KC Skyline: Iconic Places of Worship

With literally hundreds of churches, there’s no shortage of places to worship in and around Kansas City. While the sheer number of churches is pretty impressive, it’s the iconic beauty and historic nature of some of the buildings that really stand out. Here’s a look at some of the city’s most impressive.

Community Christian Church

4601 Main Street
This Frank Lloyd Wright–designed building was commissioned after their original building on Linwood Boulevard was destroyed by a fire. Community Christian Church now sits across the street from The Country Club Plaza’s main shopping district on Main Street at East 46th Street. Wright based his design on a parallelogram, much like some features previously conceived for his Johnson Wax Company building. The Spire of Light, which was out of scope for the original project, finally came to fruition in 1994.

 

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

416 W 12th Street
One of the most recognizable buildings amid the lower KC skyline, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception—or the “Gold Dome Cathedral”—was the tallest building in KC when it first opened in the late 1800s. Having been built on the highest ground in the city made it landmark-worthy in itself—a distinction that was further solidified in 1960 when the dome, cupola and cross were covered with 23-carat gold leaf.

 

Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral

415 W 13th Street
Another late-1800s creation, Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral started as two separate churches that later merged, making the beautiful transitional Norman Gothic building at 13th and Broadway its permanent home. Renowned for its ample stained glass windows and tower, the building has undergone multiple renovations over the years to help keep it a permanent fixture in KC.  

 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help

3333 Broadway 
Standing tall at the corner of Broadway and Linwood for more than a century, the OLPH, or Redemptorist Catholic Church, took almost four years and 100 tons of native limestone to build. The main altar, crafted in Italy of white Carrara marble, is a sight to behold at almost 37 feet high, 20 feet wide and weighing 60,000 pounds.

Unity Temple

707 W. 47th Street
The Unity Temple on the Plaza represents the birthplace of Unity itself. It was founded by real estate developer Charles Fillmore and his wife, Myrtle, in 1889. Land for the temple was purchased in 1928 but it wasn’t until 1950 that the sanctuary was completed. These days, Unity churches are in major cities across the country and worldwide with Unity World Headquarters (Unity Village) located just a short distance from its birthplace, 15 miles southeast of Kansas City.

 

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

1307 Holmes Street
Among the skyscrapers at 13th and Holmes, St. Mary’s stands as Kansas City’s oldest Episcopal Church, started in 1857. The current building was built in 1887 and is a great example of Gothic Revival architecture. The church was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and according to local legend, the ghost of the church’s first rector, Rev. Henry David Jardine, haunts the building to this day. 

Independence Temple of the Community of Christ Church

Independence, MO
Designed by St. Louis architect Gyo Obata (who also designed the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC) the Independence Temple mimics the spiral shape of the nautilus shell on both the interior and exterior, with a stainless steel spire that rises 300 feet. Founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, Joseph Smith, visited Jackson County in 1831 and prophesied the building of the temple. The early Latter Day Saints purchased the land and laid the cornerstones, only to be driven from the county before construction could start. Groundbreaking finally commenced in 1990, and was completed four years later.

 

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