Three Trails Cottages, LLC purchased this home in order to save it for is historical value not only as an example of a working class Craftsman style bungalow, but its significance as the birthplace of Ginger Rogers. Independence residents love the fact that Ginger Rogers called this city her hometown, but until now, no one other than people who lived in the house had the opportunity to see it. As a big Ginger Rogers fan, Marge Padgitt, owner of Three Trails Cottages, LLC took the opportunity to purchase the house in February of 2016.  

Gene Padgitt, VP of HearthMasters, Inc. is the general contractor and has completed most of the work on the house, along with subcontractors and masons who work for his company. We think they did a wonderful job, and we hope you do, too!

This 1906 Craftsman Style Bungalow was built by Oscar Mindrup. Oscar was a banker and real estate developer. He built the first three houses on this block at the same time. We know this because the house next door is listed as one of his houses, and all three houses are connected to the same water supply line. The house is considered to be a working class bungalow with unique features, which include the woodwork, porch, and columns. Audrey Elder did extensive research on this property and her work will be included in a new book written by Marge Padgitt about the Museum in the near future. 

Ginger Rogers was born in this home July 16, 1911 to Lela Owens-McMath. Lela, separated from her husband, worked nearby and took Ginger to work with her every day. They lived in this rented house for approximately four years, then Ginger was sent to live with her grandparents in Kansas City until she was nine. At that time, Lela, now, an accomplished screenwriter and heavily involved in the theater, took her daughter to live in Texas with her stepfather, John Rogers. Ginger took the name Rogers early on even though she was never formally adopted. See more about Ginger here. 

Ginger Rogers visited her hometown of Independence on several occasions:

  • During a LIFE Magazine interview in 1942
  • While performing at Starlight Theater in 1968
  • While visiting President Triman and the new Truman Library in 1964
  • For Ginger Rogers Day in 1994, which was hosted by the City of Independence at the suggestion of Mayor Ron Stewart's wife, Marilyn. The celebration included showings of her films at the Englewood Theatre, a luncheon and book signing in the theater which went on for hours due to the number of people (estimated at 2,000).  She ran out of books and people were having her sign almost anything.   

Our project to renovate Ginger Rogers' birth home interior and open it as a tourist attraction was completed in August of 2018. However, the exterior fencing and landscaping will only be completed once we raise enough money for this portion. Please watch this website and our social media accounts for news and updates. Fans may contribute memorabilia or monetary gifts to the project through the Local History Preservation Society, which is a not-for-profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible.  In appreciation of your contribution, your name will be posted on the property is some form which may include: a brick, name plate, or display on a framed list of contributors. See our objectivespage for more information.

We took possession of the property on February 29, 2016.  Gene Padgitt, with HearthMasters, Inc. and Three Trails Cottages, LLC is a licensed contractor and is the project manager. We have completed a lot of work on the  property both inside and out, to bring the house up to code and safe for visitors. The new wiring and plumbing are completed as well as repair and rebuilding the stone foundation walls, floor joist supports, new floor in the kitchen, and new brick chimney. The kitchen floor was completely removed and reconstructed because it was 3" out of level and the joists had been placed at 22" on center, rather than 16" on center. The bathroom floor and joists were also reconstructed, a new tile floor has been installed, a new tin ceiling installed, the old corner sink has been refurbished, and the original claw foot tub was saved with all new period fixtures throughout. The kitchen and bath and all interior rooms are now completed and we are awaiting approval to move forward with the exterior repairs and landscaping. 

Updates are posted on our Facebook page The Ginger House regularly. 

The Heritage Commission of Independence approved our one change to the original house - moving the window in the kitchen to a practical place over the sink. The kitchen is very small and the best layout involved moving the sink from the interior wall to the back wall with the window centered over it. This has been completed and now that the exterior siding is finished it looks completely original, and no one would know that it wasn't there from the beginning. All other windows and exterior and interior wood trim, siding, including the porch pillars, are original to the house, or have been repaired or restored to original appearance. We were able to save some trim work from another house that matched perfectly and used it on this home. 

The next steps are re-supporting  the exterior porch and installing new floor boards, hiring a surveyor and landscape architect, and landscaping which includes adding a driveway and parking area in back, adding fencing, new sidewalks in the front and side of the house, a new sidewalk leading to the front door, new plantings, new sod, and removing two very large trees that are right next to the home and damaging the foundation. The site has to be surveyed, and a landscape architect will lay out a plan which we will present to the city soon. The expected total cost for the exterior is $30,000.


To contribute, please visit our contribution information page.

Photo Credits: (Top) In 1964, Ginger Rogers returned to Kansas City, MO to star in Tovarich at the Starlight Theater. During this visit, the image above was taken of Ginger Rogers and her mother, Lela Rogers (right), with Harry Truman at the Truman Library in Independence, MO (July 22, 1964) (Harry S Truman Library & Museum, July 22, 1964; Public Domain).  Magazine photos Life Magazine March 2, 1942, (Vol. 12, No. 9) (Time, Inc.). Color photos of the interior and exterior of the home are copyright Marge Padgitt.

Ginger Rogers with President Harry Truman at the Truman Library in 1964 when he declared July 16 "Ginger Rogers Day." Detroit Free Press columnist Shirley Eder is to the left of President Truman.

 Ginger is to the right of the president and her mother, Lela Rogers, is to her right. 

Photo credit: The Jackson County Historical Society

about The Project

Home of Lela Rogers and Birthplace of Virginia Katherine McMath

(stage name- Ginger Rogers)

Independence, Missouri

The Ginger House Museum