Historic Churches of Excelsior Springs

Barbee Memorial Presbyterian Church - 120 Temple
The church was built in 1902 on land platted in 1887. The church was raised and a basement was dug in 1911, providing space for a new coal furnace, kitchen, pastor's study and Sunday School room. In January of 1938, the church was heavily damaged by fire, but was faithfully restored. The north addition, consisting of a single story of brick construction, was built in 1947 and later expanded with a second story in 1954. The front steps, located on the southeast corner, were rebuilt to their current configuration in 1954. The two story, Gothic revival style church as a limestone foundation and aluminum siding. The south and east facades feature tall, paired, arched stained glass windows and steep gable roofs that intersect on a steep pyramidal roof. Within the intersection is a 2-1/2 story, square steeple with arched, multi-light windows and a steeply pitched pyramidal roof. A second entrance is located on the east side. The house at 434 Benton once served as the minister's residence. Today, the church is the Siloam Spring Baptist Chapel.

Flack Memorial Church of Christ in Christian Union -
220 E. Excelsior
Rev. John Van Buren Flack, D.D., organized and was the first pastor of the Church of Christ in Christian Union. In 1881, a white frame structure was completed for the congregation of 60 members. Rev. Flack was originally from Ohio, and was one of the founders of the Christian Union movement. The western movement of this denomination started from Excelsior Springs. In addition to Rev. Flack's significance in the area of religion, he was also one of the founders and promoters of the town of Excelsior Springs. Flack donated the lot and much of the money for the first building. In 1912, when the congregation had outgrown the first building, money was raised for a new structure. It was completed in 1913, and named the Flack Memorial Christian Union Church, in honor of its founder. The side-steeple brick church building incorporates Gothic Revival style into its simple plan. In 1921, the church purchased a parsonage; in 1925, the church basement was completed. The front steps were widened in 1954, and a new iron railing was added. The adjacent apartment building on the south was purchased as an educational building in 1957. In the fall of 1976, after the congregation had grown to 250, members began to search for land for a new church. Over the years, the exterior has remained virtually unaltered. The present stained glass windows are not original, however. The building was deemed eligible for the local historical register and individually on the National Register.

Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church - 114 N. Marietta
The simple, Gothic Revival church building was constructed circa 1905. It was a veneered building with a tower in the northeast corner. Another one-story tower was constructed in the southeast corner by 1909, and the tower on the northeast corner altered to two-stories. At this time, agricultural implements were stored in the basement, and the building had a furnace and electric lights. It retained this configuration through at least 1946. By 1926, it was called the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church. Historic photographs and postcards show that the building's earliest appearance differed from its present. The building was clad in brick, and the south tower was only one-story, while the north tower, which contained the entry door, was two-stories. The center of the east elevation contained a large, Gothic arched window, which now serves as the entry door. A later post card shows the building clad in multi-colored "permastone". At this time, the towers have been shortened, and were of equal height. It is difficult to ascertain when some of these changes occurred, as the building always appears to have had a "veneer" coating. No history of the church is available from the local Methodist congregation.

St. Ann Catholic Church - 552 S. Kansas City Avenue
This late example of a Gothic Revival church was built around an earlier, one-story frame structure in 1917. St. Ann Catholic Church was founded in 1889 by a group of local citizens. Both Catholics and non-Catholics felt the necessity for a Catholic church in Excelsior Springs, to serve not only local residents, but visitors as well. A number of citizens (not just the Catholic residents) contributed funds to the establishment of the church. Due to the scarcity of Catholics in Excelsior Springs, it was supported in its early years by both visitors and friends.

A frame building with tower was constructed at this site between 1905 and 1908. In 1917, during the Pastorate of Father Bruke, the original structure was remodeled. A brick veneer wall was built around the original frame building. The center-steeple church is oriented towards the center: the concrete steps, flanked with stone walls, lead to the central entry door, tower with window, belfry, and spire. St. Ann's utilized many buildings on S. Kansas City Avenue, including a rectory, community building, school, and housing for the nuns. A new church and rectory was built at Lynn and Tracy in the 1970's. The original stained glass windows were moved to the new church at that time.

St. Luke's Episcopal Church - 412 Regent Avenue
This picturesque Gothic Revival church is constructed of native, rubble-faced limestone, set in random ashlar. The front of the building faces south onto Regent, with the floor plan representing a modified version of a Latin cross. The west gable end of the church is parapeted, and is crowned with a cross. The peak of the vestibule gable also has a cross. The interior walls are stone, and highlighted by dark stained fir beams and arched braces, supported by stone wall trusses. The raised chancel is separated from the nave by a carved rod screen supported by walnut columns with Corinthian capitals. The site of the church was once the property of the General Realty and Mineral Water Company, formed in 1911. Major W.A.J.Bell later became its president, as well as a benefactor of the church. He donated the land for the church in 1932. That same year, noted Kansas City architect George M. Siemens designed the small Gothic Revival church. Major Bell was an Episcopalian, serving as vestryman in his parish church at Blechingley, Surrey, England. When local church members desired a physical link between Bell's parish church and theirs, Major Bell arranged for a finely carved stone from the 15th century, which had been removed during remodeling, to be shipped from his parish church in England. It was incorporated into the interior wall on the west side of the nave. Dedication for the church was held late in 1933. The church is a virtually intact example of a Gothic Revival "country" church, a style appropriate for the pastoral atmosphere of this resort city. The only alterations have been the replacement of the slate roof, and interior changes to the kitchen in the 1970's. The church is listed on the Local Landmarks Register.

Woods Memorial Christian Church - 417 Concourse
The First Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) was organized in 1884 at the home of John C. Prather. The congregation then met at the old city hall, and had revival meetings at the Christian Union and Baptist churches. A frame building was constructed in 1886 at the present site, on what was then the outskirts of town. This gave rise to the former name of "Church Street", for the street leading south of the church. The lot was originally part of the Central Park Addition platted in 1887. Immediately to the west of the church, the Concourse Park Addition was subdivided on October 8, 1903 by the McLain Investment Company. Only four lots north of Concourse were included, but the alignment of Concourse was altered. Previously, it had formed an entire oval around the Elms Hotel complex. In the early 1900's, Dr. William Stone Woods, a prominent banker, physician, and citizen, bequeathed $35,000 for a new church building. While under the ministry of the Rev. John Paul Jessee, the Neoclassical brick church and 2-manual Austin organ were dedicated on April 16, 1922. For many years, the bell from the old church was kept on the grounds. The Sanctuary and Prayer room were remodeled in 1967. In 1970, the wall for the parking lot and rear steps were constructed. The stained glass windows are memorial windows with names of early leaders and workers.