Photo Montage: The 1940s Tax Assessment Photos

(originally published 3/26/20) In my July 18, 2019 post, I wrote about the 1940s Tax Assessment Photos available online for Kansas City, Missouri. If you don’t want to go back and read the earlier post, here’s the short background. In 1940, Kansas City participated in a WPA program whereby all – yes, all – ofContinue reading “Photo Montage: The 1940s Tax Assessment Photos”

The Train Out of Westport: Part 3 – The Country Club Freeway

(originally published 11/21/19) For the past two weeks, we’ve been looking at the history of the Trolley Track Trail, the pedestrian and bike trail that runs from Brookside Boulevard and Volker, all the way south to Dodson at 85th & Prospect. What began as a freight line connecting Westport to south Jackson County in theContinue reading “The Train Out of Westport: Part 3 – The Country Club Freeway”

The Train Out of Westport: Part 2 – The Country Club Streetcar Line

(originally published 11/14/19) Last week’s post covered the first of four pieces on the origins of today’s Trolley Track Trail. The growth in Kansas City’s late 19th century gave rise to a small railroad that connected Westport to Waldo and beyond, a line that would continue to be influential for more than a century. ByContinue reading “The Train Out of Westport: Part 2 – The Country Club Streetcar Line”

The Train Out of Westport: Part 1 – The Waldo “Dummy” Line

(originally published 11/7/19) Younger or newer Kansas Citians may only know it as the Trolley Track Trail. Long-time residents know it as the Country Club District street car line, south Kansas City’s connection to the early local rail system. And to those long gone, it was a reason to speculate on land, or build aContinue reading “The Train Out of Westport: Part 1 – The Waldo “Dummy” Line”

Kiddieland – Waldo’s Magical Corner

(originally published 10/24/19) Much of what I use for these posts results from research into other related topics. Last spring, I posted two separate pieces, one on amusement parks, the other on the racier side of Waldo’s history, Both of those were recycled research in service of today’s post, an excerpt from The Waldo Story.Continue reading “Kiddieland – Waldo’s Magical Corner”

Kansas City Parks Series – #3: Loose Park

(originally published 8/15/19) “I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.” That quote, from Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, referred to Jackson County, Missouri. But it’s a phrase that always comes to mind when I thinkContinue reading “Kansas City Parks Series – #3: Loose Park”

Finding Waldo’s Shadier Side

(originally published 6/20/19) A quick bit of backstory – The southern city limits of Kansas City moved from 47th to 77th Street in 1909, taking in the northern part of today’s Waldo. But Waldo as a community had been around since 1841, so there were already many businesses along Wornall Road, at least as farContinue reading “Finding Waldo’s Shadier Side”

Un-Welcome to the Neighborhood: Brookside’s “Blue Goose”

(originally published in 2017 in the book, One Hundred Years’ Journey: The Greenway Fields Neighborhood,” and in KC Backstories 6/13/19) This version is adapted from the KCB post) I may be one of the few people in midtown that doesn’t have a strong opinion about the “Blue Goose.” To me, it’s just a part ofContinue reading “Un-Welcome to the Neighborhood: Brookside’s “Blue Goose””

The Speculators: Waldo, Wornall, Ward and Armour

(originally published 5/9/19) Four men and their descendants played significant roles in the development of the land south of Brush Creek, as well as contributed greatly to the larger story of Kansas City and its part in the American West. They were speculators. They came to make their fortunes, or came with fortunes to invest,Continue reading “The Speculators: Waldo, Wornall, Ward and Armour”

Faith and Trust Part I: The Case of the Missing Houses

(originally published 4/25/19) This week’s post is the first of two parts, but was originally a feature in my 2017 book on the history of the Greenway Fields neighborhood – the neighborhood just west of Wornall Road between 61st and 65th Streets. The piece looks at the often-times complicated relationships neighborhoods have with their institutionalContinue reading “Faith and Trust Part I: The Case of the Missing Houses”

The Gillis Home and Armour Oaks

(originally published 2/28/19) In 1869, the completion of the Hannibal Bridge connected Kansas City to the nation’s expanding rail system. The rail brought so much to Kansas City. In general, it brought much prosperity to the town, and for a select few, it brought untold wealth. For far too many, it brought privations of everyContinue reading “The Gillis Home and Armour Oaks”

Keeping the Past in the Present: The Brookside Shops

(originally published 2/21/19) With this post, KCBackstories began the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Brookside Shops. In 2010, the shops were the subject of my first KC history book, and there had been sufficient and significant changes in the subsequent decade for my publisher, Arcadia Publishing/History Press, to support a revised special anniversaryContinue reading “Keeping the Past in the Present: The Brookside Shops”

“Bloody Lane” – The Civil War along Wornall Road

(originally published 1/31/19) Despite its sobriquet as “The Gettysburg of the West,” the story of the Battle of Westport remains largely unknown, even locally. Likely if you’ve heard of it you understandably assume it took place in Westport, which it didn’t. If you know a bit more, you know its signature battle took place aroundContinue reading ““Bloody Lane” – The Civil War along Wornall Road”

The Refugee’s Story

(originally published 12/12/18) When I first posted this on the original website, it was not coincidentally at a time when the world-wide refugee crisis was at a peak. The crisis is now no less critical, but I offer it in keeping with the current season of holidays around the globe, and Arsenio’s hopeful story. IncludedContinue reading “The Refugee’s Story”