Friday, June 24, 2011

Inside Kansas City's Cosby Hotel

Over the last year or so a lot of ink has been spilled concerning the possible fate of the Cosby Hotel at 9th & Baltimore. I've been hoping to get inside to photograph it for FAR longer than that, though! Well, that day came a few weeks ago. I was hired by Rosin Preservation to document it for a possible historic tax credit application. Yesterday the project was officially announced and I can now share what we found inside this incredible structure.

Built in 1881, the building was purchased by Joseph Cosby in 1899 and converted into a hotel. The first floor is all commercial storefronts, and although the spaces are in need of restoration there's nothing special or unexpected in there. One small doorway outside, however, leads upstairs to the most intact, unmolested, un-remodeled, 110-year-old hotel space I've ever seen!

The check-in booth, the staircase, the atrium . . all still there (albeit missing some pieces). The room sizes are original, as are the doors, moldings, trim, windows, etc.

As was typical in hotels of this era, there is one bathroom (multiple stalls) and one tub (located elsewhere) per floor. Your room had a sink and a closet (maybe).

Here's a typical room.

I can't stress enough how unusual it is to find an interior from 1881 THIS intact! Notice the old, exposed, nob-&-tube wiring on the ceiling of this bathroom. All the rooms still had this! The bathroom fixtures, although likely not original, are probably 100+ years old and are complete with old wooden toilet seats.

Transoms, hardware, floors . . all there! This place looks like it hasn't been remolded in 100 years! It's a huge time-capsule in the heart of Downtown. Sure, it's in really bad shape, but it's THERE!

And there's more! Hidden above a newer ceiling on the first floor, in a small crawl-space, is the original mezzanine ceiling complete with tin and painted canvas, with moldings of cattle skulls and bullseyes!

I wonder who she is?

What a place!