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Kansas City, more so than most other American cities, has a wonderfully eclectic collection of historical buildings from many different eras and architectural design movements. During the 1880s, Kansas City was a boomtown with thousands of immigrants moving into the growing city. Among these new residents were hundreds of architects and the like. In the late 19th/early 20th century, Kansas City had one of the nation’s highest concentrations of architects, engineers, and builders.

So many of Kansas City’s historic buildings have been preserved for 100+ years, in large part due to the city’s use of the Historic Tax Credit. This allows for more money to flow into the city while also protecting hundreds of incredible commercial and residential structures. Kansas City is one of the top U.S. cities to take advantage of these tax credits.

Let’s take a closer look at some of Brookside’s most notable architects!

There are several blocks around Brookside lined with striking Dible Tudors!

Napoleon W. Dible

Napoleon W. Dible is responsible for one of Brookside’s most recognizable home styles – cozy, English-inspired Tudors! It’s hard to miss these strikingly angular and detailed homes. You can find them all around Brookside and even beyond.

These remarkable “mini-mansions” were designed with the middle class in mind. They are generally smaller in scale but without a lack of ornamentation or attention to design – steep roof peaks, soaring chimneys, arches, and mixed façades featuring stone, wood, and stucco. The interiors were just as impressive with notable tilework in the bathrooms and around fireplaces.


This home is a beautiful example of Shepard’s interpretation of Prairie School design.

Clarence Shepard

Clarence Shepard worked in Chicago as a draftsman for Frank Lloyd Wright before moving to Kansas City in the early years of the 20th century. He designed many homes for J.C. Nichols and there are several located around Brookside and Hyde Park. His specialty was residences, of which he designed over 600 of them in various Midwest cities.

In many of Shepard’s homes, the influence of Prairie-style design is very evident. The style was popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright and is known for clean lines, wide-hanging eaves, low-pitched roofs, and wide, horizontal profiles. Many Shepard houses can also be identified by clipped gables, a feature he was particularly fond of.

This Drake house in Wornall Homestead features a stone and stucco exterior.

Harry Alexander Drake

Harry Alexander Drake was more well-known for his work in commercial architecture, but he did design a few homes around the city. In 1909, Drake started his own architecture firm in Kansas City. One of his most notable commercial projects was the Newman Theater, which was later called the Paramount Theater before its razing in the 1970s.

While his flare for embellishment shined brightly in his commercial projects, Drake’s residential homes had simple exteriors of stucco and brick with more detail incorporated throughout interior spaces.


The Walnuts were named after a famous mansion that stood on the grounds before their construction in the late 1920s.

Boillot & Lauck

Elmer R. Boillot and Jesse F. Lauck formed this famous architecture firm in Kansas City in the early part of the 20th century. At the beginning of his career, Boillot designed a few homes in around Wornall Homestead. One notable aspect of his style was his use of both stone and brick together. He then worked on a number of different projects including the English cottages and tower in Unity Village, the President Hotel downtown, and the Unity Inn vegetarian restaurant in the West Paseo neighborhood. Recognition for the firm skyrocketed, though, after they designed the Walnuts. The three striking brick towers with their park-like setting were the most luxurious apartments in the entire city and the duo’s popularity soared from that point on.

Despite having no formal education, Alice Jackson completed several stunning homes around the Country Club Plaza area.

Alice Jackson

During this time, the world of architecture was largely closed off to women, namely because they were not allowed to acquire architectural licenses, but Kansas City boasts several buildings and residences designed by women. This is due in large part to minimal architectural regulations until the mid-20th century, which made it easier for women to enter the field according to Pioneering Women of American Architecture.

Alice Jackson is one of Kansas City’s notable female architects. She began her career later in life than most, around age 50, and had a talent for designing English-style cottages and was adept at various other styles as well.

The residents of Brookside take great pride in their beautiful historic homes and buildings. When you explore the neighborhood, you’ll find a rich collection of incredible residences in a wide range of styles, thanks to a strong commitment to preservation and stewardship.

When it comes to buying and selling historic Kansas City homes, Ellen is a true expert. Her wealth of knowledge of the neighborhood and its charming residences make her an invaluable resource! For help buying and selling in Brookside and the surrounding neighborhoods, call Ellen or send her a message online!


*A special thank you to Eric Youngberg, Brookside resident and historian, who helped provide great information for this blog!