REVIEW: Corinthian Hall: An American Palace (2010)

A Book By Lenore K. Bradley

I recently visited one of Kansas City’s enduring, but somewhat underrated, landmarks – Corinthian Hall, now the site of The Kansas City Museum. This book was one of the few items in the giftshop that wasn’t some sort of art piece, and since I usually buy books anyway, this was exactly what I was looking for. It’s not a long book, but is packed with details and photographs of the site and it’s history going all the way back to the origins of Robert Alexander Long, his lumber empire, and eventually the building of this huge mansion.

“A century ago, Corinthian Hall was constructed on high ground at the edge of a spectacular park.  The mansion’s immense size, sumptuous decor and splendid setting symbolized the achievements of one of Kansas City’s most successful businessmen and epitomized America’s Gilded Age. This is the story of how Corinthian Hall came to be … how Robert Alexander Long created the mansion and its complex of buildings and pathways for his wife and daughters and their families.  Eventually, they turned it over to the people of Kansas City. This beautiful softbound book, measuring 9 x 11 inches and 48 pages, includes rare archival photographs, blueprints and more depicting the majesty of this Kansas City building.”

There’s not much I can say about Corinthian Hall: An American Palace, considering it is largely a museum souvenir book, but if one were to leave the site wanting to remember the origins of such an amazing building and it’s rich history, I doubt there would be other books that cover it so thoroughly as this. If there was one downside, the book does try to lionize Robert Alexander Long a bit too much for my tastes. I mean, I have I idea of he was a good or bad person, but this book somewhat treats him as a religious figure that was a super genius and could do no wrong, which felt somewhat borderline propaganda-ish. That’s likely just my general distaste for the glamorization of the lives of the ultra wealthy and the media’s push for them to be celebrities, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Keep your eyes peeled for an eventual look at this actual trip once I get a chance, and if you are in the area, it’s a great place to visit!

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