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Housing & Development

Got An Idea To Rehab Satchel Paige’s Historic Home? Kansas City Wants Your Pitch

Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Visitors tour Satchel Paige's former home in the Santa Fe district on Friday. The city has issued a request for proposals to rehabilitate and redevelop the 111-year-old home.

The house that once belonged to the legendary pitcher has sat empty for more than two decades. Now Kansas City seeks proposals to revive it as a community asset.

Kansas City is looking for someone to save Satchel Paige’s home.

The city issued a request for proposals to restore and redevelop the home that once belonged to the legendary Negro League and Major League Baseball pitcher.

The 111-year-old house has sat vacant since about 2004. It was damaged by fire in 2018 but was repaired with grant money after being purchased by the Kansas City Homesteading Authority.

Carlos Moreno
Jeff Williams, Kansas City Director of City Planning, talks, Friday, about the history of the home that once belonged to Satchel Paige.

“It’s a historic property," says Beth Breitenstein, spokeswoman for the city planning and development department. It’s something that this community deserves to have as an asset for years to come.”

The right-handed Paige pitched for seven Negro League teams and others before signing with the Cleveland Indians in 1948, and then with the St. Louis Browns. He also played with the Kansas City Monarchs, winning five pennants. Paige last pitched for the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 at age 59.

He purchased the home in 1950 shortly after the Santa Fe neighborhood integrated, following a 1948 Supreme Court case that struck down restrictive covenants that aimed to limit where African Americans could live.

Carlos Moreno
Brad Wolf, Kansas City historic preservation officer, looks over the entryway leading to a staircase inside Satchel Paige's former home Friday.

Currently the house is surrounded by a chain link fence. A new roof adorns the colonial revival house, but the facade is crumbling and fire damage can be seen around the windows and eaves. The interior is charred and mostly gutted from the 2018 fire.

Brad Wolf, the city’s historic preservation officer, says ideally the home would be rehabilitated as a community center or even a museum if a large enough endowment could be found. He says the RFP stressed that the new redevelopment should be something that benefits the area.

“We left it pretty open,” Wolf says. “We’re balancing that community use with maybe some income-producing (venture), whether having a meeting space, even some short term B&B rentals would be an option.”

Carlos Moreno
Only a few artifacts reamin in the charred interior of the house that once belonged to Satchel Paige.

Wolf says the basic structure of the house is solid. There is some warping in the floor and missing plaster, but limited charring. Doing a full restoration could be part of the plan for someone, but not likely if it’s going to be used as a community center.

“The biggest thing is for the home’s exterior to be respected and be part of a nationally registered neighborhood and get back into active use," says Kansas City planning director Jeff Williams.

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