THOMAS HART BENTON HOME & STUDIO STATE HISTORIC SITE

Thomas Hart Benton Home

DESCRIPTION: This two-and-a-half-story, Victorian-style home offers an interesting glimpse into the mind of renowned painter and sculptor Thomas Hart Benton. The house was the residence of the famous Missouri painter beginning in 1939 and has remained virtually untouched since his death in 1975. Guided tours of the site are offered daily.

ADDRESS: 3616 Belleview Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

LOCATION: Located in Midtown Kansas City, near Penn Valley Park.

PHONE: 816-931-5722

WEB SITE: www.mostateparks.com/benton.htm

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Benton home was constructed of native limestone and contains simple furnishings in neutral tones that contrast with Benton's vibrant works. Several of Benton's paintings and sculptures can be viewed in the house.
  • Benton converted half of the carriage house into his art studio, which remains as he left it, with coffee cans full of paintbrushes and several blank canvases waiting to be transformed.
  • It’s obvious that music was an important source of inspiration for Benton. Visitors will notice several musical instruments, including Benton’s harmonica and the family’s baby grand piano. Two paintings also feature the musical family—Benton’s son playing the flute and his daughter practicing guitar.

HOURS:

Winter hours (Nov.-March):10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. and Thu.-Sat. 11-4 p.m., Sun.

Summer hours (April-Oct.):10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon. and Thu.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.

ADMISSION: Guided tours are $5 for adults and $3.50 for children (ages 6-12). Children under 6 are free. There is a maximum rate of $15 per family.

ANNUAL ATTENDANCE: 3,900

HISTORY: Benton is considered Missouri’s most renowned 20th-century artist. Born in Neosho, Mo., in 1889, Benton moved to Kansas City in 1935 after pursuing art instruction in Chicago and Paris, serving a brief stretch in the Navy and teaching in New York City. The Benton’s moved into the Belleview home in 1939, the same year their daughter Jessie was born. It was in this home and adjacent studio where Benton completed much of his work. On Jan. 19, 1975, he suffered a heart attack and died in his studio. Ten weeks later, his wife Rita followed. The historic site is now maintained by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

WHERE TO GET LUNCH: The 39th Street West business district houses several unique eateries, from Mongolian barbecue at Genghis Khan to Chinese dumplings at Blue Koi.

WHAT’S NEARBY: Kansas City’s two premier art museums—The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art—are a short drive away. Both museums are free and feature pieces by Benton.

WHAT’S NEW: A restoration project, completed in summer 2007, improved the property’s energy efficiency.

DID YOU KNOW: When he passed away, Benton was putting the finishing touches on a mural for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Although the piece now hangs in the Nashville museum, Benton died before he could sign it.

GROUP TOURS: Offered by appointment only.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: 

From the north: Take I-35 south to Southwest Trafficway. Travel south on Southwest Trafficway, up the hill past Penn Valley Community College to the fourth stoplight, Valentine Road. Turn right and travel two blocks to Belleview Avenue and turn right again. The Benton Home is the second house on the left with the wooden picket fence surrounding the property.

From the south: Take I-35 north to Rainbow Boulevard. Turn right (east) on Rainbow Boulevard and go across Southwest Boulevard to 39th Street. Turn left on 39th and left onto Roanoke. As Roanoke divides, keep to the right. Go through the S-curve and take the next left, which is Belleview. The Benton Home is the second house on the left with a wooden picket fence surrounding the property.

From the east: Take I-70 west to I-35. Go south on I-35 to Southwest Trafficway. Travel south on Southwest Trafficway, up the hill past Penn Valley Community College to the fourth stoplight, Valentine Road. Turn right and travel two blocks to Belleview Avenue and turn right again. The Benton Home is the second house on the left with the wooden picket fence surrounding the property.

From the west: Take I-70 east to I-35. Go south on I-35 to Southwest Trafficway. Travel south on Southwest Trafficway, up the hill past Penn Valley Community College to the fourth stoplight, Valentine Road. Turn right and travel two blocks to Belleview Avenue and turn right again. The Benton Home is the second house on the left with the wooden picket fence surrounding the property.

PARKING: The Benton Home is in a residential area and parking is limited to the street.

PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTACT: Steve Sitton, historic site administrator, benton.home.state.historic.site@dnr.mo.gov or 816-931-5722. 

Media Contacts

Derek Klaus
National & Convention Media:
Derek Klaus
Director of Communications
816-691-3849
dklaus@visitkc.com | Twitter | LinkedIn
Toni Alexander
Regional & KC Media:
Toni Alexander
Communications Manager
816-691-3848
talexander@visitkc.com | LinkedIn
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