Fascinating finds on the campus of Unity Village
DAVID PENNER IS THE SENIOR COPY EDITOR
AND PROOFREADER FOR UNITY WORLD
HEADQUARTERS. PRIOR TO COMING TO UNITY,
HE SPENT FIVE AND A HALF YEARS AS THE
EDITOR OF THE LEXINGTONCLIPPER-HERALD
IN LEXINGTON, NEBRASKA.
AROUND THE VILLAGE
The Unity Clubhouse is near and dear to my heart because
it’s a big part of my family’s history. Both of my sons,
4-year-old Daniel and 1-year-old Gabriel, had their first
birthday parties at this English Cotswold-style building
dating from the 1920s, which sits next to the now-defunct Unity Village Pool. (Don’t confuse this structure
on Clubhouse Drive with the larger Golf Clubhouse on
Country Club Drive, which serves patrons of the Unity
Village Golf Course.)
The original intent of the Clubhouse was to be a place
for Unity employees to hang out. It was one of the first
permanent buildings at what was then called Unity Farm,
when Unity headquarters was still located about 20 miles
away in downtown Kansas City. Starting January 1922,
employees could sign up for memberships at $1 for each
half-year. A company truck ferried people to the Clubhouse
from downtown for 25 cents for members and 50 cents for
According to the 1922 Unity Country Club Information
and Rules handbook, “The purpose of the Club is to
provide clean, constructive amusements such as parties,
dances, baseball, golf, tennis, hiking parties, and nature
study, for the workers of Unity School of Christianity
and their friends.” Some of the rules included: No meat
or smoking, no noise after 11 p.m., and no dancing or
card playing on Sundays. Although memberships haven’t
been available for a while, the building has been in near-continuous use, hosting family get-togethers, retreats, and
various prayer and Bible study groups.
Like most other historic buildings on campus, the
Clubhouse just oozes cool. The prominent red shingle roof,
the heavy wooden front door on old wrought iron hinges,
and plentiful old-fashioned windows evoke a different era.
This is one of the many small masterpieces designed by
Unity Village architect Rickert Fillmore, son of Charles
Fillmore and Myrtle Fillmore. The interior features a vaulted
ceiling and exposed, railroad-tie support beams. The main
floor includes a kitchen, dining room, entertainment space,
huge fireplace, and sitting area.
Recently, the Clubhouse has been closed mainly because
of water damage in the basement, which has affected the
foundation. Repair estimates total between $75,000-$90,000.
Unity is currently searching for donors to support the cost
of restoring the Clubhouse to working order.
If I had my way (and the money) I would purchase
the building and live in it—but that would mean that
future generations, including families looking for cool
birthday party venues, would not be able to enjoy such
a unique place.
For information about funding Clubhouse renovations,
call the Unity Development office at 800-248-6489.