Tom Pendergast House

Last updated
Tom Pendergast House
General information
Architectural styleFrench Provincial
Location5650 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, Missouri
Coordinates 39°01′30″N94°36′12″W / 39.0251°N 94.6033°W / 39.0251; -94.6033 Coordinates: 39°01′30″N94°36′12″W / 39.0251°N 94.6033°W / 39.0251; -94.6033
Construction started1927
Governing bodyprivate
Design and construction
ArchitectEdward Tanner

The Tom Pendergast House is a historic residence located at 5650 Ward Parkway in the Country Club District in Kansas City, Missouri.


The Thomas J. Pendergast house is a modified design of the French Provincial architectural style. J.C. Nichols Company architect Edward Tanner designed the house. The house was completed in 1927, and members of the Pendergast family lived in the home from the time of completion until Tom Pendergast's death in 1945.

The house at 5650 Ward Parkway is one of the best known in Kansas City, because it was home to political boss Tom Pendergast. Pendergast's political machine is well known for the corruption that took place while it controlled Kansas City. The Pendergast machine bribed police and city leaders to turn a blind eye toward alcohol and gambling laws during the 1920s and 1930s. The wide open access to alcohol and gambling played a major role in the birth of Kansas City Jazz, and the Pendergast era also brought large scale development projects to the city, including the Jackson County Courthouse, Fidelity Bank and Trust Building, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City Power and Light Building, and Kansas City City Hall.

Related Research Articles

Tom Pendergast American politician

Thomas Joseph Pendergast, also known as T.J. Pendergast, was an American political boss who controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri from 1925 to 1939. Although he only briefly held elected office as an alderman, Pendergast, in his capacity as Chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party, was able to use his large network of family and friends to help elect politicians and hand out government contracts and patronage jobs. He became wealthy in the process, although his addiction to gambling, especially horse racing, later led to a large accumulation of personal debts. In 1939, he was convicted of income tax evasion and served 15 months in a Federal prison. The Pendergast organization helped launch the political career of Harry S. Truman, a fact that caused Truman's enemies to dub him "The Senator from Pendergast."

Lloyd C. Stark American politician

Lloyd Crow Stark was the 39th Governor of the U.S. state of Missouri. He was a Democrat.

Country Club Plaza human settlement in Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America

The Country Club Plaza is a privately owned American shopping center in the Country Club District of Kansas City, Missouri.

Municipal Auditorium (Kansas City, Missouri) Multi-purpose hall in Kansas City, Missouri

Municipal Auditorium is a multi-purpose facility located in Kansas City, Missouri. It opened in 1936 and features Streamline Moderne and Art Deco architecture and architectural details.

Quality Hill, Kansas City United States historic place

Quality Hill is a historic neighborhood near downtown Kansas City, Missouri, USA, situated on a 200-foot-high bluff which overlooks the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers in the West Bottoms below.

Charles Binaggio was a Missouri gangster who became the boss of the Kansas City crime family and concocted a bold plan to control the police forces in Kansas City, Missouri and St. Louis, Missouri.

History of the Kansas City metropolitan area

The history of the Kansas City metropolitan area started in the 19th century as Frenchmen from St. Louis, Missouri moved up the Missouri River to trap for furs and trade with the Native Americans. The Kansas City metropolitan area, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, was a strategic point for commerce and security. Kansas City, Missouri was founded in 1838 and defeated its rival Westport to become the predominant city west of St. Louis. The area played a major role in the westward expansion of the United States. The Santa Fe, and Oregon trails ran through the area. In 1854, when Kansas was opened to Euro-American settlement, the Missouri-Kansas border became the first battlefield in the conflict in the American Civil War.

William Rockhill Nelson American businessman

William Rockhill Nelson was a real estate developer and co-founder of The Kansas City Star in Kansas City, Missouri. He donated his estate for the establishment of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

West Bottoms human settlement in Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America

The West Bottoms is an industrial area immediately to the west of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Located in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas it sits at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kansas River. The area is one of the oldest areas of the cities.

James Pendergast American politician

James Francis Pendergast was a Democratic politician and the first Big City Boss of Kansas City, Missouri. He was the elder brother of Thomas J. Pendergast and Michael J. Pendergast.

Ward Parkway

Ward Parkway is a boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri, United States, near the Kansas-Missouri state line. Ward Parkway begins at Brookside Boulevard on the eastern edge of the Country Club Plaza and continues westward along Brush Creek as U.S. Route 56 until it turns southward across the creek just before the Kansas-Missouri state line. It then continues south for four miles, terminating at Wornall Road near West 95th Street.

Country Club District Human settlement in Missouri, United States

The Country Club District is the name of a group of neighborhoods comprising a historic upscale residential district in Kansas City, developed by noted real estate developer J.C. Nichols. The district was developed in stages between 1906 and 1950, and today is home to approximately 60,000 and includes such well-known Kansas City neighborhoods as Sunset Hill and Brookside in Missouri, Mission Hills, Fairway, and the oldest parts of Prairie Village in Kansas, making it the largest planned community built by a single developer in the United States. Ward Parkway, a wide, manicured boulevard, traverses the district running south from the Country Club Plaza, the first suburban shopping district in the United States.

John Lazia, also known as "Brother John", was an American organized crime figure in Kansas City, Missouri, during the prohibition period in the United States.

Bryce B. Smith was Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri from 1930 to 1939 at the height of the power of the Thomas Pendergast machine.

Tom Dennison, aka Pickhandle, Old Grey Wolf, was the early 20th century political boss and racketeer of Omaha, Nebraska. A politically savvy, culturally astute gambler, Dennison was in charge of the city's wide crime rings, including prostitution, gambling and bootlegging in the 1920s. Dennison is credited with electing "Cowboy" James Dahlman mayor of Omaha eight times, and when losing an election, inciting the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 in retribution against the candidate who won.

The Kansas City Crime Family, also known as Civella crime family, is a Mafia family based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Kansas City Journal-Post was a newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1854 to 1942. It was the oldest newspaper in the city when it went out of business.

Monroe Hotel United States historic place

The Monroe Hotel was a hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. It was built in the early 1920s and soon afterward bought by Tom Pendergast, a local political boss, who arranged for connecting access between his office and the hotel. The hotel closed in 1971, and the building was later converted to condominium use.

William Marshall Boyle Jr. was a Democratic political activist from Kansas. Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1949 to 1951, he was a friend of President Harry S. Truman and is credited with engineering Truman's upset victory over Governor Thomas Dewey in the 1948 Presidential election. He was forced to resign as chairman of the Democratic National Committee after being charged with financial corruption.

Henry F. McElroy (1865–1939) was the first City Manager of Kansas City, Missouri. He held this position during the era of political boss Tom Pendergast.