Doomed Three Gables Farm in Liberty finds saving grace

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Clay County home that was destined for demolition has the sad distinction of being No. 1 on Historic Kansas City's "Most Endangered" list.

Three Gables Farm, not far from Liberty, Mo., is the single oldest lived-in property in Kansas City, Mo. A couple of months ago it was dilapidated and crumbling, but that's changing now. In just the last two months, business partners Andy Mackey and Mike Yeates have transformed the property.

"When you look at pictures before and then after, it's starkly different," Yeates said. "It took us a full month to cut back the trees and pull trees out of the house line and even out of some of the windows."

Yeates and Mackey were the Three Gables' last chance, and that's not exaggerating. The headline in the local Liberty newspaper declared it to be true: "Last chance for Three Gables" and went on to describe how the home was slated for demolition.

"Demolished means we lose a piece of history," said Mackey. "They built this house in 1822, just 16 years after the Lewis and Clark expedition came through."

It was an 80-acre farmstead back in those days. Some of the home's residents are now buried in the cemetery just down the street.

"Some of the tombstones read 'stabbed in the back by a dirty rotten scoundrel at the age of 21,'" said Mackey.

As you walk around the inside of the home, you wonder what kinds of stories these walls could tell. Standing in the oldest room in the house, near a fireplace that was once used for everything from cooking to warmth, Yeates is also fascinated.

"So I'm sure there were a lot of great stories told over the years around this fireplace," Yeates said.

As a builder, Yeates is especially proud of the old place. He holds up a hand spun spindle from the balcony railing with wonder.

"You can tell it's handmade, which is really unique and wonderful about the property," he said.

The businessmen are working to preserve as much history as they can.

"It's going to be a lot of work but it will be really beautiful when it's done," Yeates said.

They do have some help thanks to community partners like Home Depot and friends chipping in, but for the most part they're doing the work themselves.

"For two guys to take on a project like this is a massive undertaking," said Mackey.

When they're done, they say it won't be just their pride and joy, they want to share it with the community.

"A Kansas City landmark, where people can come bring their kids, play with goats, feed the chickens, fetch water form the well," Mackey said.

They're hoping to have all the renovations done by Spring 2014.

For updates about the renovation project, connect with Three Gables on Facebook:

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