The Swedish Evangelical Mission Church in the Volker neighborhood was once a center of Swedish life in Midtown. Seen here in 1940, the church still stands at the corner of 42nd and Terrace Streets. A look at the history of the surrounding block shows the diverse cultures that settled the area, with Swedish and other immigrants moving into the homes built shortly after the turn of the 20th century.
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 a block of Volker from 42nd to Westport Road, from Terrace to Wyoming. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
The block is part of Epperson’s Addition, where a 1902 newspaper ad offered potential buyers easy terms on lots priced at $9-$12 a foot. A few years later in 1907 lots were selling for $18-$20 a foot in the subdivision which boasted of graded streets, sewers, water, gas line and an easy walk from the Westport or Roanoke streetcar line.
By 1920, residents of the block spoke a variety of native languages, with immigrants from Ireland, Sweden and Germany living alongside folks born in Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.
The major landmark of the block was the Swedish Covenant Evangelical Church, sometimes referred to as the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church. The church was established in Kansas City in 1887, moving into the 42nd and Terrace building in 1911 as Swedish immigrants, like many other Kansas City residents, moved to the new “suburbs” like Volker.
The slideshow bellows shows all the buildings on the block in 1940.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.