You can learn some interesting things about the Porter Farm Homestead elsewhere on this site. If you are interested in the historic preservation aspects of living and working in the areas that evolved from that farmstead, you can start right here. Mary Jo Draper, an author of many articles and books on historic Kansas City neighborhoods and co-founder of this site, is just the person for you to contact.
The “Project” itself is still in the formation stage though the ultimate objective may be the designation of the farmstead on the National Register. As you may already know, the original concept of an American historic district was as a protective area surrounding more important, individual historic sites. As the field of historic preservation have progressed, Preservationists like yourself, came to the view that districts should be more encompassing, blending together a mesh of structures, streets, open space and landscaping to define the historical character of a historic district.
Kansas City is one of nearly 882 American cities and towns that have some form of "historic district zoning" in place; local laws meant specifically to protect historic districts. The idea of such designations is to provide people with a sense of historic orientation. That orientation does not have to focus solely on individual properties but also on "areas and districts which contain special meaning for the community."
So back to Porter Farm Homestead. There are countless charming Craftsman bungalows and and Victorian influenced shirtwaists in the District. There are also parks and boulevards with historic significance, both locally and nationally. To get the ball rolling on such a designation the founders of this site are looking first to the City of Kansas City’s Historic Preservation office, located on the 16th floor of City Hall. The office works with the City’s Historic Preservation Commission to oversee the Kansas City Register – a list of historically significant districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects. The office may be reached at 816-513-2902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An alternative is to can start with a call to the Missouri State Historic Preservation Officer or “SHPO” (314__________). The SHPO can help us assesses whether the District might be eligible for a state or local designation. After that a group of professionals from fields such as history, architecture and archeology, which can make an evaluation of the significance of properties within the District.
Your role would first be to volunteer to meet with your like-minded neighbors and organize a committee to seek public input from residents and property owners within the District. Notices of meetings will be published on this site. This “steering committe” would then schedule meetings with preservation planners in the Kansas City Planning and Development Department to obtain information regarding local ordinances and local review of new construction and alterations to existing buildings if the designation were obtained. Some neighborhoods within the District have already gone through this process including the North Hyde Park (Certified: 10/17/83) along with the Union Hill Historic District (Certified: 07/23/84). Contacts and meetings with officers of neighborhood associations in these already designated districts will soon follow.
Ultimately, this effort must be self-generating. So, go to the “Contact Us” link, let us know who you are and what your interest is and your willingness to spend time on the effort. If a “critical mass” of folks develops, Mary Jo and other Preservationists in the area will reach out to you to talk about next steps.