Although Westport is best known for its role as a frontier trading outpost, few remnants of that pioneer past remain standing. The Westport we know today, including this block from Westport Road to Archibald and from Broadway to Central, was mostly built in the early years of the 20th
century, with Westport Road making the transition from an important trail leading west to a commercial shopping area for surrounding neighbors.
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).
As the 1920s began, the block along Westport Road began to take on a more commercial face. While Archibald remained a residential street, businesses along Westport Road became more densely-packed as the surrounding neighborhood was built up and streetcars made the block as easy-to-reach destination.
Like much of Midtown, the rising popularity of automobiles led to major alterations in business areas. By 1940, a gas station had replaced older frame residences at the corner of Broadway and Archibald. The Westport Avenue Bank, which moved to the corner of Westport and Broadway in 1920, in 1942 bought neighboring Weatherproof Products Company, which sold linoleum, in order to expand bank parking.
The slideshow below shows the businesses and homes 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.