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. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them).
We’ve already featured the north side of West 39th Street between State Line and Bell, but a reader whose grandfather used to own some buildings there asked us what we knew about the south side of the block, where Jimmy’s Jigger sits today.
Records are sketchy before the 1950s, but before it was Jimmy’s Jigger, the establishment was called Bigger Jigger 2. The Accurso family owned several “Bigger Jiggers” across the city. Anthony Accurso sold this one to O. Jimmy Bowers in 1962. In 1959, as the newspaper advertisement to the right shows, it featured music and dancing.
The earliest records we could find of the block come from 1913, when 1819 West 39th housed the A. Morrison Jr. Farm Company, a Midtown dairy business that supplied milk to nearby residents. In the 1920s, newspaper accounts list 1819 West 39th as the Ever Ready Garage, where people who lived nearby stored their cars. It was damaged by fire in 1920. Later, in the 1940s tax photos, this building was the home of the Superior Meat and Sausage Company. That company, founded by 1926, later changed its name to Fritz’s Meat and Superior Sausage and moved in 1969.
At 1807 West 39th was a building that, at least for a while, served as a pool hall. On the corner of 30th and Bell in 1940, the photo is identified as J.A. Peterson, one of a chain of variety stores in Kansas City.
But there’s a lot more to learn. Do you remember this block? What special memories do you have of this section of West 39th Street or Volker? What questions do you have about it? Let us know and we’ll share your history and help to preserve it on our website.
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
Photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections.