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Non-contributing house & garage. A altered gable front one story residence with shiplap and board & batten siding. The one car concrete block garage has a gable roof.
339 Arthur, house. (1907) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story bungalow with stucco walls and limestone foundation has an eclectic assortment of architectural features. The gable-front house has curved gable end returns and a denticulated porch cornice band. Decorative batten strips are under the gable eaves. The recessed front porch has tapering square columns on stone piers. A stone balustrade extends to the east forming a patio. A concrete block two car garage with gable roof is non-contributing.
405 Arthur, house, (c. 1910) Contributing. This two story brick and stucco Prairie style home with limestone foundation has a hip roof with widely overhanging enclosed eaves. The front gable dormer has Tudor Revival influence, though, with its stucco wall cladding and decorative half timbers. The full length front porch has massive square brick columns. A stone course runs horizontally at the second story window sill level. A clapboard garage with gable roof is contributing.
Pixlee, David, House. 406 Arthur, (c. 1889) Contributing. This two story Queen Anne house has an irregular roof line, with multiple intersecting hip roofs and gable roof dormers. The overhanging eaves have paired scroll-work brackets, and the gable dormers have decorative vergeboards, scalloped edges, and attic windows with classically-inspired surrounds. The other tall, narrow windows have bracketed entablature surrounds. The wrap-around front porch has square stone columns, a stone balustrade, and truncated hip roof with verandah above. The corner boards of the house mimic grooved pilasters. There is a small contributing clapboard garage to the rear.
414 Arthur, house. (1908) Contributing. This two-and-a-half story Prairie style house has brick cladding on the first floor and stucco on the upper stories. The side gable roof has gable end returns and decorative battens beneath the widely overhanging enclosed eaves. There is a front gable dormer, and the full-length porch has a front gable roof as well. The massive square brick porch columns have stone strapwork, as does the brick chimney. The brick porch balustrade extends to the east to form a patio.
415 Arthur, house. (1912) Contributing. This one story stucco cottage has an eclectic assemblage of features typical of the early twentieth century. The house has a cross-gable plan; the front gable is dominated by an exterior chimney flanked by quarter round attic windows. A porch set within the ell has been enclosed. There is a non-contributing gable roof wood garage with attached carport.
419 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story gable front house has a limestone foundation and asbestos shingle siding. The three-quarter length front porch has a hip roof with simple round classically-inspired columns. The steeply pitched roof has tow hip roof dormers on the east. A non-contributing garage and car port is at the rear. The garage has board & batten siding and a gable roof.
423 Arthur, house, (c. 1913) Contributing. This two story foursquare with hip roof has narrow clapboards on the second story which flare out slightly above the brick cladding on the first story. The three quarter length front porch has a front gable roof supported by square brick columns, and a brick balustrade extends to the east forming a patio. There is a shed roof front dormer. A contributing garage to the rear has clapboard siding and a front gable roof with curved gable end returns.
426 Arthur, house, (c. 1885) Contributing. This two story late Victorian era house has a stucco covering over its wood siding, but retains many historic architectural features. It has a hip-on-hip roof with overhanging eaves, and a small one-story flat roof porch set with the front ell. The porch has classically-inspired columns supporting a wide architrave with dentil band; the dentil band extends to the east along the cornice line of the adjacent one story bay window. There is a two story sleeping porch addition on the east.
Rothwell, Dr. William, House. 431 Arthur, house, (c. 1880) Contributing. This two story Queen Anne house has gabled ell plan. There is a hip roof with a front gable end with boxed cornices, and a rear hip roof addition. The house has a brick foundation and asbestos siding. The one-story flat roof porch set within the ell has paired slender square columns on brick piers. Brick piers and the wood balustrade extend to the east to form a patio. The second story verandah has wood piers and balustrade. The windows are paired or tripartite. There is a non-contributing two car garage with gable roof and wood siding to the rear.
434 Arthur, house. Non-contributing. A one story Minimal Traditional house with aluminum siding.
441 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Contributing. This one story vernacular house has a crossplan, and has asbestos shingle siding. There is a shed roof porch set within the east ell. The tall, narrow windows are paired, and are 6/1. There is a non-contributing two car garage with asbestos siding and a door located to the rear.
