April 17, 1909


Present Building Too Far North,
Yet Trend of Opinion Is That
New Structure Should Not Be
Too Far South, Either.

At the meeting of the executive committee of the Kansas City Bar Association at noon yesterday at the Baltimore hotel, it was resolved that the courthouse should be moved farther up town. Such a recommendation will be made to the association proper at its next gathering to take place at the Coates house May 2. One of the lawyers said last night: "The courthouse now is too far out of the way and we lawyers are a lazy lot."

Those who talked about the matter last night were not agreed as to just what is the matter with the present building, but they all thought a new one should be built sooner or later, some with the accent on "later." Nor were they all agreed as to the location of a new building, but none of them thought it ought to be south of Twelfth street. Some strange incongruities occurred in their opinions. One man thought there was too much waste space in the building at present and another that it would be a hopeless task to arrange it so there would be accommodations for all of its official occupants. That the building as it stands now is not a fireproof structure, seemed to be about the most robust reason advanced in favor of a move. No one thought the proposal to move into rented quarters up-town was a practical one.


"I don't think we ought to be in a hurry about it," said C. W. German, former county counselor, "although it ought to be done some time. My chief reason for a new court house is that the present one is out of the way. There is twice as much space down there as is needed and the court rooms are all too big. With this in view, I suppose it could be remodeled. If a new one were built, I should think it ought to be somewhere east of Grand avenue, between Ninth and Twelfth streets. It should be near enough the car lines for the sake of convenience, but far enough away for the sake of quiet. We've only been in the present building about seventeen years, and that hardly seems to be very much of a tenure for such a building as that. It would probably be difficult to dispose of the present building, too.

W. D. Thomas, one of the executive committee of the bar association, thought some of the records in the present building were in danger of fire. "I don't believe any of the deeds and mortgages, or such valuable documents are in danger of fire, but some of the papers worth almost as much are exposed to the danger. All of the files in the circuit and probate courts are thus exposed, but the records proper are safely deposited in the vaults."


"Under the new law the various divisions of the courts have to occupy the court rooms in rotation, which makes it very inconvenient and disturbs the even routine of things. While I think the building is large enough, I am afraid that a satisfactory rearrangement would be difficult of accomplishment. If the building should burn down, however, I think it would mean an irreparable loss to the county.

"The location of a new building is not a matter of importance to me. I should think somewhere in the neighborhood of Tenth and Oak streets would be about right."

"It has always been a nuisance to lawyers to be obliged to go that far north," said J. J. Vineyard, president of the bar association. "No, I don't think the present building could be disposed of profitably, for that is the usual experience in trying to sell or rent abandoned public buildings, and the county would hardly come out even on that score. To rent quarters farther uptown would not receive my approval. I think a new building should be built at a more convenient location."