North Hyde Park block drew early prominent families

The home at 3310 Harrison was known as “the Old Barton Home” in the early years of Midtown development. This photo dates from around 1900, when William Barton, president of the Barton Hat Company, lived here. The home became a sanitarium in the 1920s and by 1933, like many of the larger Midtown homes, it had been converted to a rooming house with kitchenette units. Today, the home has been restored to a single family dwelling. Courtesy Ron Briscoe and Lisa Lassman Briscoe.
An 1891 map of the block.

On a North Hyde Park block where a large steel tank once drew patients to a groundbreaking sanitarium, captains of Kansas City industry built their homes in the waning years of the 1800s. New homes, both rental and owner-occupied, filled in the block during the early 1900s. The large homes housed extended families and their servants in the early years, and by the 1930s were being converted to boarding houses.

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).  Last week, we took an in-depth look at 3310 Harrison, where a steel tank used for health treatments.   In this post, details about the history of the rest of the block from 33rd to 34th between Campbell and Harrison.

Early residents of this Hyde Park block

William Barton.

The Highgate subdivision was platted in 1888 and the earliest homes on the block were built on Harrison Street a few years later. Perhaps the best known early resident was William Barton, who lived at 3310 Harrison. Barton’s family founded the Barton Brothers Shoe Company, one of the largest shoe factories in the Midwest, which operated at Eighth and Washington downtown until the Bartons sold it to a St. Louis firm in 1913. Barton is listed as the president of the Barton Hat Company in his 1917 obituary.

Fannie Barton, William’s wife, was the daughter of John W. Waddell, member of the firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell, who in 1850 established the first freighting company over the Santa Fe Trail and founded the pony express.

Fannie Barton.

The Bartons had an active social life in Kansas City society. The home was the site of large dance parties and meetings of various clubs. William was head of the Commercial Club from 1897-98 and was later appointed to the Park Board to replace S. B. Armour. Mrs. Barton was active in Women’s City Club, Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of 1812.

The 1900 census shows William and Fannie living at 3310 Harrison with two daughters, a son and servants Louise Lyle, Mary Anderson and Burns Wilson.

Neighbors on the block that century included: at 3328 Harrison, Edward H. Morgan, 45, a jewelry broker, wife Alice J., a son, a daughter and a nephew and two Swedish servants, Annie Anderson and Mena Lingren; and at 3315 Campbell, Jacob Bayse, 59, no occupation listed, wife Mattie, two daughters, three sons, two nephews and a servant named Minnie Brown.

More homes fill the block before 1910

As rapid growth in Midtown continued, new homes were added. Construction after 1900 was mainly in the Kansas City Shirtwaist style, and a number of the homes were rented rather than owned by the families that occupied them. Most of the residents of the block were families with several children.   Several had servants who were immigrants or American-born white or black workers.

By 1910, when census workers returned, William and Fannie Barton were still living at 3310 Harrison with their three children as well as a white housekeeper Davie Davis, a mulatto chauffeur Mathew Barbee, a black coachman Henry Brown and a white cook Dora Faley. The Morgans were still there with their children and maid Annie Anderson.

A 1909-1950 Sanborn map of the block.

Others on the block included:

  • Mary Piper, 66, widow of Colonel James Piper, with Swedish cook Anna Helberg and boarder Ruth Helberg.
  • Mary Askew, widow, and her maid, Olive Sperry, plus two boarders, John Rowland, a real estate man and George Grissom, a packing house accountant.
  • James Brady, 36, a real estate man, and his wife Minnie.
  • Louis Meyer, 51, a wholesale grocery merchant, his wife Friederika, a daughter and a son, maid Rose B. Stuermer and cook Clorinda Dovian.
  • John T. Stone, 57, a hardware merchant, and his wife Estelle, two sons, a daughter and a daughter-in-law.
  • Charles Potts, 35, a real estate business owner, his wife Maude, a daughter and a son.
  • Scotty Bledsoe, 48, a real estate business owner, his wife Etta and a step-son named Walter Seaman, a real estate bookkeeper.
  • F. Lyons, 46, an ice manufacturer, his wife Anna, a sister-in-law named Jennie Lee Holmes, a white maid Anna Samsaw and a mulatto coachman James W. Clouden.
  • Lawyer Francis Hayward, 54, his wife Kate, a son and a daughter.
  • Fire insurance agent Willis Creighton Tabb, wife Abbie, a daughter and two sons and a black servant Maggie Walters.
  • Grain broker Edward S. Jones, 48, his wife Caroline, three daughters, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.
  • Real estate business owner Lucian Morrison, wife Mary, a son and black servant Lucy Browning.
  • Railroad manager Charles T. Neal, 48, wife Dus, a daughter and two sons.
  • Bell Telephone Company general superintendent William Johnson Jr., 47, wife Amelia and two daughters.
  • Government contractor John W. O’Rourke, 48, wife Josephine, a son and three daughters.

In the 1920s, the Cunningham Sanitarium had moved into 3310 Harrison, offering hope to people with some diseases but garnering complaints from surrounding property owners. Census records show households with fewer family members and servants, but it was becoming common for the large homes to include several boarders. Lelia Gilliam, 40 and single, owned a boarding house at 3325 Campbell that included 10 boarders and two black servants, James and Stella Trice.  In the 1930s, 3310 Harrison and other homes on the block ahd been converted into kitchenette apartment residences.

Apartment buildings were also squeezed into the north end of the block where there had been vacant property.

The photos below show the homes and apartments on the block as they looked in 1940.

Historic photos courtesy Kansas City Public Library/Missouri Valley Special Collections.


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