442 Arthur, house. (1909) Contributing. This two story foursquare house has many Prairie style elements, such as the dramatic horizontal lines formed by the widely overhanging eaves of the house, dormers, and full-length front porch. The second story has narrow wood clapboard siding which flares dramatically over the first floor stone veneer. The second story also has decorative corner boards and a center panel. The porch has square stone columns. There is a contributing garage to the rear with clapboard siding and a hip roof.
447 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story gabled ell house has a stucco covering. There is a small recessed entry porch in the gable front end, as well as a porch inset within the ell. The porch columns have been replaced with decorative iron supports. The windows on the front gable end have triangular pediments. A non-contributing one car garage with gable roof and board & batten siding is to the rear.
448 Arthur, house. (1924) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story Craftsman house has wide overhanging eaves beneath the cross gable roofs, with exposed rafters and triangular knee brackets. The front gable roof porch also dominates the facade, and has short, tapering square wood columns on brick piers. The stucco wall treatment is broken up by a wood band at the sill and attic levels. Windows on the front facing gable end are in groups of threes and are 3/1.
456 Arthur, house, (c. 1900) Contributing. This two story house illustrates the transition period between the late free-classic Queen Anne style and the early Colonial Revival style. The clapboard covered house has a front gable roof with a denticulated boxed cornice. The Palladian attic level windows have a wood keystone feature. The front porch wraps around both sides and has round, classical columns. There are two gable dormers. A non-contributing two car garage with gambrel roof and vinyl siding is to the rear.
121 S. Leonard, house, (c. 1907) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story bungaloid has a cross plan with intersecting gable roofs having end returns. The first story is clad in rock-faced concrete block, and the second story in narrow wood clapboard. The full length front porch has a front gable roof with square brick columns and a brick balustrade.
126 S. Leonard, house. (1907) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story bungaloid has a front-facing gable roof and gable dormer with gable end returns. The foundation and first story walls are constructed of concrete block: the foundation and corner quoins are rock-faced, and the walls are pressed to resemble dressed stone. The square brick columns support the flat porch roof, and brick clads the front gable end of the upper story. The porch balustrade is rock-faced concrete. Wood shingles cover the walls of the dormers. A shed roof porch on the south elevation covers two entry doors.
131 S. Leonard, house, (c. 1908) Contributing. This large Prairie foursquare is two stories, and has a stone veneer on the first story, with narrow wood clapboards and corner pilasters on the second. There are three hip roof dormers. The hip roof porch wraps around to the south, and has massive limestone columns and a stone balustrade. Stone stair wells lead up the long walk to the front entry. There is a contributing gambrel roof, clapboard garage at the rear.
134 S. Leonard, house. (1911) Contributing. This one-and-a-half story vernacular house has a cross plan with slightly flared gable ends. It has asbestos siding and a limestone foundation. The hip roof porch has non-historic iron supports. There is a bay window on the south side, and a non-contributing concrete block garage to the rear.
140 S. Leonard, apartments. (1911) Contributing. This large two-and-a-half story apartment building has intersecting gable roofs with flared eaves. There is a prominent two story colonnaded three-quarter length porch with flat roof. The first story supports are massive square tapering columns set on limestone piers, and the second story supports are square tapering columns which continue the angles from the columns on the first floor. The first story balustrade is stone, and the second story is simple wood rails. The building has clapboard siding and a limestone foundation. A projecting gable bay on the north has a one story bay window, and a second story balcony porch.
Gittings-Carr House; 143 S. Leonard. (1868) Contributing. This impressive two story Greek Revival brick home with hip roof sits up from the road on a large lot. The five bay house has a full height hip roof portico. The porch columns are slender square wood on brick piers, with arched spandrels on the first floor and historic iron railings on the second. The doors on the front facade have pilastered surrounds with and arched pediment, transoms, and sidelights. The 4/4 windows are tall and narrow with arched pediments as well. There are two interior end fireplaces, and a two story clapboard addition to the rear. A one and half story contributing historic brick kitchen is located immediately behind the house.
146 S. Leonard, house. (1934) Contributing. This plain two story house has clapboard siding and a concrete block foundation. It has a t-plan, with a small enclosed porch bay on the front facade and a enclosed side porch on the south. The windows are 6/1. There is a large shed roof dormer on the north elevation of the rear portion, with wood stairs leading to a second story door. An attached concrete block garage is at the rear.
