Dedication ceremony to kick off a unique restoration for one of Kansas City’s oldest homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Out with the bad. In with the good.

That's what's behind a unique dedication ceremony that's coming up, kicking off the restoration of one of Kansas City's oldest homes.

The huge Victorian-style home sits in the old Mulkey Square neighborhood in Kansas City's west side. The 5,300 square-foot home has roots that date back to the Civil War era.

She didn't choose the house. Megan Duma says the house found her.

The 1887 J.C. Peppard House has fallen into ill repair in recent years. Duma is a KCK native who's been living in Southern California, but she's moving home to begin restoration of the house, which at one point was considered the worst house in the most dangerous neighborhood in the metro.

“If these walls could talk, they'd have some crazy stories,” Duma said on Thursday morning.

Duma says at one point, it was a boarding house, where one tenant stabbed another, and later, in the 1960's, a prison escapee was found there. That man’s handcuffs remain as part of the house’s treasure trove of antiques. However, it doesn’t have modern amenities, such as ample lighting, a contemporary HVAC system or up-to-date plumbing.

The current temperature inside the crumbling, old structure isn’t much different than the outdoor thermometers read.

“It's cold. It's lonely. It's dark,” Duma said. “It's got an incredible history. That's what really, really draws me to it.”

Duma has flipped other homes, and this one compels her family to relocate to the metro. She's staging a blessing and smudging ceremony, a Native American cleansing ritual where white sage will be burned, to kick off the Peppard House renovations.

“Let's get the bad juju out. Bring the good juju in,” Duma said.

Homeowners near 17th and Jefferson are excited about Duma’s effort to breathe new life into the old home.

“The west side is the best side,” Lynda McClelland, a realtor who lives across the street, told FOX 4 News.

“Whenever there's anything in the crossroads. This is a block that people love to come on and park and get on the tram and go in walking distance to downtown. It's for everyone.”

“I think we're in Kansas City's next renaissance. That's why I'm moving back here,” Duma said. “I see movers and shakers in this area and in the West Bottoms and Crossroads. Kansas City is seeing its next renaissance just like it did around the time when this house was built.”

Duma says the entire project could cost as much as $500,000. She says that's a lot of money but it’s worth it to see the old home restored over the next eight months and turned into flats this coming fall.

The smudging and blessing of the old home will happen on Friday afternoon. Duma says she's expecting a packed house for the ceremony.