KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A $75,000 grant will help jump start a project to restore the Rector Mansion in Kansas City.
On the corner of 12th Street and Euclid Avenue is a hidden treasure.
The Rector Mansion use to belong to Sarah Rector, the richest 12-year-old Black American at that time.
She’s known as the first Black female millionaire to live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Rector became a millionaire after oil was drilled on her land.
It was given as part of the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887.
Rector’s land was located in Glenpool, Oklahoma about 60 miles from her family’s home.
Now the house sits vacant with holes in the ceilings and walls and broken windows.
“We don’t want another piece of this community and African American history to be lost,” Deidre Anderson, CEO of United Inner City Services (UICS) said.
UICS, the owners of the home, are a community based agency serving the Kansas City metro area.
Employees have had dreams of preserving the home and turning it into a hub for its early childhood centers.
They also want to use a room to share the history of Rector and the 12 Street corridor.
“It’s like Christmas in July,” Anderson said. “We are so excited.”
Now their dream is coming true, thanks to a capital grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a preservation campaign to preserve and protect places that have been overlooked in American history.
It’s a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
More than $3 million in grants was given to 40 sites, including the Rector Mansion.
“So, the funding we’ve received will allow for the first stage of the redevelopment plan to come to life, so then we can get a really sound budget together,” Anderson said.
Anderson said they’ll be working with architects and historians to preserve the home to its original design.
People nearby said they’re looking forward to seeing the process.
“That will be a great blessing for this area,” Rev. Emanuel Rambo, a Kansas City resident, said.
UICS said this is part one of a long process, but it’s dedicated to making sure this piece of history isn’t forgotten.
“We are destined to repeat our history when we don’t know it, when we don’t learn from it and when we don’t do something about it,” Anderson said.