The Roanoke neighborhood, developed from around 1900 to 1920, has always made a strong effort to keep its homes single family. While other neighborhoods in Midtown often saw their homes divided as rooming houses and later into multiple apartments, Roanoke’s residents were vigilant in their efforts to prevent that from happening within their boundaries.
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 block bounded by Valentine Road, Belleview and 37th Street. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
This block looks much the same today as it did when the photos were taken in 1940. Well-designed homes stood on large lots and drew prominent Kansas City families to the neighborhood. And the block probably looked much the same in 1954, when residents met at the home of Erle Longmoor, 1015 Valentine, to form the Roanoke Homes Protective Association.
Roanoke Homes got organized during the period when many of Midtown’s large single-family homes were being divided or razed to make room for apartment buildings. An April 21, 1954 Kansas City Star article shows how Roanoke residents, including some prominent Kansas Citians, banded together to protect their neighborhood long before some other Midtown neighborhood associations were formed.
Fight An Area Change: Residential Status of Roanoke District is Defended
Homes Association meets to protect property owners from violations of zoning and restrictive agreements
Preservation of the Roanoke district as a residential neighborhood was the objective outlined at a meeting last night of an incorporated group of homeowners.
The Roanoke Protective Homes Association met at the home of J. Erle Longmoor, 1015 Valentine. This first full meeting was attended by ninety-two persons. Longmoor, an investment broker, was elected president
In explaining the organization, Frank L. Wilkinson, a state senator, said the purpose is to protect property owners from violations of zoning and restriction agreements.
For 1-family use
Wilkinson pointed out that an agreement of the property owners restricts structures to designs for single-family occupancy.
“There are at least five violations at the present,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson, 3601 Belleview avenue, is chairman of the executive committee. He said the association was chartered March 29.
The Roanoke district, consisting of ninety-seven homes and one lot, includes property from 3600 on Madison and Belleview avenues to the north side of Thirty-eighth street and from the east side of Madison to the west side of Valentine. There are five homes on the east side of the Southwest trafficway.
Those persons attending were offered certified copies of the Roanoke original restrictions, a 1922 agreement. The restrictions were extended in 1945 to May, 1971.
Mrs Elsa A. Ripley, secretary, who lives at 3653 Belleview, proposed that restrictions and zoning regulations be studied with the intention of bringing violations to the attention of property owners.
“We are all neighbors,” Mrs. Ripley said. “When restrictions are violated, we do not like to see our neighbors in trouble. I think a good neighbor policy will help a lot.”
Zoned for duplexes
Barnum said the district has been zoned for duplex units even though it violates the restrictive agreement. He also said there is nothing to prevent owners from having as many as four roomers. He contended there is a difference between roomers and boarders.
Mrs. C.D. Stark, who lives at 3674 Belleview, arose near the end of the meeting.
“From what you say, I am a violator,” Mrs. Stark said. “I went to the city and was told I could have a duplex.”
Judge Albert L. Reeves, retired federal district judge, moved that all present be made directors. This passed with the stipulation that those who desired could reject a directorship. Judge Reeves lives at 3654 Belleview.
Other officers at the meeting
- Gerald H. Oppenheimer, 3600 Belleview
- Richard M. Schaeffer, 1010 West Thirty-seventh Street
- James J. Rick, 3724 Belleview
- Will Longmoor, 1021 Valentine
- Frank L. Wilkinson III, 3601 Belleview
- Edward Ellison, 3709 Belleview, president emeritus
The slideshow below shows the rest of the homes that stood on the block in 1940.
Do you have memories or more details about this block 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. Order the book