Created By: Wichita History Walk
The Hillcrest Homes opened to great fanfare in September, 1927. The Wichita Eagle gushed that it was "a marvelous city within a city." It was "the latest, the most modern, the very ultimate in urban housing." The building was organized as a co-operative organization – where those who bought into the building became owners of their units and owned a respective share of the building itself. This new type of housing was being popularized in New York City and Chicago, and was brought to Wichita by land owner Herbert Hoffman and architect Lorentz Schmidt. These new lease-for-life units housed 97 families.
Hillcrest was built for $1.2 million dollars, half of which was set aside for stock to prospective owners who would sign a lease for 95 years. By the time construction started, a third of the apartments had already been sold. Amenities included a roof garden, ballroom, lounge, modern garage, flower shop, barber, manicurist, coffee shop, ladies parlor, and children’s playground. It was reported that when Hillcrest opened, it was the largest co-operative apartment building in the world. Over the years, many prominent Wichitans have called Hillcrest home. Its Tudor revival styling, popular in the 1920s, echoes other contemporary buildings that Schmidt designed for this area.
This point of interest is part of the tour: East Douglas Heritage