Do you know the history of this Troostwood block?

The Troostwood Pharmacy served the surrounding apartments and residences in the 1940s.

The Troostwood Pharmacy served the surrounding apartments and residences in the 1940s.

A Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the Troostwood area as it developed after the turn of the century.

A Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the Troostwood area as it developed after the turn of the century.

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.

The slideshow we have posted below shows the structures that existed that year.

Today, we look at residences and businesses in Troostwood, from 49th Street south to 49th Terrace and 51st Street, from Troost Avenue east to Forest and Tracy.  The block included a row of identical apartment buildings along Troost, the Troostwood Pharmacy, and Hellman’s Hillcrest Automotive Service.

But we would like your help. Do you remember this block in 1940 or in the years since? What special memories do you have of this section of Troostwood?

What questions do you have about it?

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.

Photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections. 

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  1. celeste cody gogel says:

    I remember this area well. We moved to 5012 Forest in 1948. The drugstore at the time was called Polsky’s and there was a soda fountain with stools that swiveled and a gum ball machine in then corner that we used to try and get the charms out of to trade. The gum machine had yellow and red stripped balls that were worth a nickle that you could redeem for some candy. Just to the north was the grocery store where there was the butcher that would cut meat for you. We used to take pop bottles that we would find and redeem them for 2 cents each and then would buy ice cream with the money, fudge, dream and pop sickles. My mother would send me with a wagon, list and money to buy groceries and if I didn’t have enough money with me they would just put your name on list and you could pay when you came in the next time. The garage that was just to the East of the drug store had a jeep that belonged to one of the workers and we would sit in it and push the choke button to make it jump. We would also try and rollerskate through the garage as there was an exit that went out to Troost avenue. The floor in the garage was very slick and we would just fly through the garage. We would also try and climb on the roof as you could easily get on the roof from the back yards on Forest. We would look for shinny rocks that were on the tar roof but the men in the garage would hear us and would chase us away. Several of the apartments were owned or rented out by Rockhurst College in those days, for some of the faculty to live in. I believe that our house on Forest is the one that is 17-30-21

  2. Jim Byler says:

    What years was the pharmacy called Polsky’s and was that the family name of the owner(s)?

  3. Richard Hart says:

    The pharmacy was owned by Morris Polsky, a pharmacist, and I believe it had just two employees. It was called Troostwood as long as I can remember. It was very small compared to modern drugstores, perhaps 1,000 sq. ft. But it seemed to have whatever most people needed, including liquor, tobacco, film processing, food, soda fountain, and medicines. I went there many times as a child in the 1960’s with my father, who was a friend of Morris and his wife, Tudie. I believe it closed by the mid to late1970’s as the area became quite run-down by then. I think he then worked for a while for a store in Raytown, called Sam’s (no relation to WalMart) before he retired completely and passed away in the 1980’s.

  4. Vicki Smith Kistler says:

    Oh my yes! Polsky’s! We lived at 5025 Forest in the 50s. Polsky’s were such nice people and it was always fun to go there. Besides going there, my brother, sister and I would go play in what we called “the woods” which ran along between the houses on Forest and the apartments in Troost. As an adult, doesn’t seem like much of a Forest, but as a little kid it seemed huge. Great memories!

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