Book signing Sunday: history of Midtown Kansas City neighborhoods

Scan-2015-2-15-0002The unique character of Midtown—from Thirty-first to Fifty-fifth Streets, State Line to the Paseo—grew out of its development as the streetcar suburbs of an expanding Kansas City. The history and unique character of each of Midtown’s two dozen neighborhoods is featured in a new book by Midtown KC Post editor Mary Jo Draper called Kansas City’s Historic Midtown Neighborhoods.

Draper will be signing books at the Writer’s Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 26 at a special event for local authors. She’ll also be explaining the ongoing Uncovering History project, a  Midtown KC Post endeavor that is continuing to gather historical photos and stories from people who lived in the Midtown area.

Draper spent a year gathering existing history and doing additional research.

“The history of some of the neighborhoods well very well-known,” she says. “But for other areas, history is slipping away, with no one gathering what is left of the stories about the people and homes and businesses that made them special as they were created and keeps them special today. The book is intended to be a starting point for uncovering as much of the history as we can as a community.”

The book includes photos of each neighborhood as well as some of the schools, movie theaters and grocery stores that served Midtown residents. It also includes chapters on Main Street, Broadway, West 39th Street, Troost and Armour Boulevard, which became the commercial corridors of the area.

The book includes Old Hyde Park, North Hyde Park, Central Hyde Park, South Hyde Park, Southmoreland, Rockhill, Coleman Highlands, Volker, Roanoke, West Plaza, Plaza Westport, Heart of Westport, Westwood Park, Center City, Squier Park, Manheim, Trostwood, Crestwood, South Plaza, Countryside, and Sunset Hill.

Mary Jo Draper is the editor of the Midtown KC Post. She is a former news director at KCUR public radio and active with the Valentine Neighborhood Association.

The book is also available online at

Leave a Comment