Once renowned for its stone walls and crimson rambler roses, Rockhill began when William Rockhill Nelson built his mansion, Oak Hall, in the south part of Kansas City in 1890. He continued to create the infrastructure for the neighborhood, including building Rockhill Road and some of the stone walls that still characterize the area.
The block featured in this slideshow (at the very end of this story) is just east of the current site of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (seen on the 1909-1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below). The museum was built after Nelson’s death.
The block is between 45th and 46th Streets, from Kenwood to Holmes.
In 1905, when Edward Pratt purchased the property just north of 45th Street, the area was described as full of “many old forest trees.” The block became the home to several important Kansas City businessmen. Fred S. Doggett lived at 635 E. 45th. Just to the east, I.C. Van Noy, president of the Van Noy Interstate Company, bought property in 1919 to build a home.
As part of our Uncovering History Project, the Midtown KC Post is taking a look at the 1940 tax assessment photos of each block in Midtown. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
The slideshow below shows the 1940s tax photos of the block.
There’s still a lot more to learn. Do you remember this block? What special memories do you have of this section of Rockhill? What questions do you have about it? Let us know and we’ll share your history and help to preserve it on our website.
Would you like us to focus on your block next week? Send us an email.
All photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections.