South Hyde Park block once had a grocery store

In 1913, the five neighbors along this stretch of Kenwood from 41st street south made a big splash in the early summer. Mrs. C.M. Reiter began by planting pink Dorothy Perkins roses. The next year, her four neighbors did the same. By the second year, a solid wall of the pink roses bloomed along the walls facing Gillham Park. The other residents included the families of James S. Wood, Guy Wasson, Harry W. Leahy, William T. Cleary and Frederick G. Hart. Recent photo (minus the roses) from Google Maps.

The block of South Hyde Park bounded by Holmes, Kenwood, 41st and 42nd is now composed of mostly single-family bungalows. But from the 1920s to the 1940s, the block also held a grocery store and was home to the Meiners grocery family. Census records illustrate how the block began to fill in during the early 1900s with families headed by salesman, bookkeepers and railroad workers.

A 1909-1950 Sanborn map of the block.

The area surrounding this block was known as Sunny Slope (40th to 45th and Troost and Holmes), which was a subdivision annexed into Kansas City in 1897. Early mentions of houses on the block included 4101 Kenwood in 1904 and 4100 Holmes in 1908. By 1910, other newly-completed homes were being offered either for sale or rent, with newspaper ads pointing out the proximity of Gillham Park and later Westport High School, which opened in 1907.

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. Unfortunately, the 1940s for this block are not available, but other history can be gathered from newspaper articles and old census records.

 Although nearby Main Street and Troost Avenue were evolving into commercial corridors, this block was lucky enough to have its own grocery store from the 1920s to 1940s. Meiners Brothers sat among the homes at 4108 Holmes. The Meiner family was well-known in the grocery business from 1888 until around 2003. And the 1930 census shows Herman Meiners living just behind the grocery at 4109 Kenwood with his wife, two sons and a servant.

The residents of the block were a mixture of native-born and immigrant families. In 1935, Bernard Cooney of Great Britain, living at 4100 Holmes, was among forty seven foreign-born Kansas City  men and women who became citizens. (They were from Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Jugo Slavia, Greece, Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Czecho-Slovania, Belgium, Syria, Austria and Denmark.)

The census records from 1910 gives a glimpse into life that decade:

  • 4104 Holmes: William M. Smith, a tinner with his own shop, lived here. He was an Irish immigrant with two daughters, Mabel and Hazel, both born in the United States to a Canadian mother.
  • 4110 Holmes: Above the storefront lived England-born grocer Arthur Martin.
  • 4122 Holmes: Divorced laundress Maggie Abbott, born in Missouri, shared this home with three sons, Oscar, William and Eugene, and a boarder named Marion Goins, a cook in a local restaurant.
  • 4126 Holmes: This family included hat works manager Arthur Bishop and his wife Zoe, both born to parents from the United States.
  • 620 E. 42nd: Joseph T. Hopson, a house wiring electrician, lived here with his wife Emma.
  • 618 E. 42nd: Electric company inspector James Morrison shared this home with his wife Lula.
  • 616 E. 42nd: This home was occupied by Hal Clark, a cigar company salesman, his wife Leafy, daughter Marguerite, and brother-in-law Hurley Begun, a newspaper carrier.
  • 614 E. 42nd: Life insurance salesman Horatio T. Cravens lived here with his wife Anna and daughter Leda.
  • 612 E. 42nd: Elmer Erwin, a brokerage company shipping clerk, shared this home with his wife Mary.
  • 610 E. 42nd: Odd job laborer Elbert Cleveland, wife Nellie and son Earl lived here.
  • 4141 Kenwood: Widow Carrie Knox lived here.
  • 4111 Kenwood: Railway mail carrier William Cleary headed the family at this home, which also included wife Clara and two daughters, Mary and Ruth.
  • 4109 Kenwood: Newton B. Ford, who listed his occupation as a hardware commercial traveler, shared this home with his wife Martha and step-daughter Rosemary Ford.
  • 4107 Kenwood: Wholesale hardware bookkeeper Guy Wasson lived here with his wife Minnie; father-in-law and mother-in-law Mary and WIlliam McIntyre;  brother-in-law Harry McIntyre, a wholesale hardware clerk;  and a boarder, Harry Bryant, a hardware industry office boy.
  • 4105 Kenwood: Joseph H. Crawford, a bookkeeper in the city auditor’s office, shared this home with his wife Helen, sister-in-law Elizabeth Sheriff and niece Anne.

By 1930, when the census was again recorded,  the block had seen some changes. More houses had been built and many more residents called it home.

  • A recent aerial view of the block.

