Blue Springs Terrace

Blue Springs Terrace - "The Terrace"

 

The Terrace is in a quiet, peaceful and historic area of Blue Springs, Missouri. It is a perfect, low-cost and friendly place to live in single-dwelling homes for those who have dedicated their lives to serving others. the homes are rented to retired pastors or retired full-time office staff who have served churches from the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ.

The Street - 19th and Walnut

The street, which is southwest of the Blue Springs business district, on 19th Terrace and Walnut, is so peaceful and solitary that an unrecognized car driving along its corridor attracts stares and timid waves from occupants who happen to be outside.  “We say they’re lost souls,” chuckled Richard Hempenius a resident and retired Untied Church of Christ pastor.

The Houses

 

The first house was built at Blue Springs Terrace in 1906, after terrace founder, Pastor John Sauer, wondered how the church’s retiring pastors in the area could survive through retirement. Sauer, who was serving as pastor of St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Kansas City, knew that the pastors at the time received little pay and had no savings. 

“You didn’t have pensions back then, and you didn’t have Social Security,” said Harold Gertz, a member of St. Luke’s United Church of Christ in Independence who sits on the Terrace Board of Directors.

National Register of Historic Places

The 13, mostly one-story houses, date from 1906 to 1938 are of craftsman style. They are constructed of stucco, wooden and Cape Cod shingling. The homes’ design demonstrates the architectural style of the area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Together, this complex of 13 homes, make up Blue Springs Terrace. The Terrace was the first retirement community of any Protestant denomination in the nation, and, therefore, earned recognition on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.  

 

The Maintenance

Outside maintenance is done by volunteers and any repairs to the exterior of these small residences must be done in keeping with the standards as set by the National Register of Historical Places. These “Craftsman Style” homes are unique to this area and each one has its own special identity.