152 S. Leonard, house, (c. 1910) Contributing. This one story clapboard house with limestone foundation has a basic U-shaped plan, with a side gable portion and two front-facing gable end wings. A porch is inset between the two wings, and has Craftsman style supports — square wood columns on brick piers.
Hunt-Clarke House, 155 S. Leonard. (1908) Contributing. This large two-and-a-half story house is an early symmetrical example of the Tudor Revival style. It has a steeply pitched tile roof with center front gable. The gable end has stucco cladding with decorative half-timbering. The full length front porch has square brick columns with ogee arched spandrels and brackets. The brick balustrade curves around to the south side of the house to connect with another entry porch, similarly styled to that on the front facade. The windows are 6/1 and have stone sills. There are two hip roof dormers. Two fireplaces have patterned masonry bands and caps.
158 S. Leonard, house, (c. 1910) Contributing. This two-and-a-half story brick Prairie foursquare has a variant front porch — the one-story hip roof porch with tiles curves around to the south side, and has square brick columns and a brick balustrade. The front facing gable roof, also of tile, has gable end returns, as do the gable roof dormers. In the attic end and the gable dormers, the windows are tripartite in a Palladian-type arrangement, and the wall cladding is stucco.
The Arthur-Leonard Historic District in Liberty is significant under criteria A and C in the areas of Community Planning and Development and Architecture. In the area of Community Planning and Development, the district represents several aspects of the development patterns of residential neighborhoods in Liberty. Located south of the square and the railroad tracks, this area was platted and developed somewhat later than the other historic residential areas in Liberty. In spite of the limited barriers that were presented by the railroad tracks, the neighborhood has retained its association over the years not only with the commercial center of Liberty, but with William Jewell College as well. Some of the houses were originally constructed for professors at William Jewell, and students have lived in the neighborhood for many decades. With the slow growth the city has experienced, the housing styles/types located within the district represent a wide time span, a typical feature of Liberty's Residential District property type. Buildings associated with two contexts, as defined in the amendment to the Multiple Property Submission, "Historic Resources of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri" (hereafter, "Liberty MPS"), are within the Arthur/Leonard Historic District: Stability vs. Growth: Residential Growth and the Real Estate "Boom." 1867-1896, and The "Bon ton" Suburban Community: Liberty from 1896-1946. With this wide variety of housing types constructed over a span of years, the district is also significant in the area of architecture with residences that represent the changing tastes, fashions, and construction methods in American architecture. The district includes several good examples of the large fashionable homes of the well-to-do, as well as the more modest National Folk type residences of the working class. The period of significance extends from the construction of the oldest house within the district, 1868, through 1946, the arbitrary fifty-year cut-off date.
Residential development in Liberty was originally centered around the courthouse square, and occasionally scattered on the main roads leading in and out of town. The earliest development did not, however, surround the town concentrically. Most of the earliest residences were constructed in the areas west, north, and east of the courthouse square. The land south of the square was industrial in a small town sense, with mills and eventually the railroad tracks situated there.
The railroad, coupled with the small industrial area of Liberty, probably inhibited growth in the entire general area south of the square. In the 1877 atlas of Clay County, the Liberty Mills were located south of the railroad on the west side of S. Leonard across from the Gittings residence. Darius Gittings had constructed this Greek Revival Residence in 1868. A Clay County pioneer, Gittings was a mill owner and banker, and also served as sheriff of Clay County. As owner of the mill, it was not at all undesirable for Gittings to overlook his business. Apparently, not many other residents in Liberty found the neighborhood as desirable, though. Arthur's 2nd Addition was platted with extremely large lots in 1870, but by 1877, there hadn't been any construction. Thus even though the land was level and easy to develop, the railroad and industries may have served as psychological barriers for more wide-spread residential development. This did not occur until closer to the turn of the century.
