Seen from above today, this block of Kansas City – Linwood Boulevard to 31st Street – from Campbell to Harrison, is fairly deserted. But a hundred years ago, the block was home to a grand hotel, an important women’s club and a row of businesses along 31st Street.
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).
Our historic tour of the block begins with the north side of Linwood Boulevard. The one remaining building on the block is the Kansas City Athenaeum Building built in 1914. The Athenaeum organizations was organized in 1894 when several women’s groups joined together. Here’s what happened, according to the Athenaeum’s website.
“The group’s focus evolved from a study society to a literary and philanthropic organization. The new club became a dynamic advocate for educational, community and civic concerns. The women of the Athenaeum took on causes that began more than a century of service, education and positive social change in Kansas City.”
Among the club’s important civic contributions: promotion of kindergartens and “Mother’s Unions” in public schools; pushing the city to hire a milk inspector; and helping to “sweep out” corruption of city government in the 1930s.
Next door was an apartment hotel, no longer standing. And on the corner of Linwood and Harrison stood the LaSalle Hotel, built in 1928. The site is now a gas station. Here’s what the block looked like in 1940:
One block to the north, several businesses lined the block of 31st Street between Harrison and Campbell, with only two of the buildings remaining today.
The slide show below shows the houses that exited on Campbell and Harrison between Linwood and 31st in 1940. Most of the homes on Campbell still exist, but those are Harrison are mostly gone.
There’s still a lot more to learn. Do you remember this block? What special memories do you have of this section of Midtown? What questions do you have about it? Let us know and we’ll share your history and help to preserve it on our website as part of our Uncovering History project.
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. Order the book