The residences on the block from 38th to 39th between Main and Baltimore

A president once slept on this block of Baltimore between 38th and 39th. Warren G. Harding stopped over while campaigning for the high office, spending the night with the Reily family in 1920.

The block between 38th and 39th between Main and Baltimore was a key location, in part because of Main Street’s importance as a commercial corridor and also because of the easy access to streetcar lines on both Main and 39th.

Development began in 1901, when savvy businesswoman Barbara Bescher bought a lot at the corner of 39th and Main which she sold in 1924 for 20 times what she paid for it two decades earlier. In those intervening years, Main Street transformed into a bustling commercial corridor of movie theaters, restaurants and automotive garages.

Along 38th, 39th and Baltimore, a few single family homes were mixed in with small apartment buildings. While some of these structures remain, several were torn down to make room for parking lots in the 20th century.

A recent view of the block.

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. (Many people seem confused by the tax assessment photos, which all include a man holding a sign. Here’s the story behind them). This week, we continue to document what is known about the block between 38th and 39th, from Main to Baltimore. Previous posts have covered the southwest corner of 39th and Main and Main Street from 38th to 39th. Today, Baltimore, 38th and 39th Streets.

Several single family residences, some later broken up into apartments, stood at the north end of Baltimore (seen below as they looked in 1940). Residents have moved in and out of these homes since the early 1900s leaving little recorded history except for this – in 1920, when Senator Warren G. Harding was the Republican candidate for president, he stayed at 3815 Baltimore (on the right) with the Reily family when he came to Kansas City.

Homes at the north end of Baltimore as they looked in 1940.

The slideshow below shows the rest of the residential units on 39th, 38th and Baltimore from the 1940 photo collection.

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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. 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. If you’d like to order the book, email Mary Jo Draper at 

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