Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

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TheLastGentleman
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Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Been fascinated with this building and decided to try toying with it, since I have little better to do. Here I'm just seeing what it looks like with the windows finished out. I might try to give it a set back at the top

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ToDactivist
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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by ToDactivist »

hmm. what would total vertical "stripes" along window lines look like? Meaning making the windows disappear if the brick under/over was the same color?

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

ToDactivist wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:35 pm
hmm. what would total vertical "stripes" along window lines look like? Meaning making the windows disappear if the brick under/over was the same color?
Image

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by atticus23 »

Sometimes I think this building is hideous and then other times I see it as quite lovely with it's somewhat symmetry. The building is huge and I wonder what it would look like if it had set backs and new floors added.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

atticus23 wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:08 pm
Sometimes I think this building is hideous and then other times I see it as quite lovely with it's somewhat symmetry. The building is huge and I wonder what it would look like if it had set backs and new floors added.
Since it was built in sections over the course of decades, it's safe to say that it started as a respectible design and they just slowly gave up on it over the years. This shows in the western base, which has some really nice quasi-art deco detailing absent from later sections.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Does anyone know who the architects of this building were?

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FangKC
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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by FangKC »

The architecture firm might be mentioned in either of these books:

Kansas City, Missouri
An Architectural History, 1826-1990
by Ehrlich, George

or

The American Institute of Architects Guide to Kansas City Architecture & Public Art
American Institute of Architects

I don't have these books, and the libraries are closed until the end of March. Maybe someone in this forum has them and can look.
Last edited by FangKC on Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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KCDowntown
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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by KCDowntown »

FangKC wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:59 pm
The architecture firm might be mentioned in either of these books:

Kansas City, Missouri
An Architectural History, 1826-1990
by Ehrlich, George

or

The American Institute of Architects Guide to Kansas City Architecture & Public Art
American Institute of Architects

I don't have these books, and the libraries are closed until the end of March. Maybe someone in this forum has them and can look.
No mention of it in the George Ehrlich book.

KCDowntown

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

It's not in the AIA book.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by FangKC »

My guess would be Hoit, Price & Barnes. I think they designed the Southwestern Bell Telephone Building at 11th and Oak. The Longlines Building was also a SW Bell construction, albeit several years later. I would guess that SW Bell used the same firm.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

FangKC wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:15 pm
My guess would be Hoit, Price & Barnes. I think they designed the Southwestern Bell Telephone Building at 11th and Oak. The Longlines Building was also a SW Bell construction, albeit several years later. I would guess that SW Bell used the same firm.
HP&B disbanded long before the original section of the longlines building was constructed, from what I've gathered. When I was digging through the firm's files at UMKC I never found any correspondence related to longlines.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by FangKC »

That building wasn't originally called Long Lines. It was referred to as the Southwestern Bell Storage Building, and also the SW Bell Toll Building. All the long-distance toll calls were routed through that building, so that would explain why they would call it the "Toll Building." I think it started being called Long Lines after AT&T took it over and added it to their Long Lines' national network.

I found references to the Toll Building several times among Alfred Barnes' papers logs.

https://collections.shsmo.org/manuscrip ... /k0004.pdf
Alfred E. Barnes, grandson of Asa Beebe Cross, Kansas City’s first professional architect, was born in Kansas City on March 5, 1892. He attended Kansas City schools and found work with Kansas City architect Henry F. Hoit as adraftsman in 1909. He became a member of the firm of Hoit, Price, and Barnes in 1919 and remained with that firm until it was dissolved in 1941.
Here is a photo showing the original base portion of the building under construction in 1930.

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... fset%5D=16

This architect retired from Hoit, Price & Barnes in 1941.

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=1

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by alejandro46 »

There is a similarly ugly Longlines building in Manhattan as well. It's a prime location, so would be really positive if it is transformed to residential and the nearby jail can be consolidated to a regional justice center in another location.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33_Thomas_Street

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by tower »

The AT&T building in Manhattan is a lot more interesting, unique and culturally significant, imo. There was recently a whole video game made about it.

The AT&T building here in KC has none of that mystery and is much less interesting, but it's alright as is. We need to preserve architecture of all styles and ages, as long as the building is useful. The only problem I have with the AT&T building is that it is too prominent in the skyline.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by kenrbnj »

KCDowntown wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:04 pm
FangKC wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 10:59 pm
The architecture firm might be mentioned in either of these books:

Kansas City, Missouri
An Architectural History, 1826-1990
by Ehrlich, George

or

The American Institute of Architects Guide to Kansas City Architecture & Public Art
American Institute of Architects

I don't have these books, and the libraries are closed until the end of March. Maybe someone in this forum has them and can look.
No mention of it in the George Ehrlich book.

KCDowntown
I have the book at the New Jersey Place. I'll go back tomorrow or Friday and look it up.

Total function over form building. I do recall some old timer guys (I am an electrical engineer by education -- in the 1990's the IEEE gatherings had members from Long Lines) -- the floor loading was huge: The frame-relay switch gear and early ESS equipment were heavy-ass DMERT-based mainframes. Moreover, the upper floors were loaded with microwave transmitters and channel multiplexers.

If I am not mistaken, some of the building was occupied by Western Electric; the balance from Bell/AT&T and whatever else.

If the building were ever converted to an alternate use; the possibilities would be endless.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by kenrbnj »

Wait. I just looked at the photo. They removed the microwave antennas and horns from the roof? When did that happen????

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

FangKC wrote:
Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:58 pm
That building wasn't originally called Long Lines. It was referred to as the Southwestern Bell Storage Building, and also the SW Bell Toll Building. All the long-distance toll calls were routed through that building, so that would explain why they would call it the "Toll Building." I think it started being called Long Lines after AT&T took it over and added it to their Long Lines' national network.

I found references to the Toll Building several times among Alfred Barnes' papers logs.
Thanks for the correction. I had it in my mind that it was started in the 50s and never would’ve guessed it was that much older. I saw the listings for the Toll Building, but dismissed them since I didn’t know what building it referred to

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

kenrbnj wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:59 am
Wait. I just looked at the photo. They removed the microwave antennas and horns from the roof? When did that happen????
2005ish, I think.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by FangKC »

There are AT&T Longlines buildings in many cities and they all served the same purpose.

I recall reading that building was built in stages starting in 1930 and more floors were added in the 50s or 60s. When AT&T switched to optic fiber, they decided to take the towers down because of the expense of maintaining them. The Missouri Valley Room at the public library probably has a folder on that building with all the relevant information. However, since the library is closed for the foreseeable future, we'll just have to wait.

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Re: Improving the AT&T Longlines Building

Post by TheLastGentleman »

I'm planning to go back to the SHSMO down at UMKC and ask for what they have on this building. I've also become aware that they have more drawings of Oak Tower than what I had found, so I want to see those too.

That will have to wait as well.

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