Building Near Penn Valley Park

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Building Near Penn Valley Park

Postby gsmith601 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:54 am

There is a really cool older building, almost castle like in or near Penn Valley Park, I think you can see it from SW Trafficway. Can anybody tell me what it was or if there is a history to it?

I've seen it for years when I'm in KC and always wondered about it.


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Location: West Plaza

Re: Building Near Penn Valley Park

Postby kboish » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:07 am

I assume you're talking about Just Off Broadway Theater.

In 1910, a park district structure was built in the southeast part of Penn Valley Park and used as an office, stables and storage barn. Noted Kansas City architectural firm Root and Siemens designed it and limestone quarried within the park was used in its construction. The building was very attractive and a bit unusual for its intended purpose. A short newspaper article in March 1910 called it “A Bit of Old England in Penn Valley”.

After years of active service, by 1990 the building was used only for storage. A fire in 1991 largely destroyed the structure. The Director of Kansas City Parks and Recreation at that time, Terry Dopson, conceived the idea of incorporating the part of the building that was still standing into a theater. He met with local theater companies with the goal of having those companies manage the theater. Using insurance money and volunteer help, the Park Department built a “black box” theater inside the still-standing limestone walls and “Just Off Broadway” opened in 2000 as the only black box theatre in the city and the only theatre of any type with its own stonewalls and grassy courtyard.

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