KC’s Most Photographed Door

Photography by Sophia Lacey.

Said to be one of the most photographed doors in Kansas City, the “Hobbit-styled” door looks as if it’s from another world. Known as the Mineral Door, it is an historic representation of Art Nouveau architecture, so it’s fitting that this notable door is now a part of an art institute. 

Mineral Hall, which features the door at its entrance, was designed by Louis Curtiss, a local architect known as much for his outsized personality as his unique style and innovative designs. The building took 14 months to build—between 1903 and 1905—and got its name from one of its first residents, Roland E. Bruner. 

As a Kansas City mining company owner and president of multiple mining firms, Bruner employed Curtiss to design an addition to the house to hold his 10,000 mineral specimens. Curtiss even embedded minerals into the mortar of the walls in the addition, earning it the moniker Mineral Hall.

After being a residential home, the building was donated to the Kansas City Art Institute in 1968. In 1976, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, today, the building is currently empty.

“Mineral Hall is currently not being utilized,” says Chris Summer, KCAI’s vice president of institutional advancement. “We hope to do renovations to the first and second floor to create suites for visiting artists and to be the home of our professional practice center and alumni relations office.”

Thousands come to see and take pictures of the historic hall’s front door. The wooden door itself is shaped in an Art Nouveau manner with its curved patterns. The windows on the door, and on the building’s sides, consist of leaded and beveled glass that feature floral and lined patterns. Surrounding the door are receding semi-circular arches with green, yellow and copper tesserae. The mosaic tile, window patterns and wooden accents of the Mineral Door create a striking visual and popular photo backdrop.  

GO: 4340 Oak St., KCMO

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