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Brookside includes some of the most remarkable historic homes in Kansas City, including 48 E. 52nd St. This stately Colonial-style house is just a short drive on Brookside Boulevard to the Country Club Plaza. In fact, the house itself is closely tied to both the popular outdoor shopping district and Brookside, itself – it was built for influential developer J.C. Nichols and his family.


The home is approached by a large circle drive.

In the early years of the 20th century, Kansas City expanded steadily south, with Main St. reaching past 47th St. and into rural areas with pastures and farms. Real estate developers and trolley line operators were quickly carving out plots with grand plans of their own to create new neighborhoods for the city’s middle- and upper-class families. In 1905, J.C. Nichols purchased three lots for $15,000 in what was known at the time as Snugbro Park. (He subsequently changed the name to Rockhill Park, but claimed he had no idea “Rockhill” was in the name of fellow real estate developer and founder of the Kansas City Star, William Rockhill Nelson.)

The second-story sleeping porch was added shortly after the home was built.

The home at 48 E. 52nd St. was designed by Wilder and Wright, the architects of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Construction began in 1907, and Nichols moved into the home with his new wife, Jesse Eleanor Miller, in 1908. Native limestone was used for the exterior, with walls 24 inches thick giving it an imposing and powerful appearance. Nichols would have been able to look north from his front porch and see the roof of Nelson’s stately residence, Oak Hall, later demolished, as per his request when he donated his estate’s generous acreage for construction of the museum.

The main stairway greets you as you enter the home, with living room just to the left.

The many rooms are trimmed with lustrous mahogany and gleaming white enamel. The spacious living room, which stretches the width of the entire first floor, includes a grand fireplace said to be large enough to accommodate a four-foot log. The home also features six bedrooms, a den, two kitchens, a dining room and breakfast nook, two full and two half baths, a walk-in attic, and a large basement with an apartment for live-in help.

The Nichols family lived in the sturdy stone house until 1915, after which it passed through many hands, especially after the Great Depression. In 1952, John and Mary Louise Fogarty moved in, and while living there John handled the underwriting for several of Kansas City’s most famous public building projects, including the Truman Sports Complex, the Broadway Bridge, and the Kansas City International Airport. In the early 1980s, the home was officially designated a Kansas City Historic Landmark, protecting the structure and its timeless beauty for years to come.

*photos and info courtesy of Lindsay Buhs – Reece Nichols

Check out the gallery below to see more of this charming piece of Kansas City history.