The Sauer Castle: A Highlight of History In Kansas City

Italianate Architecture in Kansas City

Photo Courtesy of Boardwalk Realty

With the variety of architecture that surrounds the Kansas City area, amazing and unique historic properties come onto the real estate market every once in a while. While owning a historic home may not be everyone's cup of tea, you have to admit there is something special about living in your own slice of history.

The thought of owning a historic property may evoke a variety of emotions in the potential buyer - to some - the charm, exquisite detail, and unique features are the particular lure. To others - the dreaded thoughts of having to repair, replace, and maintain such a property can be incredibly daunting.

One particularly unique property currently on the market is the historic Sauer Castle located at 935 Shawnee Rd, Kansas City, Kansas. The home hit the market early this year for the exorbitant price of 10 million dollars, much to the ridicule of the local community. It is no surprise that it is still unsold, as the price tag alone is enough to have even the most financially secure buyer running for the hills. Photos of the property show disrepair on the outside, and since there are no images provided for the interior, what lurks inside is fodder for the imagination. The price is nearly double that of other top (non-historic) real estate listings in the area, and in no way matches the size or the condition of the other homes. We have previously highlighted some of these properties in our luxury home blog.

Even the next top historic property tops out at 2.25 million dollars and was built by William Rockhill Nelson, founder of the Nelson Atkins Museum. Its 13,000 square feet appear to be beautifully updated, and sits with the museum itself in view of the front yard. Definitely, and sadly, a sharp contrast to the Sauer Castle.

So back to Sauer Castle.

The Home itself, in its heyday, must have been a sight to see. It is a two-and-a-half-story brick Italian Villa with a 4 story central tower. it was designed by famed architect Asa Beebe Cross, who designed more than 1000 Kansas City area structures including the Union Depot in 1878, the predecessor to Union Station, and the Jackson County Courthouse in 1936. The castle was built for Anton Phillip Sauer, a German immigrant who first come to Kansas City in the 1860s. Sauer, a successful businessman lived in the home with his wife and their five daughters. The property originally boasted 63 acres and not only included the main home, but a large barn, greenhouse, carriage house, wine cellar, milk house, smokehouse, and large vineyard terraced throughout the acreage. Craftsmen and all of the building materials were shipped in from St. Louis to complete the construction, with only the foundation stones being quarried locally. Marble for the mantles was imported from Italy, Vermont, and Kentucky. Solid walnut doors were placed throughout the home, and elaborate carved arched windows are just one of its outstanding features. The home is just under 4000 square feet and currently sits on 2.91 acres overlooking the Kaw River Valley. It is said to be the finest example of Italianate architecture in all of Kansas City.

The biggest mystery of all that remains in regards to the Sauer Castle, is why would the current owners place a price tag on the property that is so high? Without a sale, the home will sit derelict and continue to fall into disrepair. Would it not be better to see the home lovingly restored to owners who can bring the home back to its former glory and place in Kansas City history? This is such a seemingly sad future for a historic home that was, at one time, inherently worthy of its title as a castle.

Thankfully, there are a number of historic properties in various conditions and price ranges in the area to purchase. If the property you are thinking of buying is on the National Register of Historic Places, there could be some restrictions that you face when wanting to update, renovate, or even paint your home, so be sure to know what you are getting yourself into. On the other hand, many historic homes come with great tax benefits and incentives. In addition to the honor of preserving a piece of history and significant architecture. The Ask Cathy Marketing Team can help you navigate the somewhat murky waters of purchasing a historic home.

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