    4100 Holmes: Irish immigrant Margaret and Bernard Cooney lived here.

  • 4104 Holmes: This was the residence of electric refrigerator salesman Randall Phillips, wife and saleslady Caroline and nephew John, a paper machine engineer.
  • 4114 Holmes: Nettie Ryder, who worked as a seamstress in a private residence, lived here with her daughter Marion.
  • 4116 Holmes: Mail carrier Charles Pries owned this home, shared with wife Lena.
  • 4118 Holmes: Grover Pair was an insurance salesman who lived here with his sister, Laura May.
  • 4120 Holmes: Car salesman Paul Eich lived here with wife Emma and son Paul.
  • 4126 Holmes: Harry Overstreet, a self-employed painter, shared this home with his wife Agnes and daughters Mary and Agnes.
  • 4128 Holmes: Chauffeur William Keleher owned this home, also occupied by his wife Hazel and son Billy.
  • 4130 Holmes: 

    Mary Jane Wasson, 25, lived on the block in 1925. She died on her way home from a Panama cruise vacation when her sister-in-law’s car plunged down an embankment near Marshall, Mo.

    This home was owned by German immigrant and painter Louis Klee and his French-immigrant wife Josephine. They rented a space to airplane factory welder Fred Stevenson, wife Francis and daughter Hornibrook, and another to city ice engineer Daniel Woodward, wife Doris and son James.

  • 4132 Holmes: Orville Snyder, a laundry treasurer, lived here with wife Louis and daughter Shirley.
  • 4136 Holmes: This home was owned by insurance supervisor Allison Farmer and wife Helen.
  • 4140 Holmes: This home, a $40 a month rental, was occupied by drug store clerk Richard Garrett, wife Tessie, and sons Robert, Richard and Edward. Decorator Ira Clopton also rented a $35 a month space at this address.
  • 618 E. 42nd: Electrician Joseph Hopson owned this home valued at $3,500 with his wife Emma. The Alexander family, headed by oil engineer Joseph, and including wife Agnes and daughters Helen, Josephine, and Frances, rented space for $25 a month.
  • 616 E. 42nd: Seamstress Elizabeth Head owned this $3,000 home, sharing it with roomers Jennie Harding and Charles Harding.
  • 614 E. 42nd: Horatio Craven, an insurance salesman, lived here with wife Anna.
  • 612 E. 42nd: Electrician Thomas Erwin lived here with wife Mary, a stenographer.
  • 4147 Kenwood: This home was rented for $42.50 a month by Paul Wilcox, a public school teacher, wife Margaret and daughter Margaret.
  • 4145 Kenwood: Widow Emma Forgy owned this $5,000 home, where she lived alone.
  • 4143 Kenwood: Eldon Shrontz, a printer, owned this home along with wife Pearl, son Eldon and daughter Helen.
  • 4141 Kenwood: A public school bus driver, John Dehaven, owned this $6,000 home, shared with his wife Mabel and son John.
  • 4137 Kenwood: This home was owned by the Fuller family, headed by Paul, a car salesman, along with wife Mary and sons Paul and Stephen.
  • 4135 Kenwood: Valued at $7,500, this residence was home to John C. Kelley, a carpenter, his wife Mary and daughter Mary Helen.
  • 4127 Kenwood: Albert Schubert, a railway postal clerk, told the census bureau his home was worth $10,000. He lived with his wife Jane, son Albert and daughter Dorothy, as well as roomers Walter Graves, Margaret McCaskey and Charles Baysinger.
  • 4125 Kenwood: This $12,000 home was owned by 28-year-old widow Irene Coughlin. She had eight roomers: railroad car inspector Ralph Marshall; Merle and  Marjorie Michener; furrier Gaylord and Hazel Sietz; telephone foreman Walter and Lillian Daniels; and Hilda Halls, a dressmaker to a private family.
  • 4123 Kenwood: Bank vice president Merritt Jeffries owned this $7,500 home, living with his wife Mary and son Robert.
  • 4121 Kenwood: This rental was occupied in 1930 by Clarence Walker, a steel company representative, with his wife Charlotte, daughters Mary, Margaret and Virginia and sons George and Clarence Junior. The older children worked as a stenographer, in a doctor’s office and as an auto company bookkeeper.
  • 4119 Kenwood: Steel salesman James Shepard owned this $7,500 home with his wife Margaret, daughter Betty and son James.
  • 4109 Kenwood: Grocery store owner Herman Meiners owned this $4,000 home, shared with wife Josephine, sons Herman Junior and John, and a servant named Ida Hudson.
  • 4107 Kenwood: This was the residence of railway conductor James Kirkpatrick, his wife Agnes and niece Pauline Armstrong.
  • 4105 Kenwood: The assistant manager of a lumber company, Walter Blaker, rented this home with his wife Velma and daughter Patricia.
  • 4101 Kenwood: Realtor Frank Osborn and wife Jennie owned this $10,000 home.

 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.

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

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