KC Art Institute to demolish historic Donaldson House

The Kansas City Art Institute plans to begin demolishing the 111-year-old Donaldson House at 4347 Oak St. on Dec. 19, a decision that’s being criticized by historic preservationists.

The Art Institute has owned the landmark home since 1967 and ultimately plans to use the property for student housing, Anne Canfield, a spokeswoman for the college said Tuesday. The demolition will take about two weeks, and the Art Institute plans to salvage the home’s distinctive stone-framed porch and its front door.

The planned demolition had been protested by the neighborhood and preservation groups, and the Art Institute had offered to sell the structure for $1 to anyone who was willing to pay the cost of moving it. Canfield said two people have considered buying it over the past couple of years, but dropped out after determining it would be too expensive to relocate.

The Historic Kansas City Foundation recognized the college’s effort to sell the old home, but added in a statement that it regretted the decision to move forward with demolition.

“We had hoped that the better instincts of good stewardship might prevail to save this historically and architecturally significant structure, particularly when the steward is an organization devoted to the visual and design arts,” the foundation stated. “This is a loss for the Southmoreland neighborhood and our entire community.”