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Read on to learn more about the city and its chimneys:
A Quick History of Lenexa, KS
The history of Lenexa is full of fascinating people and stories of innovation, leadership, and respect. The Shawnee Tribe lived on the land allotted to them during the relocation of several native tribes in the 1830s. Quasky Blackhoof was among the significant leaders in the tribe when they worked with settlers in the area during the 1950s to create the Treaty of 1854. The treaty legally divided the land among Natives and the new settlers and allowed Natives to sell their property if they chose. When Quasky died a few years after the treaty, his wife, Ne-nex-se, continued to cultivate and ranch on their plot of land.
The community respected her so much that an adaptation of her name became the official town name when it was platted in 1869. The town was platted by Octave Chanute, a French-born civil engineer who built the first bridge over the Missouri River. The bridge allowed railroads to cross the river and expand their rail lines to other parts of the country. Chanute was well a trusted engineer and well connected all over the world. He utilized his connections to keep up to date on the flight innovations and technology and published a book about it. When the Wright Brothers were interested in guidance on their first airplane design, the Smithsonian Institute recommended Chanute’s book. Wilbur Wright wrote to Octave who became very involved in the development of their first successful flying machine. Chanute also had a large hand in developing Lenexa into a community similar to what William Strang was doing in neighboring Overland Park. Octave, along with a few other prominent leaders in the area, developed the land to attract families using the railroads to live and commute outside of the city.
Lenexa was home to under 900 residents until the 1950s. The city grew, and the population boomed throughout the 1970s and ‘80s though. It is now home to over 40,000 people. Lenexa residents enjoy prominent school systems, beautiful parks and recreation facilities, and plenty of retail options. However modern Lenexa becomes, they continue to take great pride in their history. Traces of the city’s heritage can be found through the preservation of Old Lenexa Town buildings, as well as the parks and art the city has named and commissioned to honor its founding leaders.
The Fireplaces and Chimneys of Lenexa, KS
BY ROBERT BERRY, OWNER OF FULL SERVICE CHIMNEY
Families of Lenexa Enjoy their Fireplaces
Both the old town of Lenexa and the developments of the 60-80s show a commitment to homes with hearths but have two distinct designs. Early Lenexa homes built in proximity to the depot more often than not had a utility design. These chimneys were frequently servicing free-standing, or central, coal stoves and boilers. Some of the larger homes of this time had a fireplace and masonry chimney in the area of the parlor or living room.
The developments in recent years also had a repeatable chimney and fireplace theme. The use of two fireplaces usually includes one on the main level and one in the basement. Both of the fireplaces are attached to a common chimney in which the flue liner of the lower fireplace flue has to curve around the upper one. These chimneys are commonly constructed from used bricks made available from urban renewal projects occurring at this time. On some occasions, the builder would have two fireplaces and a utility flue, all three flues came out of the same chimney crown.
Old Depot Meet Stylish Metro Community
Both the early and latter chimneys were sturdy and, at the time, state of the art construction. However, both chimneys and fireplace designs have a surprisingly common feature. Their bricks are over one hundred years old. Sure, homes around downtown are a century old, but so are the chimneys built from the 1960s through the 1990s. Why? These homes were built from “used bricks”.
In cities across the country, older, smaller buildings were being raised to make room for more modern and comfortable buildings. These older 2-6 stories brick buildings were frequently loaded with multiple walls of bricks because cinder block and steel superstructures weren’t part of the earlier design. With an ample supply of “re-claimed brick”, builders throughout Johnson County put the bricks to back to work. Neither the chimneys from the 1800s nor those from the late 1900s had the benefit of moisture protection. Consequently, most or all of Lenexa’s masonry chimneys need preventative maintenance, if not some degree of repair.
Sweeping and Repairing Lenexa’s Chimneys Since the Late 80s
Full Service Chimney knows Lenexa’s chimneys. We have been taking care of them for 30 years. The folks of Lenexa have come to trust our service and advice, and if you allow us to help, you will too.
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