Harris-Kearney House

The Harris-Kearney House Museum is a historical site located in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Westport neighborhood. It is the oldest brick residence in the city.

Originally, the house was at the intersection of modern-day Westport Road and Main Street (where Osco Drugstore is now).

This brick mansion was built as a replacement for the 1845 Harris House, a log cabin inn owned by Col. John „Jack“ Harris and his wife Henrietta. The inn was considered integral to the neighborhood as an outfitting point on the Santa Fe Trail, and had providing lodging for explorers, trappers, Union soldiers, gold miners, and politicians. The Harris House burned down in the late 1840s.

Apparently devastated about the loss of the Harris House inn, local citizens loaned materials and labor to the Harris family to build a brick hotel replacement The house was completed in 1855, with bricks formed of Missouri clay, kilned on the premises. It operated as the Harris Hotel until the Civil War reached Missouri in 1861. Union commanders took headquarters in the Harris Hotel until 1864.

During the Civil War Battle of Westport in Oct. 1864, the Harris children reportedly watched the combat from the upper story windows of the home

After Col. Harris died in 1873, his daughter Josephine and son-in-law Col. Charles Kearney moved into the home. The Kearney family lived in the home until 1909

Threatened with razing in 1922, the mansion was moved in two parts, to its current location at 4000 Baltimore Avenue, one city block south. The house opened as a historical museum, but was unprofitable and closed

The house was sold in a public auction and acquired by a commercial developer. The building was used as office space, but this venture also failed

On Oct. 18, 1972, the Historic Harris-Kearney House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places <

The Westport Historical Society acquired the home and property in 1976 and restored the exterior to its pre-Civil War facade. In 1979, the society received a $10,000 grant to finish the exterior renovations When that was complete, the Women’s City Club of Kansas City and The Colonial Dames of America social societies furnished the home with period-appropriate furniture, bedding, and antiques.

The Westport Historical Society completed the home renovations in 2006, before opening it for public tours. They offer reenactments, blacksmithing demonstrations, and other period education performances throughout the year