Do you know the history of the Center City neighborhood?

Homes in the Center City neighborhood around 1900.

originally published April 6, 2015

In the early 1900s, developers such as the Cowherd Brothers were building “modern” middle class homes across what is now Midtown. One area where development was occurring was today’s Center City neighborhood, from 31st to Armour Boulevard, and Troost to the Paseo.

Center City stood in a strategic location that made it attractive to people looking to buy a home outside of the crowded downtown area.

31st and Troost was still known as “millionaire’s row,” with huge mansions dominating the street. By the 1920s, Troost with its popular streetcar line moving people from downtown to the new suburbs to the south, was being reborn as a major commercial artery.

This Sanborn Fire Insurance Map (right) from 1896-1907 shows the neighborhood as it was developing at that time. While the 3100 block of Troost still had several of the large mansions, commercial activity was picking up south of Linwood. The large building (shown in orange) stretching from Troost to Forest was the Metropolitan Street Railway Company barn. Just to the south at 33nd and Troost stood the Station E Post Office (in pink on the corner). Going east from the post office was the South Troost Feed and Fuel Company, a wagon and carriage storage building and a livery.

In 1900, a popular publication showcasing Kansas City homes featured  the O.D. Woodward residence (right) at 3324 Troost.

As Jews immigrated to Kansas City in the early 1900s, many settled in and around the Center City area. Jewish synagogues and social services followed. In the 1920s, Beth Shalom (below), in the 3400 block of the Paseo, had a 1,500-member congregation. Another temple, B’nai Jehudah, was located on the southeast corner of Linwood Boulevard and Flora Avenue.

Would you like us to focus on your block next week? Send us an email.

Our new 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. To order the book, contact or find it on Amazon or at local bookstores. 

Photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections. 

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