Chronology - History of Home Ownership
The history of the Dillon House begins with a property swap that enabled it to be constructed and nearly 80 years later another property swap enabled it to be saved from likely demolition.
Below is a chronology of the house and associated property.
1910: Hiram Price Dillon trades his house at 919 Harrison Street and undisclosed amount of cash for George Crane’s property at the corner of Harrison and ninth Streets. He also purchases property immediately north of the Crane property from a man named Elliott. In total he has Lots 277, 279, 281, 283, 285 and 287. According to a newspaper article at the time H.P. Dillon intended to build a “modern city mansion” designed by a New York architect.
1911: April 15th newspaper article announces the letting of the contract for the home to Henry Bennett for the contract price of $50,000. The house is reported to be 116 feet along ninth Street and 62 feet along Harrison Street.
1911 to 1913: Henry Bennett, a prominent local contractor, builds the house and garage. Building permits are issued May 20 and September 25 of 1911, No.15639 and 15640 respectively.
1913: The first large social event opening the house to guests is a formal tea held in June.The first and second floors of the house are open to guests and adorned with fresh cut flowers, designed especially for the décor of each room.
1914: H.P. Dillon’s father, John Forest Dillon, dies in Far Hills, New Jersey. Two carved marble lions are moved from the J.F. Dillon home to the Dillon House and flank the front porch.
1918: H.P. Dillon dies in Chicago in September.
1919: The Dillon family offers to sell the property to First Presbyterian Church, just north of the mansion, for $50,000. The offer is negotiated down to $19,000 and still rejected by the church.
1937: Susan Finley Brown Dillon (Hiram’s wife) dies in October.
1941: In July American Home Life Insurance Company purchases the Dillon House and announces intentions to renovate, modernize and use the house as the company headquarters. Contents of the house that were not distributed to family were sold at Auction also in July.
1941: In October American Home Life Insurance Company moves into the renovated Dillon House.
After 1955: Further remodeling by American Home Life Insurance Company removed East porch replacing it with the East Annex.
1970: First Presbyterian Church acquires the Dillon House from American Home Life Insurance which has constructed a new building on Kansas Avenue. The mansion becomes the Church’s “Community House” and is used for meeting space, youth group events and Sunday school classes.
1988: First Presbyterian Church publicly discusses the possibility of tearing down the Dillon House as part of an expansion plan.
1989: The Kansas Legislature authorizes the Department of Administration to negotiate a proposed property swap with First Presbyterian Church, trading the Dillon Property for a state owned parking lot to the north of the Church.
Early 1990’s: A fire breaks out in the roof of the Dillon House reportedly caused by some workers repairing the third floor ceiling and roof. Water damage from extinguishing the fire causes extreme damage to first, second, and third floors.
1997: Governor Graves approves the acquisition of the Dillon House.
2008: Dillon House Task Force report to the Joint Committee on State Building Construction.
2009: Historic Structures Report commissioned. Treanor architects complete report. The State did not pursue the recommendations. For the next 10+ years, Dillon House was used for meetings, gatherings, and events, limited to the 1st floor only.
2013: June 25th, Pioneer Group, Inc. successfully outbids two others and purchases the Dillon House for $700,000. Full historic restoration begins.
2014: Completion of historic restoration. Dillon House becomes the home of PGI and its family of companies. Dillon House Events, LLC. opens up the first floor as a premier rental venue.