The Johnson County Museum’s biggest collection item is a 1954 ranch-style house! Five families lived in the house, from the 1950s until the 1990s. The last family to live here donated it to the museum, realizing that this house was special. Built by Kansas City Power & Light Company as the show house in an all-electric neighborhood (no need for natural gas here!), the home saw over 60,000 visitors in a six-month period while open to the public. Containing “all the bells and whistles,” this house was promoted as the “lazy man’s paradise:” special switches open and close the curtains, a special switch opens a painting above the fireplace to reveal a black and white television set, built in speakers outside allowed homeowners to watch the television from the comfort of their backyard patio, “Moon Glow” nightlights throughout the house provide light at night, the electric fireplace provides no heat but does crackle like a real fireplace, and the electric heat pump could warm the home more efficiently than other heating methods.
Step back in time and check out this virtual tour of the All-Electric House! Can you find the painting that hides the television? The green toilet paper in a hall closet? A rainbow carpet? How about an old green rotary telephone? A 1950s washing machine?