Happy Birthday Alice Gertrude Jackson (1863-1937)

Alice Gertrude Jackson (nee Ritchie) was almost 50 years old before she launched a career in architecture. Born on April 19th/20th in Waukegan, Illinois she graduated from high school in Seward, Nebraska. On June 12, 1884 she married David Sthreshley Jackson, fourteen years her senior, who tried his hand at various jobs including ranching and running a silver mine. They had a son James the following year, then a daughter Ellen in 1888. James studied at the University of Nebraska then took a job at the Kansas City Star. His parents moved to Kansas City to be with him around 1910. Kansas City, at this time, was growing rapidly.

In 1910, Alice Jackson hired an architect to build a home. Disappointed, she decided she could design one better herself. She had no architectural training, only a high school education, but was adept with oils and watercolors. The first house she designed (and acted as contractor) was 3914 Tracy. The majority of her structures were were in the Square Manor development — between Troost and Paseo, Armour and 39th street.

Charles E. Phillips, a Kansas City hotel and apartment builder who worked with Nelle Peters, helped Jackson get her start. Between 1922 and 1927, Jackson created her most impressive works with the design of five houses in the 600 block of Westover Road. Their designs were based upon English cottages and set upon spacious lots. Brick or stone was used for the ground floor with half-timerbing or stucco for the upper floors. The kitchens placed in front overlooking the street and the back of the houses receiving southern sun were for the private living areas.

David Sthreshley Jackson died on 7 December 1925 at 637 Westover Rd, Kansas City, MO, at age 77. She died in March 1937 at 601 Westover Road, Kansas City, MO, at age 73.

1 Comment
  • We have lived in 601 Westover for the past 25 years, raised our two boys here and have always loved our home and our street. This is the first we heard that Alice actually lived and died in our home. We will be retiring in the next few years and don’t need a house this big. Although it will be sad to leave, it’s time for the next generation to enjoy this storied home. Thanks for the info.

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