Westwood Park Block Attracted Families in Early 1920s

This area of the Westwood Park neighborhood was slow to develop after 1913 – until J.C. Nichols took over the marketing. Then the lots sold quickly and the block, from 50th to West 50th Terrace between Wyoming to Westwood Terrace, filled in with solid middle class homes.

A recent aerial photo of the block shows the homes that were built between 1920 and 1930.

Doctors, dentists and lawyers were among the first residents of the Westwood Park block from 50th to West 50th Terrace between Wyoming and Westwood Terrace. They settled in the neighborhood next to salesmen, bank presidents and undertakers in the 1920s as the development of Midtown moved south.

The block is part of what is known today as the Westport Park neighborhood. According to LaDene Morton‘s book The Country Club District, Westwood Park was platted in 1913. As other parts of the Country Club district were attracting new residents, Westwood Park lagged behind. But in 1921, the Nichols Company bought the subdivision from developer L.R. Wright, and sales shot up. In fact, Nichols’ sales in the first year exceed Wrights’ sales in the previous eight.

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. Today, the Westwood Park block from 50th to West 50th Terrace between Wyoming to Westwood Terrace. Unfortunately, the 1940 photos of this block are not available.

This 1907 Tuttle & Pike map shows the area surrounding today’s block. The block as it stands today is overlaid in light yellow. In 1907, Wyoming, West Terrace and West 50thTerrace had not yet been built. There were no homes on the block that year. L.R. Wright owned half of the land, and E.M. Allen owned the other half.

Homes began to fill the block in the following decade. The 1930 census records show the residences filled with well-off families with an average of one or two children. Only one family of the block still had a live-in servant.

  • 1440 W. 50thTerrace: Alonzo Little, 51, physician; wife Minnie, 49; son Munson W.
  • 1426 W. 50thTerrace:Ralph B. Innis, 36, insurance company counselor; wife Viola, 34; son Ralph, Jr., 12.
  • 1424 W. 50thTerrace: James B. Cudlip, 36, lino salesman; wife Estelle, 32; son J. Robert, 16; daughter Mary Jean, 3.
  • 1416 W. 50thTerrace: Egbert B. Sanders, 35, advertising salesman; wife Virginia, 34; daughter Virginia, 10; daughter Marjorie, 5; lodger Otho Duncan, 25, dentist; lodger James M. Schull, 25, dentist.
  • 1412 W. 50thTerrace: Allen Compton, 30, (illegible) producer; wife Helen, 25; daughter Jo Ann, 1.
  • 1408 W. 50thTerrace: Charles E. McArthur, 32, president of investment bank; wife Ernestine, 32; son Charles E. Jr., 3; servant Mollie Nielson, 34.
  • 1406 W. 50thTerrace:  James E. Eldridge, 55, general builder; wife Addie, 54; daughter Josephine, 26; son James, 24.
  • 1400 W. 50thTerrace:  Elmer B. Silvers, 45, attorney; wife Esther, 46; daughter Jean, 19; daughter Gertrude, 7.
  • 1401 W. 50thStreet: Joseph H. Wittemann, 56, tent manufacturer; wife Helen, 44; son Joseph H., 16; daughter Dorothy, 12; son Richard, 11.
  • 1403 W. 50thStreet: Lena K. Martin, 58; mother-in-law Frederica Martin, 81.
  • 1407 W. 50thStreet: Caleb K. Leedy, 34, attorneywife Agnes H., 33; son William, 1.
  • 1411 W. 50thStreet: Doswell Jones, 51, assistant manager of soap manufacturer; wife Melva, 49; son Chapman, 11.
  • 1415 W. 50thStreet: Morton Holmes, 38, dentist; wife Catherine, 34; daughter Joyce, 11; son Horton, Jr., 6; son Eugene, 2.
  • 1417 W. 50thStreet: Ira E. Gaskill, 43, lease company proprietor; wife Harris, 40; son John, 11; son David, 7; daughter Rosanna, 3; son Robert, 1.
  • 1419 W. 50thStreet: Elizabeth Corusife, 62.
  • 1423 W. 50thStreet: Robert L. Rickettes, 41, bank cashier; wife Helen, 37; sister-in-law Carrie Hammond, hospital office stenographer, 23.
  • 1431 W. 50thStreet: Edward J. Newcomber, 47, undertaker; wife Stella, 45; son Joseph, 22, factory bookkeeper; daughter Virginia, 20; son Walter, 18; son Richard, 17

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 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. 


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