Buy a Brick - Help Preserve this Historic Site
Our Objectives and Campaign for Support
When you purchase a brick, you'll be helping us purchase and improve Ginger Roger's Birthplace - and turn it into a tourist destination so that everyone can visit the site. The house is was listed as an Historic Landmark in 1994 by the City of Independence, Missouri.
Ginger Rogers was one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood during the 1940s. She is respected for her numerous achievements as a woman in the male-dominated entertainment industry. She was a six-time Golden Globe winner, a multiple Emmy Award recipient, and a three-time Academy Award Nominee.
The house where she was born was built in 1906 and Virginia Katherine McMath (later to become Ginger Rogers) was born there in July 16, 1911. Her mother. Lela, was a single mother, having separated from her husband, and worked as a secretary nearby. Later she became a screen writer for Hollywood. Ginger lived in Independence and Kansas City until age 9 when her mother took her to Fort Worth, Texas, where she was introduced to the theatre. Rogers was a talented singer, dancer, and actress. She was well known for her dance films with Fred Astaire, and for her roles in many films and Broadway roles. She won an Oscar for her role as Kitty Foyle. Her films are still loved by generations.
Rogers visited her birthplace city several times during her lifetime. In 1994 she visited Independence for "Ginger Rogers Day" on her birthday, which was arranged by then mayor Ron Stewart, at the request of his wife, Marilyn, who was a huge Ginger Rogers fan. The city had a parade for her and showed her films at the Englewood Theatre. She visited her birthplace home once again (see photo at lower right). Ginger died on April 25, 1995 at the age of 83.
What We Need & What You Get
We think that tourists and residents of Independence, MO, will enjoy seeing this site while visiting other local historic landmarks such as the Truman Presidential Library, Truman Home, Vaile Mansion, and the historic Independence Square. This site is located not far from all of these important places.
Since this is an historic property with Landmark status any major or cosmetic change must be approved by the Heritage Commission. This includes zoning changes through the city, getting approval for changes, hiring a surveyor and landscape architect, paying for plans, and getting approval from the neighbors for the planned improvements. All of this costs money, and this is the first step in making this all happen so the public can enjoy visiting this historic home and museum.
Our Plans for the Property:
1. Repair or replace the front porch floor, replace the front door, install central air.
2. Install a great period-looking iron or metal fence around the property for security.
3, Remove the two trees that are causing damage to the foundation. Improve the landscaping and install lighting and brick sidewalks.
4. Create off -street parking and driveway. Make a patio/garden.
5. Install Museum objects owned by Ginger Rogers and glass cases.
6. Rebuild the brick chimney as it was in 1911.
7. Make necessary code improvements to wiring and plumbing.
8. Install a security system and cameras.
Buy a Brick for Posterity
Buy a Brick and we'll have your name engraved on it - the bricks will be used for the sidewalk and patio improvements on the site. Your brick will be a permanent addition to the project.
$50 contribution:You will get one paver brick with your name (up to 20 characters)
$100 contribution: You will get two paver bricks with the names of your choice (yours and someone else's if desired)
$500 contribution: Friend of Ginger Rogers level. You'll get five bricks with the names of your choice on them and an 8" x 10" photo of Ginger Rogers.
$1,000 contribution: Contributor level. You'll get a large clay tile with your name and logo (if desired) up to five lines of wording included, two 8" x 10" photos of Ginger Rogers and a listing on our website, free admission to the museum for two people for five years.
$10,000 contribution or higher: Benefactor level. You will receive a large clay tile with your name and logo, three 8" x 10" photos of Ginger Rogers, and will be listed as a benefactor with your name on a plaque to be added somewhere on the property (as allowed), listed on our website as a benefactor, free lifetime admission to the museum and all special activities for up to four people.
Note: Any size contribution will be truly appreciated, however are not tax deductible.
Ginger Rogers was born in Independence, Missouri to Lela and William McMath. McMath was an electrical engineer. Lela did not want to give birth in a hospital so Virginia (Ginger) was born at home. Lela later separated from McMath, who kidnapped Ginger twice before Lela divorced him. Lela left Ginger with her parents in 1915 while she pursued a successful career writing scripts for Fox Studios and later as a theater critic. While living in Texas with her mother Ginger was exposed to the theater and learned how to sing, dance, and actor. Later she became a huge Broadway and Hollywood Sensation, most notably for her dancing scenes with Fred Astaire. She was known as the woman to who do everything that Fred Astaire could, but backwards and in high heels.
Ginger returned to Independence for Ginger Rogers Day on July 16, 1994 for her 83rd birthday celebration. Several thousand fans celebrated with her and Mayor Ron Steward presented her with a key to the city. A photo was taken of Ginger in front of this house (we are trying to obtain it).
The house she was born in was in private hands and used as a residence until we placed an offer on it and it is now under contract. Our goal is to make this a place that everyone can visit since it is an important part of the history of Independence.
As mentioned above, we have several challenges to meet before this project can become a reality, but with the interest in preservation of historic landmarks in this area, we are certain that we can overcome any obstacles. It just takes money and perseverance. With our experience buying, restoring, and renting or selling houses, we will be overseeing the entire project from start to finish. With our experience in business for 33 years as a specialty contractor and for 20 years as home restoration specialists, we have the expertise and connections to make this happen.
If you would like to offer a gift,contact us directly at 816-833-1602 or contribute here:
Other Ways You Can Help
-Please ask all your friends and relatives to get the word out and make some noise about this campaign.
-If you have any Ginger Rogers memorabilia, things she owned, or antiques for the house and would like to gifts to the museum, we'd love to have it and we'll take good care of it! You will be listed as a contributor with your name on a brick or tile. Contributions are truly appreciated, but are not tax deductible.
We are currently planning to have a fundraising dinner in Independence soon and we hope you can join us!