History,  House and Home,  Travel

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things (Sauer Castle Edition)



This is a short story about why humans can’t have nice things.

This story takes place in Kansas City, Kansas.  In a mansion built right after the Civil War. A mansion that the locals all know as Sauer Castle.

(Disclaimer: I have only been to Kansas twice in my life. Several years ago, Jonathan and I traveled by Amtrak from Pittsburgh to Chicago to Santa Fe. Our train crossed Kansas that night while we slept. I woke up several times to the sights and sounds of the nasty thunderstorms outside.  My second trip through Kansas coincided with our return home. It rained the whole time. This is my only memory of Kansas. So, I never visited Sauer Castle in person. I don’t know anybody connected to it. All of my knowledge of this came from the internet.)

See, I often visit the Facebook page for my favorite podcast, Radiolab. One day a visitor to Radiolab‘s Facebook page posted something to the effect of, “Please help us to save this landmark.”

The visitor included a link to Sauer Castle’s Facebook page.

Now, here is a high-level summary on Sauer Castle that I picked up from reading Facebook, its Wikipedia entry, and this article by Mike Hendricks in the Kansas City Star:

A New York City businessman named Anthony Sauer built Sauer Castle in Kansas City during the Industrial Revolution. His family lived there for several decades. During this time, they suffered several tragic losses. This resulted in ghost stories about the home. The Sauer family eventually sold it. However, vandals and trespassers victimized the next homeowner. Eventually Anthony Sauer’s direct descendent Carl Lopp purchased Sauer Castle and attempted to restore it.

Unfortunately, Carl Lopp also dealt with vandals. And a thief. Then he put a fence around the property. Those with an historical interest in Sauer Castle observe that the house renovations ceased.  From what I gather, the house currently falls apart behind its fence.

The creators of the linked Facebook page advocate that the house should be preserved and restored. However, Carl Lopp still privately owns Sauer Castle. The linked newspaper article provides insight into state and local property laws which prevent the community from restoring this landmark.

Plentiful visitors to the Facebook page post their own memories of growing up in Kansas City with Sauer Castle in the background.

Now, I read on Facebook that this week a graffiti artist cut a hole in the fence and then tagged the castle itself. This saddened the Facebook commenters.

I blog about the Sauer Castle vandalism here tonight because it reminds me of some local events. Also because I enjoyed learning about this Kansas City landmark and I want to share it with you.


Now, since Jonathan and I never visited Sauer Castle, we never took any photos of it. I have no photos of the castle to share on this blog. You will find sufficient pictures on the Facebook page.

In the meantime, here is the Amtrak that took us through Kansas on our trip from Chicago to Santa Fe:



And here is a shot that Jonathan took of graffiti on a a train in Pennsylvania: