This block between 30th and 31st from Cherry to Holmes is in an area that is coming back to life. Home to the Maker Village, the new Cherry Pit Collective, and the Superior Linen Company, the block that was once mainly residential is almost completely commercial today.
As part of our Uncovering History Project, the Midtown KC Post is taking a look at each block in Midtown, including a set of 1940 tax assessment photos which is available for many blocks. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them). This week, the block from 30th to 31st and from Cherry to Holmes is our focus.
A residential neighborhood in the early 1900s
An early map shows this block packed with single-family homes built side-by-side along Holmes, Cherry and 30th Streets. The homes are gone today, but photos of the Holmes Street section of homes from 1940 can offer a glimpse of what they once looked like (below).
The Metropolitan Street Railway Company’s Holmes Street barn dominated the corner of 31st and Holmes during this period. Just across Holmes stood fire station #17, which housed 14 men and five horses when the map was made.
Twelve frame homes were packed together along Holmes Street and a dozen mirrored them on Cherry. Another cluster spanned half of the block at Cherry and 30th Street.
By 1895, families were renting or buying these “modern” frame homes. A newspaper ad for one of them in 1909 said it held an entrance room, parlor, dining room, kitchen and pantry on first floor; three bedrooms with good closets and bathroom on second floor.
The homes have since been replaced by commercial buildings.
Changes as McGee Street becomes a dominated by auto businesses
As automobiles became more a part of life, this area of Kansas City became an auto center. A Sanborn Fire Insurance map from 1907-1950 shows the change along Cherry (by then McGee Trafficway), where auto sales and services businesses had replaced nearly a dozen homes on the block.
More types of businesses in the 1940s
By 1940, seven of the original houses were still standing on the block, but it was becoming increasingly commercial. The photos below show the non-residential buildings on the block was they looked that year.
Historic photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library/Missouri Valley Special Collections.
Do you have memories or more details about this area of Midtown? Please share them with our readers. Would you like us to focus on your block next week? Send us an email.
Our book, Kansas City’s Historic Midtown Neighborhoods, is available now. Let us know if you want us to come to your neighborhood association or organization’s meeting to share what we’ve learned about Midtown neighborhood history and tell your members how they can help preserve Midtown history. If you’d like to order the book, email Mary Jo Draper at email@example.com.