February 19, 2015

Goodbye, Gillmor Building

   A Fairmount landmark, the Gillmor Building, is in the process of being demolished.  Truman Medical Center, whose Fairmount Family Medical Care adjoins this property, acquired the building in 2013.

   At first the Historical Commission of the City of Independence strongly opposed the demolition, but an engineer’s study done in 2013 found the building was rife with crumbling and collapsing retaining walls and roofs, extensive fire damage,  and work to the electrical, gas, and plumbing that had been done so haphazardly that it was well beyond repair.  The building had not been secured, and the engineers found that a number of squatters had called the place home in the years of its vacancy.  There was no question that it had to be demolished.

   The owner of the property was Bo Kim, a limited liability corporation owned by Bo Tran and Kim Nguyen. Though they've faced condemnation proceedings in Kansas City, we've found no record of the LLC being cited for the condition they left the Gilmore Building in, nor have we yet been able to ascertain the conditions under which the property was transferred from their ownership to the Truman Medical Center.

   Construction began on the Gillmor Building in 1927. Dr. William L. Gillmor was a prominent Inter-City resident and well-respected physician in the Kansas City area.  He was killed by a train on the morning of February 5, 1925, after spending the night caring for a seriously ill patient.

   His son, C. Stewart Gillmor, also a physician, practiced out of this building.  In the 1930s, "Gillmor Hall" held dances every Saturday night. Over the years the building would be home to several dime stores, cafes, doctor’s offices, apartments, and a hardware store.

   For the time being, Truman Medical Center intends to turn the lots on which the Gillmor Building stands into an open, landscaped green space, but a representative from TMC told us that if and when funds become available, they may build on it, expand their clinic, or use it for some other purpose.

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