Delta Athenaeum

The Delta Athenaeum is a grand building that was constructed in 1913 and opened in 1914 as the Kansas City Athenaeum Club House. For the past century, the property has been consistently owned, occupied, and operated by women’s charitable organizations. Today, it is the home of the DEED Foundation and the Kansas City Missouri Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, commonly referred to as the “The Delta House.”

The origin of the Athenaeum dates to 1894, when 70 civic-minded women organized “The Kansas City Athenaeum Club” to meet in literary study groups and discuss public affairs. By the turn of the century, the Club members became increasingly involved in the suffrage movement. They were outspoken women who wanted to be heard in their community and nation.

When the membership grew to 500 women in the early 1900’s, the Club began raising funds to establish the Athenaeum Club House as a gathering place for “literary learning” and community service. A greater urgency to build the Club House arose in 1907 when a fire suspiciously broke out in the Pepper Building – home to many private music teachers – as Club members gathered for their annual business meeting. The women raised $33,000 to purchase land and commissioned a grand three-story building in Greek Revival architectural style. The cornerstone for the “Kansas City Athenaeum Clubhouse” was laid in 1913 at the corner of Linwood Boulevard and Campbell Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood.

The Athenaeum Club House opened in 1914 and became a central location for women’s advocacy and empowerment. Membership grew to more than 1,000 members during the 1930’s and 1940’s. For more than 100 years, Club members gathered at the facility to mobilize civic engagement and philanthropy for such initiatives as Truman Hospital, the Rose Garden at Loose Park, Children’s Mercy Hospital, street signage in Kansas City, kindergarten education, and daycare options for working mothers. Public schools in Kansas City are named in honor of two of the Athenaeum Club’s most prolific leaders, Katharine B. Richardson, and Mary Harmon Weeks.

The iconic Athenaeum Club House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. As the oldest women’s organization in Kansas City, the Athenaeum Club continued to own the building until recent years when its membership ranks dwindled. In 2015, the Club sold the Athenaeum property to the DEED Foundation as a women’s organization with a shared commitment for charitable fundraising and community service.

The DEED Foundation renamed the building “Delta Athenaeum” to celebrate the history of its origin and acknowledge its founding members, the Kansas City, MO chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The Delta Athenaeum is the home of the DEED Foundation and has become a prime event space within Kansas City.

The Delta Athenaeum also has long-term tenant agreements with many non-profit and small business organizations:

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