Page 5 of 5
There's a modern kitchen in the house today, and Poole has installed new floor tiles in the former solarium. It's still not a very sunny solarium. The original bank of windows in that room, which once looked out on a garden that sloped gracefully down to the corner of Paseo and 11th Street, remain boarded up. A couple of those cathouse sinks remain, and there's still plenty of cosmetic work to do. Some of the original embossed leather panels in the foyer need repair, and the master bathroom, with 111-year-old imported glazed tiles on the walls and ceiling, is in a fixer-upper category unto itself.
The legendary basement-level tunnel, which leads from the main building (past the space where Poole insists Capone "hid the bodies") to the carriage house at the rear of the property, is still in good condition. Inside that smaller building, a young artist named Christopher Vest was, until a few weeks ago, painting a portrait of Poole in exchange for living in the old garage.
A little more than a quarter-century after Mrs. Crocker proposed turning part of 1016 Paseo into an art gallery, history would perhaps repeat itself. "We're going to have a grand unveiling of the painting," Vest said last month. "We're inviting a lot of people."
The painting — like 1016 Paseo itself — remains a work in progress.
"It's not finished yet," Poole says. "And Christopher took the painting with him when he moved back to Phoenix. He's supposedly taking the painting to an art gallery in Seattle."
Meanwhile, Poole tinkers with his investment, and Elder continues to vigorously promote it.
"It gets a lot of hits on our Web page," Elder says, "but not so many showings lately." At Elder's recommendation, Poole has lowered the selling price from $550,000 to $445,000.
Long before 1016 Paseo was listed in 1979 on the National Register of Historic Places — which doesn't ensure preservation without the backup of local laws — it was a local landmark. On hundreds of postcards depicting the Paseo in its early 20th-century splendor, the Henderson mansion is visible in the background, the kind of distinct structure meant to lure outsiders to Kansas City or remind its natives of home.
But landmarks disappear every day, even those that could be saved for far less than a half-million dollars.
"I have three different scenarios that I see for the house," Elder says. "The first is, ideally, it could become a private home again for someone who loves rare and unique historic properties. Second, it could be used as a community center or a dance studio. And third, it could be used as a business location, even a restaurant." The latter solutions would require a buyer to alter the interior of the house, permanently dislodging the last of 1016 Paseo's dust and deep secrets.
"But why would anyone want to do that?" Elder wonders. "Besides, the walls are 3 feet thick."