With a history that goes back to the 1880s, Hyde Park divides east and west Kansas City, Missouri, with some truly amazing houses … and more than a few ghost stories. Historic homes tower on the hilly topography of this part of the city, but one house contained more than a whole lot of bad vibes.
The house on 43rd and Charlotte was demolished a few years ago, but the unassuming three-story was once the home of Bob Berdella, Kansas City’s most notorious serial killer. All that remains of the infamous house is a set of misshapen concrete stairs and an empty, grassy lot. Locals avoid the property, since its well-reported restless spirits still linger in the space the house once occupied (if you believe that sort of thing). For the brave and bold, standing in the middle of the void will certainly give you the chills.
Old and restless
Berdella House is the most well-known tale of terror in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, but it certainly isn’t the only known haunt. Reports come from locals attending estate sales of seeing apparitions of butlers pass through the room and pale faces in the windows of boarded up houses. It’s easy to believe these accounts with all the Victorian Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Colonial style homes from the earliest days of the neighborhood. Many of these old buildings house two sets of staircases and all the lingering evidence of live-in maids. Families today sometimes board up the second set of steps, citing strange noises and sighs traveling up and down the narrow staircase at night.
On your own or with a tour
Hyde Park is a great place to take a self-guided walking tour, especially in the fall when the shadows of the old homes get darker with the shorter days. Visitors will enjoy a trip down Kenwood Avenue with a beautiful view of the park on one side and an eclectic array of homes and apartments on the other. You might even spend some time in the park itself as you wind through the gully where the creek used to run. But don’t be surprised if that unshakable feeling of old spirits stands the hair on the back of your neck. It’s likely the spirits of Old Hyde Park.
This time of year, the trees change colors, the air is newly cool, and the 2016 Hyde Park Homes Tour happens on Friday, September 30th and Saturday, October 1st, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., 2016. It took 100 years to make the neighborhood this beautiful, and it’s these historic homes that really deserve all the credit. The annual tour offers a wonderful opportunity meet the lovely owners of these beautiful structures and see the original work of the architects and designers inside a select array of houses.
Don’t forget the food!
After all that ghost spotting and house touring, you’re going to be hungry (or if you’re like us, you’re always hungry). Luckily, Gates Bar-B-Q nearby (1325 Emanuel Cleaver Boulevard) has world class barbeque with savory signature sauces. It’s a favorite spot for locals, so don’t tell them we’re the ones who gave away their secret. If the thought of sumptuous ribs doesn’t draw you in, the delicious smoky smells will. Treat yourself and your family to some of the tastiest BBQ in Kansas City … table talk of ghost stories is optional.