Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Robert Alexander Long

Robert Alexander Long (1850-1934) = Lumber Baron. He was born December 17 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He was a frail, Bible-reading business man who might have passed for a country preacher, but by 1920, Long was worth tens of millions of dollars until hard times fell on America between 1929 and 1932. When Robert first came to Kansas City, he began his career by opening a short-lived butcher shop on Broadway, then after moving near Columbus, Kansas, several years later he opened his first lumber yard. Eventually he formed the Long-Bell Lumber Company with his cousin Victor B. Bell and returned to Kansas City in 1892. Within 15 years he built a skyscraper, the R. A. Long Building at 10th Street and Grand avenue as his headquarters. He owned quite a bit of land and other businesses by that time and designed an entire city he called Longview in Washington state.
His daughter, Loula Long Combs (d. 1971) was born in 1881.
In 1911, he built a 72-room palatial home, called “Corinthian Hall” on Gladstone, presently the Kansas City Museum. Near Lee’s Summit,  Longview Farms was created in 1914. When new, the forty Spanish designed buildings stood on 1700 acres.
Today, there is little left of the farm but a few original buildings and a small chapel. Longview Junior College, Longview Lake, new homes and a strip mall were built over pastures where horses once roamed. 
Robert was largely responsible for the building of the Independence Boulevard Christian Church which he served as an elder. He was a large giver to civic Kansas City, setting into motion the building of the WWI Liberty Memorial, but his gifts to church institutions were tremendous, totaling several million dollars.
He died on March 15, 1934, at age 83.

Note: My husband’s cousin, Charles Joseph Loveall (1900-1974) was a “Deacon Emeritus” of Independence Boulevard Christian Church.   

More to Read:
1. Here Lies Kansas City: A Collection of Our City’s Notables and Their Final Resting Places. Wilda Sandy. 1984.
2. The Interpretive Site Coalition (ISC) Kansas City’s 2011 Passport to Adventure.
3. Postcards from Old Kansas City. By Mrs. Sam Ray. 1980.
4. Shifra Stein’s A Kid’s Guide to Kansas City, By Diana Lambdin Meyer & Kathryn Lutz Dusenbery
5. Mr. & Mrs. R.A. Long's 50th Anniversary Celebration
6. Longview Farm Tour with guide Dr. Michael Raynor
7. Robert's Mo. Death Certificate #9018
8. Findagrave # 6821401

Places to see in Mo.
1. Independence Boulevard Christian Church (f. 1873), 606 Gladstone Ave, Kansas City
2. Forest Hill Pantheon, 6901 Troost Ave. KCMO.
3. Longview Chapel Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church, 850 SW Longview Rd, Lee’s Summit.
4. Longview Farms, 3361 SW Longview Road, Lee's Summit, (group tours available by appointment)
5. Longview Lake Park, 9898 Longview (I-470 S. between Lee’s Summit and Grandview), Kansas City
6. Liberty Memorial and Museum, Union Station Plaza, 100 W. 26th St, Kansas City,
7. Kansas City Museum, Corinthian Hall, 3218 Gladstone Boulevard, Kansas City (Note of Caution: Not all exhibits at this museum will be family friendly.)

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Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ~ Ephesians 1:15-17.