Vine Street Workhouse, Kansas City, Missouri

Did I discover an ancient fortress in the wilderness? Well, not exactly, as if you look closer, you see that this castle has cinder blocks in its windows and doors.

The Vine Street Workhousewas the old jail for the city of Kansas City, which I had the opportunity to visit over the Memorial Day weekend.

Located on the near east side of the city, it sits in a veritable forest of overgrown trees and underbrush.

The good news is that the jail has been been mothballed and the owner is actively seeking to find a buyer for the property.

It’s a stunning building, though slightly smaller in real life than I thought it was by looking at pictures on-line. A railroad runs right by the site, further confirming that this is no long lost medieval castle.

I was impressed by this gigantic weed; does anyone know what it is?


  1. Re: the weed. It looks a bit like a sorghum plant gone feral. Judging from the other photos, it's got some company of its peers. Glad the local yokel graffiti "artistes" haven't destroyed the thing.

  2. There is quite a lot of info on this (and the sorta-related buildings across the street) in the Underground Ozarks-Kansas City Forum, as well as a preservationist KC site (forget where, though). A friend in KC told me about it. It's also possible to do a Bing Birdseye view of it, as well as a Google driveby view. Pretty neat.

  3. Chris,Perhaps the wild plant in question is Pale Dock. If so, I'm told Native Americans made a gruel of the seeds.~Keith

  4. Eh, it’s not really mothballed, per se. You can just walk right in, the place is trashed and there’s basically nothing but the walls remaining..

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