This historic building in downtown Overland Park could soon get a facelift

The Overland Park Historical Society's plans to renovate the historic Strang Line Depot building moved forward Monday night with an approved certificate of conformity from the Overland Park Planning Commission. Rendering from city documents

Plans for a new headquarters for the Overland Park Historical Society progressed this week.

What’s new? The Overland Park Planning Commission this week unanimously approved a certificate of conformity that would allow the society to renovate the exterior of the historic Strang Line Depot building at 8001 Santa Fe Drive, a major step forward in the group’s long-time goal of remaking the depot building into its new home base.

Renovation details: Through this project, the building’s north parking area and drive entrance to 80th Street would be removed to make way for a new public plaza.

  • This plaza would include embedded train tracks and seating, and it would have a space for bricks marked with donors’ names.
  • The society would also update the building’s landscaping and clean the building’s existing brick, restoring it to its original color.
  • Other aesthetic changes laid out in the plan include the addition of new coach lights, awnings over the windows and a new metal roof.

Why it matters: The project serves as part of a long-standing plan to turn the former depot into a new museum and headquarters space for the society.

  • Originally built in 1906, the depot was Overland Park’s first commercial building, but in more recent decades, it has been renovated and added on to and now appears rather nondescript on the outside though much of the original depot structure remains intact inside.
  • The Overland Park Historical Society purchased the property in 2019.
  • In 2020, historical society officials asked the city for a five-year annual allocation of $100,000 to help offset the total project cost of $2.78 million.
  • Brad Moore, president of the Overland Park Historical Society, said this renovation would benefit the community while still maintaining the historic aspect of the property.

Key quote: “It is really going to become a public amenity,” Moore said. “A venue space, a venue option for small groups in the city- all the while, retaining the history and retaining the original building built by William Strang in 1906.”