New England Building

Posted on

New England Mutual Life Insurance Co., Safe Deposit and Trust Co., New England National Bank, Social Security office, Faultless Starch Co.


The New England Building was built during the substantial development years of Kansas City’s downtown business district as a “show of faith” from Eastern investors. The building was built for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company from Boston, Mass. The New England Safe Deposit and Trust Company and the New England National Bank rented space within the building. Architecturally significant because of its Renaissance Revival style, the building boasts a two-story oriel window with carved stone panels at the base that bear the seals of the five New England States: Maine, Dirigo (I direct) with pine tree and deer; New Hampshire, the frigate Raleigh with 13 stars in a circle below; Vermont, a shield and the motto Freedom and Unity; Rhode Island, the motto Hope above an anchor; Connecticut, three grapevines with the motto Qui Transtulit Sustinet (He who transplanted continues to sustain). According to the National Registrar of Historic Places, the New England Building is ornamented with “Renaissance motifs such as swags, wreaths, rope molds, urns, cherubs and formalized plant forms predominate.”

Each floor has two safes; and 57 fireplaces dot the interior. The Federal government took over the building for Social Security offices and painted the interior “government brown,” until it was purchased by Faultless Starch Co. in 1968 and restored to its heavy oak woodwork.