KANSAS CITY, Mo. – There’s a new effort to preserve and restore the former home of baseball great Satchel Paige.
The top floor of the empty house, located near 28th and Prospect, was destroyed in a fire in May 2018.
The property was privately-owned up until about two months ago when the Kansas City, Missouri Homesteading Authority acquired it.
“We want to move on this fairly quickly because we’re running out of time,” John Baccala said, with the city’s Neighborhood and Housing Services. “The structure is in bad shape and we can’t afford to let it get any worse.”
Baccala said they city paid off the outstanding liens and notes on the house with the sole purpose of keeping Paige’s legacy alive.
“He is a huge part of not just Kansas City but baseball in general and we want to preserve his legacy,” he said.
The city is in the process of stabilizing the structure and plans to add a new roof. Once that’s done, Baccala said the city will start accepting requests for proposals to determine how to best honor Paige.
“We’re going to ask individuals who have ideas of how to best preserve this property, it’s historic nature,” he said.
Two of Paige’s daughters, Linda Shelby and Pamela O’Neil loved growing up in the three-story home.
“It was just a wonderful place to grow up,” Shelby said.
“It was Mayberry,” O’Neil added.
The sisters said they would like to see their childhood home fully restored, completed with original furniture and memorabilia they’ve kept over the years.
“The third floor was like a completed apartment. On the second floor were the bedrooms and two baths and on the first floor was the living area and kitchen, library and dining room,” O’Neil said.
“That house was the nucleus of our family,” Shelby said. “What dad did, if you were traveling through Kansas City and he was in town, you came to his home and you got a home-cooked meal and you could just be yourself.”
The family is grateful that the city bought the property. They said what they want most moving forward is transparency.
“We want to promote dad’s legacy absolutely, but more important is to protect it,” Shelby said.
“In a perfect world, what I would like to see, what the city would like to see is the Paige family, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Major League Baseball, public and private entities and the city all sit down and come up with a way to properly honor this man,” Baccala said.
Baccala did not give a timeline about when the city would start accepting proposals on what to do with the house. The Paige family is hopeful they will be included in the process.