On Southmoreland’s Oak Street, grocers, railroad men, salesmen raised their families

Families moved into homes on the 4100 block of Oak beginning in the late 1800s and the area blossomed in the early 1900s.

A 1909-1950 Sanborn map of the block. Note that Oak and McGee run north to south so the map is flipped on its side.

A well-known spiritualist, a pioneering druggist and a grocer were among the early residents of the 4100 block of Oak Street in the Southmoreland neighborhood. Records indicate the home at 4120 Oak was for rent as early as 1894 by the Whipple Loan and Trust Company. By the 1900 census, grocer William Crute and his wife had moved into that home, and they had a handful of neighbors on the block. By 1910, the block had filled in with even more homes rented or owned by families headed by salesmen, railroad workers and business owners.

In those early years, children from the neighborhood attended the Rollins School and Westport High School. Some families had servants, either black or white, in the 1900s but family servants had all but disappeared by 1920. It remained common, as it did across Midtown, for families to taken in boarders in their homes. Most of the residents of this area had been born in the United States, although there were a handful of immigrants from countries such as Germany or Switzerland.

One of the more interesting residents may have been Spiritualist Jennie Cathcard, who was so well known in Kansas City that, in 1940, the Kansas City Star asked her to predict the outcome of the war. Mrs. Cathcard was associated with the Second Psychic Science Church in the late 1930s and also offered daily readings. She lived at 4154 Oak.

A recent post documented the railroad engineers, carpenters and schoolteachers lived on the north side of the 4100 block of McGee in the early 1900s. Today, a look at the rest of the block including Oak Street and the commercial buildings at the corner of 43rdand Oak.

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).  Today, the 4100 block of Oak Street and the corner of 43rdand Oak in the Southmoreland neighborhood.

Here is the story census and newspaper records tell of the early years of the block:

(Note on the census records: The census records can be flawed because of their reliance on the interpretation of handwriting. It is not uncommon for names or addresses to be incorrectly listed, so the records should be viewed as providing a general idea of the makeup of the block.)

The slideshow below shows the structures on the block as they looked in 1940.

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in 1940, a local newspaper went to spiritualist Jennie Cathcard for her predictions on the war.

4100 Oak: In 1900, census records show Daniel Clawges,32, a superintendent/carrier at the post office, living with his wife Jessie and mother-in-law Jessie Smith. By 1905, grain and seed wholesale manager Perry C. Harper, 55, his wife Emma, a son, a mother-in-law and a white servant named Anna Hamish had moved in. Two families are listed at this address in the 1920 census: Railroad electrician Ralph Weaver, 42, his wife Olive and a daughter; and retired J.F. Oldham, 72 and his wife Jane, who was born in Ireland.

4104 Oak: Most of the early residents of the block had been born in the United States. But in 1930,stone company manager T.J. Atzenweeler, 29, born in Switzerland, and his wife Ethel, occupied this home.

4106 Oak: In 1920,this was home to widow Lucinda Wray, 71; daughter Ruth, a telephone company clerk; daughter Orpha Abshier, a widow and varnish company stenographer; and boarder George Powell, a bank teller.

4108 Oak: The first record of someone at this address was in 1900, when lawyer Jeremia McCue, 56, his wife Julia and a step-daughter lived here. By 1910, grocery store salesman Roy McCardell, 31, his wife Nora, a daughter and a son had taken up residence. Bank bookkeeper Lucy (?) Robison, 42, and wife Lela and another family, railroad company flagman Marion Jones, 62, and wife Cora, lived here in 1920.

4112 Oak: The 1910 census lists packing house purchasing agent Robert E. Barry, 33, his wife Louise and two sons. By 1920, they had been replaced by automobile company clerk William T. Fitten, 30, his wife Mary, two sons and a daughter.

4114 Oak: In 1910, German immigrant and commercial agent Mayar Stern and wife Bona lived here.

4116 Oak: The 1900 census shows John F. Richards, 40, clerk at a dress tailor shop, wife Louis and a daughter living here with a black servant named Walter Haney. By 1910, residents were street railway chief clerk of auditor Corbubins F. Cole, 36, his wife Ellen and a sister-in-law.

4120 Oak: An 1894 newspaper ad offered this eight-room brick home for rent by Whipple Loan and Trust Company.  In the 1900 census, grocer William J. Crute, 29, and his wife Grace had moved in. They were replaced before 1910 by commercial salesman Louis Katzenstein, son of German parents, his wife Bertha, also of German parents, and a daughter born in Kansas. Mrs. Maude Carson, daughter of Thomas P. Morris, one of the early settlers of Westport, lived here in 1931. Thomas lived at 4131 Oak.

4122 Oak: In 1910, grocery company salesman Howard Roberts, 40, and his wife Marie, lived here. By 1920, German immigrant and butcher Ernest Johanning, 32, his wife Mary and two sons, had moved in.

4124 Oak:An early record from 1898 shows James H. Hancock, who worked for a jeweler, living here. The 1910 census lists dentist Miller W. Rice, 29, his wife Alma and a son. In 1920,  brick company bookkeeper William A. Noll, 25, his wife Edna and a son, called this home.