During the real estate boom of the 1880s, which was outlined in the amendment to the Liberty MPS as Stability vs. Growth: Residential Growth and the Real Estate "Boom." 1867-1896, some large houses began to be constructed in the Arthur/Leonard district. Dr. Rothwell, a prominent educator at William Jewell, built his residence at 431 Arthur in 1880, and the David Pixlee House at 406 Arthur was constructed in 1889. However, the early twentieth century, associated with the context The "Bon ton" Suburban Community: Liberty from 1896-1946, was the period of largest growth in the Arthur/Leonard district. Several large houses for upper-middle class Liberty citizens were constructed in the district at this time, such as the eclectic house at 405 Arthur (c. 1910), which contains elements from both the Prairie and the Tudor Revival styles. The large Prairie foursquare at 131 S. Leonard has a number of features which distinguish it from the typical smaller counterparts, including the large wrap-around porch with massive stone columns. 155 S. Leonard is a large brick house built for Edward S. Hunt, a banker, in 1908. This residence with Tudor Revival elements presently serves as a fraternity house for William Jewell.
Thus, although the railroad and early industries may have slowed development in the Arthur/Leonard Historic District area, it did not prevent many of Liberty's prominent entrepreneurs from constructing homes in the neighborhood. S. Leonard was the main artery leading south from Liberty, and many early large residences had been built along its length. Additionally, due to its close location to the William Jewell campus, the district was also popular with both staff and students. As noted in a 1930s city planning report prepared by Hare & Hare, city planners and landscape architects, there were inadequate dormitory facilities at the college, and many of the out-of-town students were housed in private homes, boarding houses and fraternity and sorority houses. A large number of these non-resident students lived in the areas immediately west and southwest (Arthur/Leonard area) of the college. Student boarders were scattered throughout the district during the 1930s, while the buildings at 153 S. Leonard and 406 Arthur housed numerous students.
Although containing only thirty-six contributing buildings, the Arthur/Leonard Historic District has residences which represent nearly every period of architectural development found in Liberty. In addition to some of the larger residences noted, more modest homes are evident throughout the Arthur/Leonard district as well. Many of the early twentieth century residences are typical of standardized "plan book" homes, where the contractor or home owner took inspiration (or in many instances, ordered the plans directly) from the lumberyard, magazines, or architectural catalogues. A few residences in the Arthur/Leonard district spring from more humble roots, and represent the post-railroad building trends discussed in Virginia & Lee McAlester's A Field Guide to American Houses. From simple bungalows with distinguishing materials, such as the rock-faced concrete block and brick residence at 126 S. Leonard, to the simple gabled ell at 447 Arthur, the district contains a cross sampling of Liberty's architecture, and correspondingly, represents the development patterns of the city as well as the socio-economic status of its citizens.
 Edwards Brothers, An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Clay County, Missouri (Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers, 1877), p. 24.
 Missouri Office of Historic Preservation Architectural/Historic Inventory Survey Forms, Liberty City Hall.
 Hare & Hare, City Planners, "A City Plan for Liberty, Missouri," Report of the City Planning Commission, 1930-1934.
 Virginia & Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), pp. 88-101. BIBLIOGRAPHY
City Plat Maps, Liberty, Missouri, City Hall (microfilm copies).
Edwards Brothers. An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Clay County, Missouri. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers, 1877.
Hare & Hare, City Planners. "A City Plan for Liberty, Missouri." Report of the City Planning Commission, 1930-1934.
History of Clay and Platte Counties, Missouri. St. Louis: National Historical Company, 1885.
Jackson, Don M. The Heritage of Liberty: A Commemorative History of Liberty, Missouri. Liberty: R.C. Printing Service, 1975.
McAlester, Virginia & Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.
Missouri Office of Historic Preservation Architectural/Historic Inventory Survey Forms. Liberty City Hall.
Sanborn Map for Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. New York: Sanborn Map company, 1882, 1889, 1894, 1899, 1906, 1913, & 1924.
Withers, Ethel Massie, ed. Clay County Missouri Centennial Souvenir: 1822-1922. Liberty, MO: Liberty Tribune. 1922.
Wolfenbarger, Deon. "Historic Resources of Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form and amendment.
Wolfenbarger, Deon. "Historic Resource Survey: Phase III." June 1987.
Wolfenbarger, Deon. "Liberty Survey Summary Report." September 1987.
Woodson, W. W. History of Clay County, Missouri. Topeka: Historical Publishing, Company, 1920.
† Deon Wolfenbarger (Three Gables Restoration), Carolyn Funk (City of Liberty) and Steven E. Mitchell (Missouri Department of Natural Resources), Arthur-Leonard Historic District, Clay County MO, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, DC.