Nelle E. Peters: Historic Kansas City architect and designer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Nelle E. Peters was one of Kansas City’s most historic architects.

Peters was born in Niagara, North Dakota, on December 11, 1884.

In 1909, she used her savings to start her own architecture practice in KC, working on small houses. Peters was one of the first female architects to have an independent practice at the time.

Story: Historic Kansas City hopes to save Country Club Plaza area apartments

Peters spent more than sixty years as an architect designing nearly a thousand buildings, mostly in the Kansas City metro.

She was known for her design of apartment buildings along the “Literary Block,” located on the west side of the Country Club Plaza.

Peters also completed groundbreaking designs for the Ambassador Hotel off Broadway Boulevard in 1924.

Lack of regulations at the time allowed Peters to enter an industry otherwise off limits to most women.

On October 7, 1974, Nelle Peters died of heart disease at the age of 89 in Sedalia, Missouri.

Related: Fight continues to save apartments on Country Club Plaza

To honor her work, Kansas City designated two districts in the 1980s after the late architect. The corner of 37th Street and Summit Avenue was named the Nelle E. Peters Historic District, while a portion of 48th Street was coined the Nelle E. Peters Thematic Historic District.

Peters left behind a legacy of architecture that helped forever shape the appearance of Kansas City.

“I want each building to be as perfect, as economic and practical, as if I were building it for myself,” said Peters during a 1925 interview with the Kansas City Journal.

Despite the historical significance, some of Peters' buildings have been demolished because of restoration costs.  

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