This is the story of a place that no longer exists. It is about the Wendell-Phillips neighborhood in east Kansas City, located between Prospect and Brooklyn Avenues, between 26th and 27th Streets.
I began this project knowing that eventually there would be a void: occupied homes would become empty and demolished. The remnants hauled away.
In 2011 the city began to search for suitable locations to construct a new police station and crime lab. They sought to consolidate two existing facilities, which were ill-equipped to handle caseloads and demand for the area’s police force. 25 sites were considered before settling on a 4-block portion of Wendell-Phillips.
While the process was never legally implemented, the city began buying out homeowners under the guise of eminent domain. The majority of residents accepted the city’s initial offer. For residents who rejected these offers, the city arranged to have their homes condemned.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, I photographed residents in their homes during the final months of the Wendell-Phillips neighborhood’s existence. In between taking pictures I collected objects and ephemera from the vacant homes and lots. My photographs, in tandem with the objects, become an incomplete archive of a former place. Working across modes of image making such as portraiture, landscape and appropriation, this installation explores the concept of eminent domain and its implemented realities.