Webster House was originally constructed in 1885 as the Webster School. It was designed by the Kansas City School Board’s architect, Manuel Diaz, in the Richardson Romanesque style. Webster House is one of the oldest remaining public school buildings in Kansas City and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Webster School officially opened in 1886 and was crowned with a prominent, distinctive bell tower. After a similar tower collapsed at a nearby school during a tornado, the city ordered the removal of the bell tower. When the school closed in 1932, the bell tower had never been rebuilt.
In 2000, more than 100 years after its initial construction, proprietor Shirley Bush Helzberg undertook the task of restoring the building. With the aid of Helix Architecture and JE Dunn Construction Company, the building was transformed into a stunning shopping and dining destination. A new bell tower, built in Kentucky, stands as the defining feature of the Webster School’s award-winning restoration and symbolizes our commitment to the preservation of this Kansas City landmark.
The restored Webster House opened in 2002. As befits a structure rooted in Kansas City’s past, Webster House continues to play a role in the revitalization of the Crossroads Arts District. In 2011, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opened next door and ushered in a new era of history for Kansas City.
2003 Arts & Craftsmanship Award, AIA Kansas City
2002 Cornerstone Award, Economic Development Council of Kansas City, Missouri
2002 Historic Preservation Award, Jackson County Historical Society
2002 Retail Lighting Award, Regional Electric League of Kansas City, Missouri