The 1855 Harris-Kearney House

History of The Harris-Kearney House

The Col John Harris family migrated from Kentucky in 1832 and settled in the West Port area.   Their first home consisted of a four room log house on  a farmstead located on the site of  present day 39th Street and Gillham Road.

John prospered and became the proprietor of The Harris House Hotel in West Port. In 1855, John and his wife Henrietta built a two-story, all brick, Greek revival house “on a ridge just east of town.” The grand home was known as the “Mansion House.”   The bricks for the mansion were made on the premises.  Originally, Col. Harris’ mansion stood on 5 acres of land at the southwest corner of the intersection of present day Westport Road and Main Street.  The  mansion house faced northwest overlooking the Santa Fe Road.

After Col. Harris’ death in 1873, his son-in-law, Col. Charles E. Kearney, moved his family into the house so his wife, Josephine (Harris) Kearney, could care for her mother, Henrietta. The ell or back wing of the house was built in 1872 to accommodate the Kearney’s five children. Mrs. Harris lived in her “mansion house” until her death in 1881. The Kearney family lived in the house for the next twenty-eight years.

Moving the Harris-Kearney House

In 1922, the house was moved in two sections to its current location which was, in later years, part of the Gottfried Homung’s vineyard. The Westport Historical Society acquired the home in 1976 and restored the original 1855 portion of the house as a house museum. The house now houses the Westport Society headquarters and a visitor’s center. 

Today a new and exciting life has begun for the historic Harris-Kearney House. In October, 2006, the Westport Historical Society launched a major fund raising campaign for the restoration and stabilization of the historic mansion. Projects include new wall paper and interior paint, restoration of the original woodwork, roof repair, front porch and back veranda repair and stabilization, exterior restoration and paint, updating the library and research room, expansion of the visitor’s center, installation of a wrought iron security fence to surround the house and property, and refurbishing the 1841 pianoforte.

The pianoforte can be seen in the Harris-Kearney Parlor room and is the oldest residential piano in Kansas City. When the restoration is complete, Kansas City’s oldest brick home will  once again convey its 1855 grandeur.

 

The Westport Historical Society is pleased to welcome visitors of all ages to tour the mansion museum and experience a part of history.   You also have opportunities to volunteer, sponsor, donate, and join The Westport Historical Society in order to help preserve the history of Westport!

Hours of Operation

During open season, The 1855 Harris-Kearney House is open Fri and Sat from 1-5pm, other days are by appointment. Tours of the 1855 Harris-Kearney House are available during business hours.

Private tours or group tours are available upon request and require a deposit or prepayment to hold the reservation. Please call 816-561-1821 to schedule.

Phone:

(816) 561-1821

 

Address:

4000 Baltimore

Kansas City, Missouri 64111

Email:

westporthistorical@gmail.com

Contact Us
A Place in History

The Harris-Kearney House and Westport Historical Society are members of The Santa Fe Trail Association.  The Harris-Kearney House is a designated historic site on the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails. Travelers along these trails would stop in "West Port" before heading off!   We make efforts to conserve the history of these trails for generations to come! 

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