4126 Oak: The 1900 census lists Fredus N. Peters, a schoolteacher, age 35, his wife Margaret and a son at this address.

4128 Oak: The 1900 census also lists a Fredus E. Peters, 70, next door to the younger Peters.  He shared his home with his wife Louise, two daughters, and two boarders, Ethelbert W. King, a bricklayer and William P. Ives, a capitalist. By 1910, coal and coke company manager George P. Waring, 35, his wife Mamie and his mother-in-law, had moved in. They stated on through 1965 when George Waring died at age 92. After he retired from coal and coke company, Waring became a guard at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

4130 Oak: In 1920, stock salesman Lee S. Thompson, 25, his wife Opal and a son lived here.

 4132 Oak: Groceryman Kennedy B. Russell, 64, his wife Lucy and two sons were listed at this address in the 1910 census. They were replaced in 1920 by motor car salesman Loyd Gates, 38, his wife Mary and three sons.

4136 Oak: Cigar company salesman Robert O. Price, his wife Mollie and a son, plus a boarder, Winfield S. Woodlief, lived here in 1906 and were listed in the 1910 census. Price became proprietor of his own store and the family stayed on through at least 1925.

4140 Oak: The 1910 census lists oil company salesman Charles H. Biggs, 45, wife Effie, mother-in-law, and a boarder, John M. Moss. Commercial artist Jay Griff, 39, his wife Harriet, a son and a daughter, and a boarder named Arthur Schofield, a chauffeur for a private family, lived here in 1920.

4142 Oak: Sometime before 1910, lawyer Jeremiah D. McCue, 67, his wife Julia and a boarder, Louise C. Robb, moved in here. The 1920 census lists steam pipe contractor Joseph Toner, 53, his wife Cora and a daughter;  also implement company manager Dewey Moriearty, 20, and his wife Claire

4148 Oak: A 1908 records shows this as the address of A.J. Campbell, a masonry contractor. By 1910, the residents were Miller Albert Hildebrant, 60, his wife Margarita, two daughters, a son, a son-in-law and a granddaughter. The 1920 census lists widow I.R. Gicten and daughter Fleda.

 4150 Oak: In 1910, lawyer William F. Allen, 42, his wife Ada, a daughter and his grandmother lived here. In 1920, the census lists sporting good company worker Charles Kreutorer, 69, and his wife Epatha.

4156 Oak: The 1910 census lists widow Amanda Killgore, 57, a daughter and two sons at this address. By 1922, William B. Mumford, pioneer Kansas City druggist, had moved in with his family. Mumford established the first drug store in Kansas City, Kansas in 1877 and he was active in that town’s civic life. According to his obituary, “He is credited with having put the first flagstone in that town and having pumped in the first city water. He was twice a candidate for mayor in that city.”  He moved his drug store to Kansas City, Missouri in 1882 and opened a store at 4156 Oak in 1908. His wife was society editor of the Kansas City Times, Mattie Anderson. The address is listed as a grocery store in 1929. After it went bankrupt, records show Jennie Cathcard, the spiritualist mentioned above, at this address.

4158 Oak: This was the 1910 home of manufacturing company president Horatio N. Straight, 42, his wife Catherine, a son and a daughter, and a black servant named Cornelia Holcomb.

4160 Oak: The 1920 census lists real estate dealer W.M. Henson, 62, his wife Cora, two daughters and a son at this address


Businesses at 306-328 E. 43rd:

  • 1922 Piggly Wiggly
  • 1928 Grocery store
  • 1931 Crown Drug Company
  • 1934 The Dells “Kansas City’s finest south side club” chicken and steak dinners fifty cents
  • 1934 Beauty salon
  • 1943 Rockhill Grill
  • 1953-4 Church of Grace
  • 1955 Thermiquetron Hair Removal Clinic
  • 1956-7 Dry cleaner
  • 1963 School of Dance
  • 1968 Princess Uniform company
  • 1974 Art Gallery
  • 1980 Hair salon
  • 1980 The Objects shop  art gallery
  • 1981 43rdStreet Gallery

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

 Do you have memories or more details about this area of Midtown? Please share them with our readers. Would you like us to focus on your block next week? Send us an email.

 The book, Kansas City’s Historic Midtown Neighborhoods, is available now at local bookstores and on Amazon.com. 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. 


  1. Erika says:

    Love this! I was hoping for a follow up post regarding McGee, specifically 4134! Is there a post about that side of the block published? Thank you!

  2. Matt says:

    This is great! Thanks for doing this research. My home is at 4115 Oak. When I bought my home I asked a friend in the title business to find the original title. She found two handwritten title documents.

    One title was from 1888 for the sale of several pieces (including my lot) of land to James Morrison. The sellers were Erastus and Anna Brown. The price was $47,700. I assume James Morrison was a builder.

    The second title was written in 1890 for the single lot (4115). It was sold to Charles and Elizabeth Douglas for $3000. The seller was William Brown and his wife. I’m not able to read her name.

    I would be happy to share these photocopied documents, and I would be interested in knowing more about any of the parties listed on the titles.


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