Historic Rental Venue to Continue Hosting Family-Friendly Events
Historic Drexel Hall, a popular gathering place for generations of Kansas City families celebrating weddings, recitals, birthdays, and other personal and business milestones, has been purchased by not-for-profit Kansas City Irish Center.
The seller was Drexel Hall LLC., which had owned and operated the 14,400 square-foot building at 3301 Baltimore. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Originally built in 1909 as a home for labor unions, with offices, three commercial storefronts and a large, high-ceilinged meeting hall with stage and upper balcony, Drexel has in recent decades hosted hundreds of wedding receptions, family and office parties, private concerts, fundraisers and Irish wakes.
The Kansas City Irish Center, which, until recently, rented space in the lower level of Union Station, plans to utilize Drexel Hall’s second floor offices for its operations, meetings, and Irish-related books and cultural artifacts collections. The grand hall space will continue to be available for rent for wedding receptions, office gatherings, performance rehearsals and other community activities and events.
“Drexel will serve as the new home of the Kansas City Irish Center, and the site of many of our own events,” said the organization’s President, Jay Burrus. “But it will continue to be a gathering place for people of all heritages. We want Drexel to continue to be a welcoming, safe and affordable gathering place for people of all backgrounds.”
The Irish Center’s Director, Nancy Wormington, said the organization will continue to raise funds for ongoing improvements to the building, including cosmetic and mechanical upgrades and the addition of a hospitality area and smaller meeting spaces.
As part of its mission to “support, honor, preserve and celebrate the Irish and Celtic heritage of our community,” the Kansas City Irish Center provides genealogical research, a 4,000-book resource library, cultural programs and classes, small concerts and language and literary presentations.
“Acquiring this wonderful old building, in the heart of a historically Irish neighborhood, is a dream come true for us; one that’s been a longtime coming,” said Wormington. “Thanks to the patience and vision of Dick Keller, of Drexel Hall LLC, and the generosity of our many donors and supporters, including The Irish Government Emigrant Support Program, we were able to raise the funds to make the purchase, and will begin immediately to reach out to our big extended Irish family for help in making some basic improvements to the building and showcase the many contributions of the Irish and other ethnic groups to the rich history and culture of Kansas City.”