Do you remember the blocks around the Bancroft School at 4300 Tracy?

A neighborhood store at the southeast corner of Tracy and E. 43rd Street once served residents of Manheim Park. The store is no longer standing, but this is how in looked in 1940. Courtesy Kansas City Public Library - Missouri Valley Special Collections.

A neighborhood grocery store at the southeast corner of Tracy and E. 43rd Street served residents of Manheim Park as early as 1911. In the 1950s the building became a sewing machine store. The store is no longer standing, but this is how in looked in 1940. Courtesy Kansas City Public Library – Missouri Valley Special Collections.

The Bancroft School has been converted into apartments.

The Bancroft School has been converted into apartments.

On the corner of 43rd Street and Tracy, the renovated Bancroft School is bringing new life to the Manheim Park neighborhood. With plans for new infill housing in the area and residents rehabbing older homes, people are rediscovering Manheim, a neighborhood with a lot of history.

The slideshow below shows the homes and apartments that surrounded the school in 1940. It begins with the 4300 block of Virginia, along E. 44th, then takes you up the east side of  4300 block of Tracy, down the west side of that block, across E 44th,  and ends up on the 4300 block of Forest. More than half of the homes shown in these photos no longer exist.

Bancroft School in 1940.

Bancroft School in 1940.

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 the blocks from 43rd to 44th Streets on Forest, Tracy and Virginia, around Bancroft. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation renovated the school in 2013. BNIM Architects built additional housing units on the southeast corner of Forest, and there are other plans for new housing in the neighborhood.

A look back at the area in 1940 shows a well-kept neighborhood with small homes, short white fences and lots of kids playing outside in the neighborhood.

The 4300 block of Tracy today.

The 4300 block of Tracy today.

But there is very little history of the area written down or preserved in libraries, and we’d like to change that. That’s where our readers come in.

Do you remember this block? What special memories do you have of this section of Manheim Park? 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  

All photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Te 1909-1950 Sanborn Fire Insuance map of the area.

Te 1909-1950 Sanborn Fire Insuance map of the area.

18 Comments

  1. Randy Brown says:

    My family lived at 42nd and Forest, just around the corner and down the hill from Bancroft Elementary School. My father went to Bancroft, and I attended Kindergarten and the first month of 1st grade there before we moved to our new home in Leawood in the Fall of 1958. I still have several photographs of our house at 42nd and Forest, which was built by my grandfather in around 1908, almost ten years before my dad was born. Somewhere in an old shoebox somewhere, I also have a few photographs that were taken inside Bancroft Elementary when I attended school there in ’57-’58.

    I also remember our family shopping at a shopping center just east and south of there called Village Green at about Brush Creek and The Paseo. I see from Google Earth that there’s still a row of shops there. I’m pretty sure there was a grocery store there (maybe an A&P?), and I know there was a toy store there.

    On the other side of our house was an old wading pool. I believe it was on Gillham Road. All I remember about it was that the concrete surface of the floor of the pool was rough on my feet, not smooth like you typically find at a swimming pool.

    Oh, and I also remember there being a bowling alley nearby called Rockhill Bowl. I can’t place it exactly, but I think it was on Troost, and I’m pretty sure it closed in the late ’50s as automatic pinsetters were going in at all the new bowling centers that were being built. I would *love* to find someone who has any remembrances and/or photos of Rockhill Bowl.

    I don’t remember much else about the area. I was awfully young when we left that neighborhood.

    • Jean Rowe says:

      In 1963 – 1972 my family lived at 44th Michigan. You’re right there was an A&P store and a TG&Y store at the Village Green shopping center. I did great on Halloween night going through Village Green homes (I think they were townhouses).

    • Marilyn kitchen new says:

      Randy I have been trying to find you. Your mom was Jean and I lived next door. I live in St Charles Mo my name was Marilyn Rittman.

      • Randy Brown says:

        OMG! Marilyn Rittman, I remember you. In fact, I have PICTURES of you! Pictures with you and me all dressed up for Halloween! Might take some digging, but I’m pretty confident I could find them. Probably taken in 1954. I remember the Rittmans next door, and if you told me your parents’ first names, I’d probably remember them, too. Seems like we also had a neighbor across the street…I wanna say their name was “Dilly” (and no, I’m not thinking of the beer commercial that’s running on TV, “Dilly! Dilly!” LOL!) Something close to that, anyway. Please reach out and send me an e-mail at RandB@mindspring.com. Would love to visit with you. (You’ll have to go through the spamblocker when you e-me at that address, but I’ll find you.) Would love to reconnect. What a trip! Hope you’re well!

  2. John M Speight says:

    I believe the old Rockhill Bowl building is still standing at 45th and Troost – Northeast corner – it is now K C Electrical Supply Co. I lived at 4317 Tracy, across the street from Bancroft , but went to school at Saint James Catholic School which was at 40th and Tracy. We left that area about 1957 and moved South. You must have been close to Immanual Luthern Church and school… Remember the twins Mike & Mark ?…..can’t be sure, maybe their last name was Burke.

