Summit View Farms builds upon
Rich tradition started by Gentry family
Long before it became recognized as one of the nation’s best places to live, Lee’s Summit was known for the many dairy farms that dotted the Missouri 150 corridor. Summit View Farms, however, has always been all about horses. More specifically, award-winning saddlebred horses.
“My brother, Bud, is the only 16-year-old kid I know of who traded a car for a horse,” Jerry Gentry said. “He knew the bloodlines and could tell if it was a good or a bad horse. He used to hang around a stable at 103rd and State Line on the Kansas side. Dad gave him a car, and he traded it away for a horse he had fallen in love with.”
Homebuyers are continuing a long heritage that began back in the 1800s, when what is now Summit View Farms was part of a land grant signed by President Ulysses S. Grant himself. Enoch Gentry, Ph.D., a doctor in Kansas City and the father of Jerry and Bud, purchased the farm in 1952.
“He grew up in Sturgeon, Mo., and worked for a few years on a farm that my grandfather owned,” Jerry said. “He married a girl from Moberly, Mo., and decided to go to college and become a doctor himself, but he always loved the farm life. All of his life, he wanted to buy a farm and in 1952, that dream came true.”
Dr. Gentry purchased 160 acres, including the farmhouse and barn, from Ralph Day. Bill Kenney later would buy 120 acres directly across Hook Road from Day. The land is known informally as the Gentry Farm, although Jerry’s mother christened it Summit View Farms because of its proximity to both Lee’s Summit and Grandview.
Jerry would stay in the city with his father, while Bud and his first wife, Donna, lived on the farm and worked it. “I spent a lot of summers on the farm, putting up hay, shoeing horse, fencing and watering,” Jerry said. “I grew quite fond of Lee’s Summit.”
The extended Gentry family pitched in to help convert the farm from dairy to saddlebred horses. Jerry’s grandfather on his mom’s side lived in one of the smaller houses on the property and helped manage the farm.
.The Gentrys soon built a national reputation among saddlebred horse lovers. “Donna showed horses in the American Royal for years,” Jerry said. “She trained a horse, The Lemon Drop Kid, that she sold to Art Simmons, a legendary breeder and trainer from Mexico, Mo., for a lot of money.”
Many in the industry consider The Lemon Drop Kid to be the best harness horse ever. Robert McCray drove him to Fine Harness World’s Grand Championships in 1958 and 1959.
Bud and his second wife, Shirley, carried on the saddlebred horse tradition, and both lived on the farm until their deaths. Jerry still owns 60 acres, including the house and barn, and visits whenever he can. He is pleased that Summit View Farms is beginning a fresh chapter as Lee’s Summit’s newest subdivision. He also recalls that it all may have started with a pony named Rusty that wouldn’t stay home.
“I heard that Bill Kenney from the Chiefs bought the land across Hook Road,” he said. “Bill and Sandi had a pony that wouldn’t stay in. I met them because the pony would show up in our driveway at least once a week. I finally bought the pony for my granddaughter, and it’s still alive today.”