#46 – John Wornall House Museum
6115 Wornall Road. Kansas City, MO. 64113
Good for: Locals, Kansas City history lovers.
Tip: Visit on Wednesdays for reduced ticket prices.
The John Wornall House Museum is the restored 19th century home of the prominent Kansas City family, the Wornalls. Tours of the home are very informative about the Wornalls and their influence on Kansas City.
About The John Wornall House Museum Tours
The John Wornall House Museum was restored in 1964 by the Jackson County Historical Society and opened to the public as Kansas City’s first house museum in 1972. Other house museums would follow, including the Thomas Hart Benton Home and the Harry Truman Home.
Tours last 45 minutes and cost $8 for adults. Wednesday tours are only $5. Visit the museum Wednesday-Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm or Sunday 1:00 – 4:00pm. Tours start on the hour, every hour.
I stopped in on a Wednesday afternoon, and there were two other people on the tour. The guide shared plenty of information about the Wornalls and the tumultuous period . It is well worth the ticket price.
About the John Wornall Family
The Wornalls were a very prominent family in the early days of Kansas City. John Wornall made his living selling his crops to pioneers heading west on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. He was very successful, as a portion of the Santa Fe Trail passed directly in front of the house. The Wornalls were slaveholders, and much of the work of building the home and caring for the crops and livestock was completed by slaves.
Throughout the years, Kansas City developed around the Wornall property. The Wornall family stayed involved in the community and contributed to various enterprises, including real estate, banking, and politics. John Wornall was the president of The Jackson County Agricultural and Mechanical Association and later a state senator. He was a strong supporter of William Jewell College and also co-founded the Kansas City National Bank.
The John Wornall House and the Civil War
The Wornall House survived a very tumultuous period of Kansas City history – the Civil War. Throughout the conflict, John Wornall tried to maintain neutral, despite being a slave owner. His neutrality didn’t help, as he and his family were subject to violence frequently. Their home was raided by both parties, and John Wornall was almost hanged from the balcony of his home by a group of Confederate guerillas. The Wornall home was even seized by 200 men who occupied the farm for eight days.
During The Battle of Westport in October of 1864, the Wornall House also became a makeshift hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. The battle was fought at present-day Loose Park, just one-mile from the Wornall house. Afterwards, the family decided to move to the safety of Union-occupied Kansas City until 1874, 9 years after the end of the war.
The Wornall House is said to be haunted, perhaps from the deaths of the many soldiers who fought in the Battle of Westport. You can even take Ghost Tours of the home.
If you have any interest in the history of Kansas City, stop in. You won’t regret it. Xx, Libbie.