The area around 52nd and Brookside was known for its rustic pedestrian bridges that people used to cross a brook to catch the streetcar. It was also the home of Visitation Parish – and the site of the second home that its developer J.C. Nichols built for his own family.
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. This week we’re focusing on 51st Terrace to 52nd Street from Main to Brookside in the Countryside neighborhood. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
Certainly a major center of life in the area in the early 1900s was Visitation Church. The first church was built in 1909 and Visitation expanded in 1917. It added a school around 1921. The postcard to the right shows Visitation from Main Street just south of 51st in bout 1920.
As Midtown was built up to the north beginning in the 1880s, the area south of the Plaza was considered undevelopable because to reach it, folks had to cross small bridges.
But in 1906 J.C. Nichols began residential development in the area. He built Brookside Boulevard and named it for the small brook that ran north from 63rd to Brush Creek. Nichols must have thought this block was special, as he built a second home for his own family at 48 E. 52nd Street, just up the hill from the bridge.
Do you remember this area? 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