  3. Bob Taylor says:

    I went to Bancroft from the 4th grade thru the 7th.i believe there was a grocery store across 43rd. Does anyone remember the Pryor sisters, Jane and Nancy? I lived at 4144 Charlotte and walked to Bancroft. Mrs. Meyn was the principal. I had a split 4th grade class with a dark haired teacher and Mrs. Fitzugh.I don’t remember my other teachers. A few of my classmates Richard and Ronald Marcy, Louis Bucher, Steve Doubleday, Patty Henry, Candi Cooper. Richard and David Waterfield lived across the street from Bancroft as well as Nancy and Allen Tolley!!

    • Pat (Henry) Breeden says:

      I attended Bancroft from Kindergarten through seventh grade. Both of my brothers Bob & Richard Henry also attended Bancroft. There was a very small grocery store across the street. An older man was always at the counter to help with before and after school purchases of candy. My family lived at 4111 Virginia until 1968. In addition to Bob Taylor’s list of friends, I remember Patty Erickson, who was a good friend through high school. We graduated from high school in 1966. Part of us moved on to Paseo High School (8th to 12th grade) and the other half went to Westport High school. Great neighborhood and lots of kids playing outside. If there are any other pictures from this time period I would love to see them.

    • Philip Butler says:

      I attended K-4th grade (’68-’73) and remember my 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Lewis. Also, remember Mrs. Meyn and Mr. Houston (both principals at one time); gym teacher was Mrs. Williams I think and the VP was Mr. Hatter (spelling?) We lived at 43rd and Campbell so had to cross Troost. I remember getting “stepped out” by a safety on the way home from school one time for not listening to him…I cried, but never did that again. Loved that school but my parents put us in private school after my 4th grade. I went to church (Forest Ave Bap.) right across the street from the school.

  4. Nedra Fuller says:

    My name is Nedra Fuller-Winfield and my 3 brothers and I all attended Bancroft Elementary and boy do I have such great memories! Ironically, my middle brother Tommy moved into an apartment on 41st Tracy, which turned out to be bitter sweet, cause the apartments he moved into turned out to cost him his life and I was kinda of hoping he would have been able to move into the newly beautifully renovated school, but he went to be with the Lord in July of 2011. However, I have always enjoyed driving through my old hometown to see who still lives in the area and to perhaps connect with some of the neighbor kids I had grown up with. This is by far the best memory I have of my childhood, as this school had many of wonderful teachers that will always be a part of my soul. Anyone, who knew me, please reach out! nedrawinfield@yahoo.com I am also trying to get some old yearbook pics…

  5. Nedra Fuller says:

    Oh, by the way I attended 72 to 1977-Nedra Winfield Great School and lots of great memories!

  6. Bill Brice says:

    I lived on 42nd. Holmes and went to Bancroft in the 40’s Where has the time gone ?

  7. Mary Titterington Edwards says:

    Marilyn Rittman really rings a bell! My grandparents lived at 4144 Forest (corner house but like many, long gone.) Their names were Ross and MaryBelle Sandusky. My parents, Frank and Betty Titterington, lived with them for about 8 years. This is the first house we, as kids, called home. Mom and Dad had three sets of twins. John and Frank were the oldest and attended Bancroft in kindergarten and first grade. Pat and I were born in 1949 and Betsy and her twin (who died at birth) in 1951. The three of us never attended Bancroft because my parents moved to 4832 Westwood Road and we all attended E.F. Swinney School.

    I have so many great memories of that three story shirtwaist house! After my grandfather died, my grandmother lived there until the early 70’s. There was a friend of hers across the street, Mrs Strain or something like that. Her daughter married Floyd Doubleday who started Doubleday Heating and Cooling. I happened to be in the neighborhood last week as we were trying out a new restaurant at 41st and Troost. I always drive through the hood and reminisce when I am anywhere close by. Anyway…..GREAT MEMORIES!

    • Randy Brown says:

      The name Sandusky rings familiar to me. If they lived at 4144 Forest (on the corner), then we must have lived directly across the street, since my family lived at 4145 Forest on the northeast corner of that intersection of 42nd and Forest. My grandfather, Willard A. Brown, Sr. actually built that house in the decade of the 1900s (I wanna say 1906). He died a few days after I was born in November, 1952, and my dad, Willard A. Brown, Jr. and my mom Jean, moved us to an apartment on the Plaza while we were building our new house in Leawood. We moved in 1958 before I turned 6. I attended Bancroft Elementary for kindergarten and the first month or so of 1st grade in the fall of 1958. Then, once we moved into our house in Leawood, I transferred to Linwood Elementary School at 97th and Mission Road in Leawood, part of the Shawnee Mission School District.

