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James Anderson Historic Preservation Award

This award recognizes a person who is not currently and has never been a member of the corporation and who has made a significant contribution to saving or preserving a significant, bonafide historic site or object within the ten-county metropolitan Kansas City area (Bylaws Art. II Membership Sec 1.2) over a period of at least two years. The person, either acting alone or as a group leader, has ensured the historical accuracy/fidelity of the preservation within the limits of practicality and cost with allowances for preservation restrictions caused by federal, state, or local laws, ordinances, or codes. This award shall be given strictly for historical preservation efforts carried out over multiple years.

Award Nomination Form

About the Award
by Joe Vaughan

The  James Anderson Historic Preservation Award sprang forth in the summer of 2019 through pure happenstance.

A couple of years earlier, a former high school classmate was clearing out her mother's home when she came across a collection of local and regional history books. Knowing my interest in history, she called me and asked if I would like her mother's collection. I told her I sure would!

We have a monthly lunch group of high school classmates. When she showed up, she brought me two banker's boxes full of books -- one of them concerned Kansas City's history through 1870. The author's preface referenced James Anderson, who had generated her interest in the development of Kansas City, beginning with the early exploration of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

James Anderson was 84-years-old when he died in 1967. For 33 years, he served as historian for the Native Sons of Kansas City, as it was known until 2006, when the name was changed to the Natives Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City. His career was as an accountant for Kansas City Southern Industries. Anderson's grandfather was the late Rev. Thomas Johnson, who founded the Shawnee Indian Mission in 1830. Johnson County, Kansas, was named for Johnson in 1855. Mr. Anderson's cousins were the prominent Wornall Family. These factors likely spawned James' lifelong interest in historic preservation.

One of our organization's first efforts following its founding in 1932 was securing the restoration of historic Ft. Osage. Anderson was involved in that effort. Soon, Anderson began collecting books, articles, memorabilia, and other paper documents and storing them in a small room on the 25th floor of City Hall in Kansas City, Missouri.

Eventually, Anderson's collection became so large that the city manager advised him to find a new location for storage. Within a short time, Mr. Anderson found a permanent home for the collection at the then-University of Kansas City, which became the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1963.

In the ensuing years of growth and development at UMKC, Anderson's collection evolved into the Western Missouri Historic Manuscripts collection. That collection is now part of the Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City archives held at the State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center – Kansas City. The NSDKC archives is among one of the largest organizational collections in the Research Center today.

James Anderson's role in collecting and preserving Kansas City history has sadly become lost to history. In recognition of the efforts of James Anderson and those that continue to work in safeguarding Kansas City's history, this new, annual historic preservation award is dedicated to a non-member of the Native Sons and Daughters of Greater Kansas City.

Recipients of the James Anderson Historic Preservation Award

Peggy Van Witt (2023)
Peggy Van Witt of Van Witt Fine Art Conservation was presented with the James Anderson Historic Preservation Award in recognition of her restoration of the mural of Kansas City’s Westport Landing. The mural had been placed in various locations around Kansas City, had been shown on a concave wall with low lighting, and had incurred a thick layer of non-reversible shellac and linseed oil that covered the entire mural.   The surface coating had significantly darkened and yellowed the entire mural and had caused cracking and blistering.   The extensive and detailed work of Peggy and her team over several weeks repaired and restored the mural to its original 1930s glory. The mural is now located over the grand staircase in Union Station in Kansas City.

Cydney Millstein (2022)
Cydney Millstein, a native of Kansas City, MO, is a preservation consultant, architectural historian, and principal/ owner of Architectural & Historical Research, LLC, in Kansas City, Missouri, with nationwide experience in the field for 40 years. Her work includes the examination and documentation of buildings, landscapes, and industrial typologies for a variety of clients, both public and private. Ms. Millstein’s honors include two Osmond Overby Awards, two National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Awards, two George Ehrlich Achievement in Preservation Awards, the U.S. GSA Design Award and the State Historical Society of Missouri Brownlee Fund Award. Millstein’s most recent publication, The Kansas City Art Institute: Architecture and Innovation 1885-2020, was published in 2021. Her book Houses of Missouri: 1870-1940, co-authored with Dr. Carol Grove, was published by Acanthus Press, NY, in October 2008. The 2019 publication Hare & Hare: Landscape Architects and City Planners, co-authored with Dr. Grove, was awarded the David R. Coffin Publication Grant, Princeton University, through the publisher, Library of American Landscape History, Amherst, MA.  In 2022, in a Resolution, Ms. Millstein was honored by the City of Kansas City, MO, for her contributions to the built environment, architectural preservation, and beauty of Kansas City. In 2018, Ms. Millstein was named Preservationist of the year by the AIA-Kansas City and in 2017, she was given the Urban Hero Award by the Downtown Council, Kansas City, MO. In 2022, Ms. Millstein announced her retirement. 

Joan "Joanie" Shields (2021)
Joanie has a long record of dedication and service to numerous Kansas City, Missouri organizations. These include being a founder of the Friends of Sacred Structures (FOSS) group, a coordinator of the Adopt a Monument Committee, board member of the City of Fountains Foundation, president of the Historic Kansas City Foundation, and numerous awards from the Jackson County Historical Society. Professionally, Mrs. Shields had a long career in retailing, marketing, and small business ownership. Joanie's noteworthy volunteer efforts include the Daughters of the American Revolution, Starlight Theater, the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Kansas City Star once did a feature article on how Joanie takes a hands-on approach with many of the groups she serves. More than two decades ago, Joanie could often be found in public parks scrubbing and cleaning public art and statues to show young people how to preserve such objects for future generations.


Chester C. Owens, Jr. (2020)
Owens graduated from Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, and is a veteran of the U. S. Air Force. He then graduated from Pittsburg State University with a B. S. degree in Business Administration. In 1959, Owens began his professional career in the insurance business as an underwriter and salesman with H. W. Sewing & Company in Kansas City, Kansas. He was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s with the KCK/NAACP. In 1976, he purchased the Sewing Insurance Company when Mr. Sewing retired. Owens was a member of the board of directors of the Douglass State Bank, the United Way of Wyandotte County, the Kansas Association of Independent Insurance Agents, honored with the Friends of Yates' Black Men of Distinction Award. Sumner High School was the only all-Black high school in Kansas between 1905 and 1977. Mr. Owen organized and has been honored by having the school's "Chester C. Owens Sumner Alumni Room'' named in his honor. He is a founder and organizer of the Old Quindaro Museum. Owens became the first African American to be elected countywide in 1983 to serve on the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas Board of Commissioners.


Lucinda Rice-Petrie (2019)
Lucinda is a charter member of the State Historical Society of Missouri's George Caleb Bingham Society, a past president of the Historic Kansas City Foundation board of directors, and is chair of the organization's Heritage Hikes Program, Library Committee, and the Possum Trot's Historical Research Committee. She is an honorary member and past president of the Kansas City Young Matrons and served as an ex-officio member of Missouri Preservation. Rice-Petrie maintains close ties to her alma mater, the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has been chair of the Delta Gamma Sorority Foundation Leadership and is a member of the Jefferson Club. Rice-Petrie lives in Kansas City, Missouri.