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'Save our museum': Old Quindaro House, its 1900s history at risk

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Posted at 8:58 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 23:24:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Quindaro neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas, has roots dating back to the 1800s.

Anthony Hope, with Concerned Citizens for Old Quindaro Museum, says it first began as an all-Black community of 5,000 formerly enslaved people who were tired of misery, and found new life in the Kansas territory.

Hope and his group say a special spot in the neighborhood is withering away in decay, and they need help to spread the word to save it.

Hope, Bobby Adams and Carranzo Lewis Jr. call themselves the preservers. They’ve got stories where you hang on to every word.

“Back in the day, we would sit on the porch and talk to the older people,” Hope said. “They don’t do that — they got PlayStation or Gameboy, but some of those stories were better than television, so that’s what we doing here to preserve our history.”

Their focus is on the legacy of old Quindaro.

“I want everybody to see the history of what we came through,” Hope said.

Adams said preserving the history of the neighborhood also means preserving his roots.

“It really is a labor of love for me,” Adams said. “This is my history that I’m preserving.”

According to Hope, the neighborhood's impact that has been felt across the nation.

“This neighborhood was a stop on the Underground Railroad," Hope said. "This whole neighborhood is historical. This neighborhood is where the escaped slaves came to and raised their family."

The Old Quindaro House, built in 1910, was the first house on the block to have electricity and running water.

It recently became a historical site — a museum that you could visit filled with artifacts that came from the neighborhood dating back to 1800s.

However, because of its decrepit conditions, it hasn’t been open since 2015.

“This house means a lot to me," Hope said. "It was the house of John Walker and he was the reason we got the statue of John Brown down the street."

Hope has been running the museum and taking care of it by himself.

He’s worried its history could cave in.

“It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, and I don’t know how sound the floors are,” Lewis said.

Inside, the ceiling pieces can be heard underneath Lewis’ footsteps.

“It needs to stay intact so people will be able to relate to the history of this area,” Lewis said.

Lewis says the things inside the home are just as important.

“History — you don’t find the antique sewing machine, the upright piano," Lewis said. "In order for us to bring this history to our youth, we have to restore.”

They’re letting the public in on a chance to help save it.

A benefit concert will be held on June 3 at the Gem Theatre at 18th and Vine District in Kansas City, Missouri.

Many jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B artists will help raise money for the Old Quindaro House.

Those who'd like to by tickets can do so at this link.

They can also call Adams for tickets (913)-223-3277