Longview Mansion is a large former farm estate built in 1914 by wealthy developer, lumberman and philanthropist Robert A. Long (1850-1934). The mansion, and its dozens of other structures, were completed after 18 months of construction. The buildings were designed in the Spanish/Mission Revival style. The mansion features 48 rooms (14 of which are bedrooms), 10 bathrooms, and 6 fireplaces. The building project and short timeline were so big that Long hired 2,000 workers including 50 Belgian craftsmen and 200 Sicilian stonemasons. The estate was 1,780 acres in size and was dubbed the "World's Most Beautiful Farm." It even had its own horse race track (Long was an avid horseman). It was also notable around the country for being fully self-sufficient. It produced its own food, electricity, and heating, and also had its own water and telephone systems. To maintain and operate the farm, Long hired a number of workers in various trades including carpenters and plumbers. In addition, Longview had its own police and fire departments, a hotel for men, housing for employees, a church, and a community newspaper. The estate was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Today, the mansion is an event venue and is often open for tours.
The Rice-Tremonti Home has stood at this location for over 175 years and serves both as a historical site and a physical reminder of several milestones in US history. Pioneering travelers along the Santa Fe Trail passed by the home while enslaved African Americans worked its acreage. The property managed to escape the fate of many other homes that were burned to the ground during the Civil War, and today, it stands as the oldest remaining home in Jackson County. The property is managed by Friends of the Rice-Tremonti House, a dedicated team of volunteers who are committed to its preservation and restoration. Although the home is not open for regular visiting hours, tours are available upon request, and the property is available for rentals and holds special events throughout the year.
Technically an episode in the 2nd Battle of Independence (Oct. 22) and the Battle of Westport (Oct. 23), the two days of fighting at Byram's Ford comprised a crucial moment in Confederate General Sterling Price's cavalry raid through Missouri in 1864. Price first used the well-known ford to slip away from Union General Samuel Curtis' formidable defenses, and the following day Union cavalry would smash through Price's rearguard and seal the trap that would annihilate his army in the ensuing week. Walking tours, information, and exhibits are available from the nearby Battle of Westport Visitor Center & Museum, which is contained within Big Blue Battlefield Park.
The Battle of Westport is widely regarded as the single most important battle of the Civil War that took place west of the Mississippi. The battle itself occurred in modern-day Kansas City from October 21-23, 1864, and the Confederate defeat at the battle marked a turning point in the war and the end of the Confederate threat in the west. As the largest battle in the west with over 30,000 combatants, the three-day battle resulted in about 1,500 deaths on each side, which gave the Battle of Westport its nickname of “Gettysburg of the West.” Its name refers collectively to three days of constant fighting scattered around Kansas City, including the Little Blue River, Big Blue River, Independence, Byram's Ford, Mockbee's Farm, Shawnee Mission, and Brush Creek. Nowadays, visitors to the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum can experience the entire history of the battle. The 32-mile self-guided tour of the Battle of Westport traces the routes of the armies over adjacent battlefields along the Big Blue River in the Byram's Ford Historic District. Several replica artillery items are placed along the self-guided tour. The battlefield has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989, and has been preserved through the tireless efforts of the nonprofit Monnett Battle of Westport Fund. It is now a Kansas City Park.