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Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Driver damages historic farm arch

November 24, 2002

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— An 89-year-old arch slated for historic preservation was damaged beyond repair when a construction driver misjudged the arch's height and drove into it.

The entry arch, one of two at Longview Farm in this Kansas City, Mo., suburb, was to be moved to a new home in eight months.

Lee's Summit Police said the collision occurred late Friday morning when a truck carrying an upright crane tried to drive under the arch. The arch had a clearance of 14 feet, 6 inches.

"The truck made it," police spokesman Mike Childs said. "But the boom did not, and it sliced through the arch."

Longview Farm, founded in 1913 by Kansas City lumber baron R.A. Long, was famous for its breeds of hogs and horses. The arches, made of stucco and red tile, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The arches were symbols of a millionaire's utopia," said Betty Eubank, a member of Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation. "They are the signature of Longview Farm. It's part of a history that will probably not be repeated."

Developer David Gale had planned to move the arch into a redevelopment district dedicated to preserving historic structures. He said parts of the arch, including the cornice and roof tiles, will be salvaged so that another arch can be reproduced.

"When you work on large projects, you never know what surprises to expect," Gale said.

"There is a character-type out there who doesn't perceive any value to the historical perspective. But anyone who lives in Lee's Summit, there will be some tears."

The second, undamaged arch is to be moved 150 feet southeast to the gateway of Longview Community College, where it will straddle one lane of traffic.

Police are investigating the crash. The driver was cited for careless and imprudent driving.

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