On this site in the old town of Wyandotte, James A. Cruise (1839-1873) and his wife, Margaret Kerstetter Cruise (1843-1915), built a small home about 10 years after Kansas became a state, in 1861. Mr. Cruise became the first Register of Deeds of Wyandotte County in 1863. Two years after her husband's death at 34, Mrs. Cruise married a prominent lawyer, John B. Scroggs (1838-1899). They replaced the earlier house with this Queen Anne-style mansion in 1887 and lived there until their deaths.
It then passed to John E. McFadden, who had apprenticed in Mr. Scroggs' law firm and later married Miss Emma Cruise, one of the Cruises' five children. In 1919 the home was sold to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church next door. The church operated it as St. John's Orphanage for nearly 70 years in this Croatian district known as Strawberry Hill.
You see this stately edifice today with the dormitory structure that was added to the north in 1926. The facility was acquired in 1988 by a non-profit neighborhood group and became the Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center. It seeks to perpetuate and promote the Slavic heritage of this unique area.
Welcome to a well-preserved era of Kansas City, Kansas, history.