      But I do remember the name “Sandusky” as being one of our neighbors when we were in that old house at 4145 Forest. I was much too young to have much memory of them, but the name does ring familiar. Similarly, I have a recollection of another neighbor, across 42nd street on the same side of Forest (east side) that we lived on, and I think their name was Dilly (yes, like the current Budweiser commercial airing on TV these days, “Dilly! Dilly!”). I don’t remember much else about them besides that funny-sounding name.

      And I certainly remember Marilyn Rittman, who lived next door to us (on the north side of our house). In fact, I have some photographs of her and me together, all dressed up to go out Trick Or Treating on Halloween (probably around 1954 or ’55). Small world, ain’t it?

  8. Jill Donovan says:

    I love reading all of the memories above. I lived at 4247 Flora Avenue, which was one block off The Paseo. I went to Bancroft from 1957 to 1964. Ms. Meyn was the Principal. Ms. Bowen was my 6th grade teacher and I really liked her. I remember the store across the street where we would buy candy. There was also a small store on the opposite corner that sold some kind of knick knacks, glassware, etc. The Village Green was mentioned and I remember it well. There was an A&P, a TG&Y, and the Crown Drug Store. My Dad was the Manager of the Crown Drug Store for awhile when I was a kid. I loved going in to the lunch counter and getting a hamburger, french fries, and a cherry limeade. I also remember taking swimming lessons at Paseo High School in the summer. My Sisters went to Paseo HS and they always liked going to a little hang-out down from the school called Max’s. Also, someone mentioned Ricky and Ronny Marcy and Allen Tolly. I remember them well, they were friends of Ray and Lee Generaux who lived across the street from me. I remember Gillum Park and the rough bottomed wading pool. The Mayors Christmas Tree being lit and looking at the lights on the Plaza, and, the Saturday afternoon movies at the Nelson Art Gallery. Going to church at Westport Presbyterian Church and my parents stopping at Katz Drug Store so we could look at the toys and the talking Myna Bird. All of a sudden all of these memories just came flooding back. Those were pretty good times. Then my parents moved us all to Georgia and we became Southern Belles. LOL

    • Georgia Pulos Hays says:

      My family lived at 4434 Forest Ave from 1950-1963. My brother, sister and I attended Bancroft Elementary. We moved to St Louis in 1963 when I was in 7th grade. My father was a police officer for the KC department. I have wonderful memories of my years at Bancroft. The big heat registers that were in the hallways would blow our dresses up, we were suppose to walk around them. Girls always wore dresses then and would wear snow pants under them in the winter. We would walk as a class to Paseo High School to visit the library. They had big ceiling fans. Can remember singing in the auditorium with our music teacher. Also being in an all school assembly and being warned not to pick flowers from neighborhood houses on the way to school. Having bomb drills and going to the lower level of the school building for protection.The fun Halloween all school gatherings. Halloween was also a fun safe time for the neighborhood kids to freely roam the streets trick or treating. I remember the square dancing we did during our pe classes. Our fun field trips to Fairyland. Much simpler life for growing up riding our bikes. Our great uncle would walk us across Troost to Gillum Park. Sometimes swimming in the public pool, until the Polio scare that kept us away from the public pools. Some kids in the neighborhood would run through the doors at the bowling alley to feel the cold air, none of us had air conditioning. Yelling one way when cars went the wrong way on our one way street. Great memories!

    • Randy Brown says:

      Yes, I remember the Village Green. I remember my mom taking me grocery shopping there at the A&P. There was also a small toy store in the Village Green. No clue what the name of it was, but I pestered my mom to buy me a little bowling alley that was for sale there. I remember it was $7, which was a lot in 1954.

      And yes, the rough-bottomed wading pool at Gillum Park. I guess that pool is still there. I see it when I do a virtual fly-in using Google Earth. What I never realized until recently was that it was just a straight shot of a few block down from our house. I’m sure my dad must’ve just walked down there when he was a kid living in that same house we were in when I was born.

  9. Georgia Pulos Hays says:

    My family lived at 4434 Forest Ave from 1950-1963. Our father was a KC police officer. My brother, sister and I attended Bancroft Elementary, I was there for Kg to 6th grade. I have wonderful memories of my elementary years. Fun Halloween celebrations at school. Square dancing in pe class. Field trips to Fairyland. Loving teachers. Bomb drills in the halls of the school basement. Singing in the auditorium. Dodgeball in pe class. Running on the playground during recess. Walking to Paseo High School as a class to visit the library. Walking to and from school. A safe neighborhood with children to play hide and go seek, tag, ball games and ride bikes. We would open the door to the bowling alley on Troost to feel the cool air in the summer. Walking to Gillum Park to play on the teeter todder and swings. Swimming in the public pool until the Polio scare and warned to stay away from the pools. Went to the Plaza on Thanksgiving night to see the Christmas lights. Bought our school clothes and saddle Oxford shoes at Sears in the Plaza. Moved to St Louis but loved my childhood years on Forest Ave.

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