Like many blocks of Midtown in 1940, this section of Manheim Park from Troost to Forest between 42nd and 43rd, was a mixture of homes and commercial establishments that served the families who lived there. Along Troost, a typical commercial streetcar corridor, business names changed frequently, and included automobile sales, chicken sales and supplies, grocery stores and drug stores.
As part of our Uncovering History Project, the Midtown KC Post is taking a look at each block in Midtown, including a set of 1940 tax assessment photos which is available for many blocks. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
Forest Avenue’s families in the 1930s
The homes first show up in the records around 1912, when the Ambrose Taylor Tucker family moved in at 4200. Tucker, born in England, came to Kansas City and found work with a packing company. He later established the A.T. Tucker Grocery Store in Rosedale, Kansas. His son, George, worked by day straightening mashed motor car lamps, but achieved local fame for creating jardinieres and various utensils in brass and copper in his spare time.
By 1930, the street had filled in with working families, as detailed in the 1930 census:
- 4200 Forest: Fruit and vegetable buyer Jonathan Gott owned this home which he shared with is mother and father, Robert and Mahalia. In addition, restaurant supply collector Clarence Hodges rented with his wife, Elizabeth, and son.
- 4202 Forest: Promotion proprietor Reginald Foster lived with his wife Rena, a son and a daughter.
- 4204 Forest: George Weidenbaum, a jeweler, owned this home with his wife Beulah.
- 4206 Forest: Cecil Bland, a filling station attendant, rented here with his wife Mildred and a son. The Stephen Langmaid family also rented, including wife Wilda, as did Julia Sweet and roomer Rose Kiss.
- 4208 Forest: James Ahern, a contractor from Germany, lived here with wife Delia, three sons, two daughters, a son-in-law, a nephew, and a roomer.
- 4216 Forest: William Wiedorfer, a German butcher, lived here with his wife Margaret.
- 4218 Forest: William Roessel, a German immigrant who ran a grocery store, lived here with his wife Marie, two daughters, and a nephew.
- 4220 Forest: Markwood Holmes, a music school teacher, rented here with his father and two sisters.
- 4222 Forest: Earl Gordan, a streetcar mechanic, owned this home with his wife Minnie and two sons.
- 4226 Forest: Albert McLemore, a carpenter, owned with his wife Jennie and a niece. Bookkeeper Grace Hubbard and her daughter rented living space.
- 4234 Forest: Minne Massie lived here with her two daughters.
- 4238 Forest: Claude Manlove, an insurance salesman, owned this home with his wife Bertha. Claude was the state manager of the Woodmen of the World, a fraternal organization whose members worked to help others and provide financial protection for their families. His wife Bertha, a lifelong resident of Kansas City, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Holmes, early settlers of Westport. She was the secretary of the Kansas City Chapter of the Guardians’ Association of the Supreme Forest of the Woodmen Circle and was widely known in state and national circles of the organization, accrding to her obituary.
- 4240 Forest: City employee George Oswald rented with his wife Jennie. Also at 4240, Richard Wallrod, a tree surgeon, lived with his wife Frances.
- 4242 Forest: Henry Acton, a grocery store clerk, lived with his wife Fern and mother in law.
- 4248 Forest: Mary Zerruth lived here.
The library’s historic photos also provides a view of how these homes looked ten years later in 1940.
Troost’s businesses and homes in 1940
Two homes still stood at the north end of 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.