In the heart of Hyde Park sits beautiful Janssen Place; nineteen palatial homes that were built at the turn of the century. Many of the mansions were built by the lumber barons of the time including John Tschudy (#2, Tschudy Hardwood Lumber Company), Joseph Bernardin (#42, Bernardin Lumber Company, William Bowman (#96, Bowman-Hicks Lumber Company), George Ultch (#3 Ultch Lumber Company), John M. Byrne (#73, John M. Byrne Lumber Company) and William A. Pickering (#20, Pickering Lumber Company).
William Pickering of the Pickering Lumber Company built 20 Janssen place in 1910. This Italiante Revival style house is approximately 9,377 square feet on 0.82 acres with an Italian style garden complete with fountain, pool and pergola. Behind the garden was a rose garden with over 600 varieties, most of them hybrid tea roses.
In 1914 The Kansas City Star reported that the Pickeringfamily’s side yard was the largest rose garden in the state of Missouri. In 1948 the single family land restrictions expired and three duplexes were built and are there today.
The Decline of Hyde Park and Janssen Place
The 1960′s were marked with urban decay in many of the urban neighborhoods. The inner city endured many heartbreaks including the fires and the 1968 riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King.
Jim and Gloria Cooper bought two of the mansions in 1967. #73 Janssen Place, the John M. Byrne Lumber Company home had been turned into four apartments and #80 Janssen Place which would become their residence.
Mrs. Cooper reminisced about Janssen Place, “many of the homes were undisturbed, Dick and Bette Hetzel bought #7 in 1955 and raised their son and daughter there. Joe and Betty Kostelac bought #27 in 1960 and I believe #3 was a Convent, #20 had eighteen apartments and of course we purchased #73 with the four apartments.” Cooper said, “I was never in #20 but it was rumored that Mrs. Murphy who owned the home would greet any undesired or unannounced visitors at the door with a shotgun.
There were many changes that were made to accommodate eighteen apartments inside the once beautiful home. The interior staircases were removed and the solarium and side porch were enclosed along with the back of the house.
In 2000 the house was purchased by Todd Bower. He and his partner Scott Kendall started the restoration by tearing down the staircase that was built on the north side of the house and the exterior walls that were added on the south and west sides of the house.
After ten years of demolition work and living in the cramped quarters of the carriage house in back Todd and Scott sold the house.
Next week… new owners and a fantastic renovation is underway at 20 Janssen Place!