Bernard Corrigan

(1847 – 1914)

 

Bernard Corrigan’s name means two things: Kansas City’s first citywide street railway, and one of the most spectacular houses in the Country Club district.

‘Barney’ Corrigan was born in Quebec, Canada August 15, 1847 to a successful Canadian farm family.  Twenty-one years later he and his brothers came to Kansas City to make their mark.  When he died here 46 years later, Corrigan had made his fortune, largely in railroads.

Barney Corrigan and his older brother, Thomas, bought up their competition here.  Before 1900, they put together 15 separate rail lines, creating one single citywide streetcar system that really worked a first for Kansas City.

Corrigan’s more recent renown stems from his remarkable house.  In 1912 Barney commissioned Kansas City’s flamboyant architect and fellow Canadian Louis Curtiss to design a splendid house (25 rooms) for his family.  Corrigan had 18 offspring – ten by his first wife and eight by his second.

Curtiss designed a strikingly modern horizontal two-storey Art Nouveau house of concrete. He faced it with Carthage cut stone and set it on a large corner lot on the northwest corner of 55th and Ward Parkway.  It was estimated to cost upwards of $200,000.

On January 6, 1914, only a few minutes before going south to inspect its progress, 66 year old Barney Corrigan was stricken and died.  So the family never occupied their stunning house, still much admired at 1200 West 55th Street.