Troostwood Block Offered Shade, Bungalows, and Two-Car Garages

Many homes built in Midtown just after the turn of the 20th century didn’t have garages. But on this Troostwood block built in the 1920s, garages were an advertised feature, even of smaller bungalows, a sign of how dependent residents were becoming on their cars.

Some blocks of Midtown Kansas City were built to house Kansas City elites, and others were created as working-class enclaves. Today’s block, in the Troostwood neighborhood from 49th to 49th Terrace and Tracy to Troostwood, is an area developed in the early 1920s for middle-class families who wanted a shady neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Another feature of the block was the availability of garages for one or two cars, an amenity that had not been offered when earlier Midtown areas were built up. 

A 1925 map of the block and surrounding neighborhood.

While much of Midtown was developing between 1900 and 1910, this block was still in the hands of one property owner. A 1907 map shows the area belonging to Thomas H. Prest, who owned a hardware and furnace store at Twelfth and Grand. Prest started business on that site in the 1870s in a small wooden building, later replaced by a much larger brick structure. He lived at Twenty-third and Troost.

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).  Today’s block encompasses Forty-Ninth to Forty-Ninth Terrace from Tracy to Troostwood in the Troostwood neighborhood.

By 1917, James B. Welsh Realty and Loan Company, a prominent Midtown developer, had platted the Troostwood subdivision and was building eight houses. “Be sure to come,” a newspaper ad beckoned. “You’ll like it.”

By 1922, Welsh had an additional twelve homes under construction. At 4900 Troostwood, a salesman was “on the ground,” waiting to show a new nine-room hollow-tile and brick home on half an acre, with a three-car garage and grounds landscaped by one of the best landscape gardeners in the city, including 178 shrubs and 25 trees. The following year, Charles M. Vining, a vice-president of the Commerce Trust Company, bought the home.

The homes of the block range from five-room bungalows to large ten-room, two story residences. 

The photos below show the homes on the block as they looked 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 at local bookstores and on Amazon.com. 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. 

3 Comments

  1. Gale W. Talbot says:

    Beautiful old homes. Thank you.

  2. August Huber says:

    We believe that many of the homes in Troostwood were built by August L. Huber, my grandfather. Although the developer may have been the James Welch Company, there were usually entrepreneurial individual builders such as Huber buying the lots and building the homes. On the 100th anniversary of our company (1903 – 2003) we researched deeds of trust in the midtown area and found many homes built by him and others. The city’s building permit records were lost in the pre WW2 era.

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