Hyde Park School served a growing population in 1899

Photo courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.

Photo courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections.

The building is gone, the name has been changed, but Midtown once had a school at the corner of 33rd and McGee known as the Hyde Park school.

Originally the land was a cornfield, part of the 60-acre Jacob Ragan farm at Armour Boulevard and Gillham Road. But in that late 1800s, the eight-room frame Knickerbocker School at 33rd and McGee was getting full as the “suburb” of Hyde Park grew.

The school was in the Westport School District; it was not annexed into the Kansas City district until 1899. But in 1894, the Westport board sent a delegation “on a trip east” to scope out new school buildings in that part of the country. When they returned, they enthusiastically began building the Hyde Park school  at a cost of nearly $25,000.

The school, under locally-famous principal Charles S. Parker, produced many winning athletes. Parker was, according to a Kansas City Star article, “an enthusiastic advocate of playgrounds, games and sports, remembered by many, with stop watch in hand, timing the children at practice races, during recess, lunch period and after school.”

So it wasn’t surprising that alumni should protest at a proposed change of name to the George B. Longan School. According to a 1931 article in the Kansas City Times, Hyde Parkers at a public meeting acknowledged Longan was a great educator, but they thought perhaps his name should be reserved for another school while theirs continued to be called Hyde Park, the same thing they called their neighborhood.

But the school lost its original name in 1932. And in 1955, the building itself was razed to build the (new) George B. Longan school on the south part of the property where the original Hyde Park school playground stood.

Leave a Comment