The building known today as the Western Seminary was constructed in approximately 1909 from funds ($25,000) donated by Mrs. Margaret Klock Armour, widow of Simeon Brooks Armour of the famous Armour Meat Packing Company. The building was originally christened "The Margaret Klock Armour Memorial Home for Aged Men and Women" and was operated by the Women's Christian Association of Kansas City who constructed the Gillis Orphan's home on the same tract of land. A bronze tablet was hung in the entryway during the home's dedication by Mrs. Armour which read "At evening time, it shall be light". The land on which it was built had been donated by "Colonel" Thomas H. Swope, whose death had become a highly publicized murder trial. Swope was a wealthy real estate magnate and philanthropist and was the largest indiviual landowner in Kansas City. His physician, Dr. Hyde, was believed to have poisoned him with strychnine in an attempt to inherit some of his vast wealth (Dr. Hyde was married to one of Swope's neices).
The Armour Memorial Home, along with the Orphan's Home, were receiving widespread support in the community due to the positive social impact these facilities were making. As a result of their success, these buildings were filled to capacity by the mid 1920's and they had a waiting list of more than 100. At about this time, the Western Negro College offered $25,000 to purchase the property. This sum was sufficient for the homes to relocate to a comfortable 26.5 acres, a site in which they still inhabit today.
The Western Negro College had formed in the late 1880's and had moved between a variety of locations before finally purchasing this land in 1926 from the WCA. The College was forced to close its doors in the height of the depression for the school years of 1935-1936, after which time it was reorganized and renamed in 1937 as the Western Seminary. Eventually, the College would operate solely out of the old Orphan's home thus abandoning the old Memorial Home which still bears their name.