Do you know the history of this Linwood Boulevard, 31st Street block?


The LaSalle Hotel at the corner of inward and arisen in 1929. Courtesy Kansas City Public Library - Missouri Valley Special Collections.

The LaSalle Hotel at the corner of Linwood and Harrison in 1929. Courtesy Kansas City Public Library – Missouri Valley Special Collections.

the-block-todaySeen from above today, this block of Kansas City ­– Linwood Boulevard to 31st Street – from Campbell to Harrison, is fairly deserted. But a hundred years ago, the block was home to a grand hotel, an important women’s club and a row of businesses along 31st Street.

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).

Our historic tour of the block begins with the north side of Linwood Boulevard. The one remaining building on the block is the Kansas City Athenaeum Building built in 1914. The Athenaeum organizations was organized in 1894 when several women’s groups joined together. Here’s what happened,  according to the Athenaeum’s website.

“The group’s focus evolved from a study society to a literary and philanthropic organization. The new club became a dynamic advocate for educational, community and civic concerns. The women of the Athenaeum took on causes that began more than a century of service, education and positive social change in Kansas City.”

Among the club’s important civic contributions: promotion of kindergartens and “Mother’s Unions” in public schools; pushing the city to hire a milk inspector; and helping to “sweep out” corruption of city government in the 1930s.

Next door was an apartment hotel, no longer standing. And on the corner of Linwood and Harrison stood the LaSalle Hotel, built in 1928. The site is now a gas station. Here’s what the block looked like in 1940:

One block to the north, several businesses lined the block of 31st Street between Harrison and Campbell, with only two of the buildings remaining today.

The slide show below shows the houses that exited on Campbell and Harrison between Linwood and 31st in 1940. Most of the homes on Campbell still exist, but those are Harrison are mostly gone.

There’s still a lot more to learn. Do you remember this block? What special memories do you have of this section of Midtown? What questions do you have about it? Let us know and we’ll share your history and help to preserve it on our website as part of our Uncovering History project.

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  


  1. Marilyn Loder says:

    I had my wedding reception in December 1965 at what I though was called the WWII building. Is it still there or did it have a different name?

  2. Jeanine Allee Johnson says:

    When I was born in 1949 my parents lived in The Windemere apt building on Armour Blvd not sure what block but close to Gilliam Park . We lived there till I was three .

  3. Loretta Blain says:

    I lived on Harrison and 31st when I was 8 years old.LOve that place.Goings drug store at the end of the block.We would go there to the soda fountain.Hillcrest market across the street.Isis theater on troost.Those were the days.I visit the area when I go to KC but nothing left but memories

  4. Cheryl Mason says:

    I used to walk down Harrison from our home at 34th and Holmes to Linwood Blvd and turning east walk up to Troost, passing the La Salle Hotel. They had windows looking into a very nice restaurant which our family did dine once or twice. Very near that building was the office headquarters of the Veteran’s Administration. I am not sure which direction but on the same side of Linwood Blvd. (south side).

    In answer to the above question, the WWII building was the American Legion Memorial Hall building at Paseo and Linwood Boulevards. It is still there with the lion/human statues guarding the entrance. Believe it or not, I saw a show performed by Jan and Dean there in 1965. Only a few attended, but it was memorable.

  5. My parents lived in the LaSalle Hotel when I was born in 1939. I lived there for at least one year of my life and I do vaguely remember it. We moved to an apartment near there and I spent my earliest years riding around in my tailor tot on Linwood Blvd. When we moved out to the suburbs, my mother still came back to the area to shop throughout my childhood.

  6. Wesley Hill says:

    My comment is directed to Loretta Blaine who remembers the “Goins” drugstore on the N.E. corner of 31st. and Harrison. We must be nearly close to the same age because I was 6 or 7 years old when in 1945-46, my parents sold our house but then had to move into that hotel on the N.W. corner of 31st. & Harrison across from Goins. Sadly, to this day, I remember losing my red rubber ball down the storm drain in front of that hotel. Funny how we still have such insignificant memories of long ago!

    • Loretta says:

      I was born in 55 I was 8 when we moved there.I remember goins and Hillcrest supermarket across the street.Kittys was on 31st street.It was little burger joint.I was up there not long ago and drov through the neighborhood.So sad.I also remember ISIS theater on troost.

  7. Wes Hill says:

    Again, my comment is directed to Loretta Blaine. I apologize, you are surely much younger than me…I was a Junior at East High School when you were born and yet we still share memories of the 31st. street area. It was the primary shopping area when I was a young lad. There was a J.C. Penny’s, a couple of dime stores, the Isis theater, Jones Dept. store, a Goodyear or Goodrich tire store on the N.E. corner of 31st. and LInwood, a Katz Drug Store on the S.W. corner and at Linwood and Harrison their was a Western Auto store.

  8. Donald Lindsey says:

    My grandmother (father’s mother} was the night telephone operator at the LaSalle Hotel for many years. She lived at 30th & Harrison and would walk to work except in bad weather. I recall the neat elevators and the 1930 type deco in the hotel.

  9. I think some posters have the addresses wrong on a few things. For one thing, there is no address of 31st and Linwood. Linwood BLVD was actually 32nd street south. The ISIS was on Troost and 31st south. One block north of Linwood and troost where the Katz was and the Goodyear tire store was. I lived at 3229 Wayne form my birth 4/10/49 until 1959. I know that neighborhood like the back of my hand.

    • Wes Hill says:

      I was the person erroneously using an address of “31st. & Linwood”! I know better but somehow made a careless error…after all, 31st. St. and Linwood blvd. run parallel to each other all the way to Van Brunt/Hardesty to the east and almost to State Line to the west.
      I know it well because I rode that darn streetcar for years. When I was 7 years old I would board the car at the S.E. corner of 31st. & grand and rode it to the turnaround at Van Brunt Blvd. With transfer in hand I would walk across Hardesty St. and board a north bound bus to 27th and Hardesty where I disembarked and walked eastward up 27th St. to Topping where I attended the 2nd grade class at Askew Grade School. If any parent allowed that in today’s world they would be charged with child neglect or endangerment! It happens to be one of many fond memories I have from my childhood!

    • Charles Ferruzza says:

      The Katz drug store on Linwood was constructed on the site of the Hotel Ormond, the home of the Bodine Drug Store, where the late Walt Bodine was a soda jerk as a teenager.

  10. In a previous post I mentioned that I lived at 3229 Wayne from 1949 to 1959. Wayne is maybe six blocks east of Troost. My most vivid childhood memories are of this neighborhood. St Vincent’s was our parish and of course we went to school there. One thing that stands out to me about the people who were there then, is that, there was a vibrant Jewish population (we were members of the JCS at Linwood and Wayne) and also, many people from Europe who my Dad told us came to the US after WW II. Does anybody have any memories along these lines ?

  11. Chuck Parker says:

    When was LaSalle Hotel torn down?

  12. Jason says:

    Could anyone tell me what happened to the lasalle hotel…..i lived there as a young adult in Harrison…..can anyone lead me to photos from the mid/late 80s of the hotel or any of the photos or videos of the demolition of the hotel. Also does anyone remember a building(possibly the same as hotel) that had a big. DEFENDER sign on it. Any thing would be great……thanks in advance.

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