Wanna Go for a Walk?

Today marks the 100th anniversary of a little-known but fascinating tidbit of Kansas City history.  At 6:00 on the evening of July 8, 1913, Gustave Kuhn (“Gus”), his wife Irene, their 5-year-old daughter Ruth, and Morris and Myrtle Paul started a hike from Kansas City to San Francisco.  According to Mrs. Paul, who wrote the Diary of the Kansas City Hikers, “the principal object of the walk being for health and pleasure, although a pecuniary consideration was involved”.  It was 101 degrees in Kansas City the day the left, though a late afternoon rainstorm helped to cool the air somewhat.  Gathering and packing their camping and other equipment onto a horse-drawn wagon near the intersection of Independence and Park Avenues, the “official” starting place was the federal courthouse at 8th and Grand.  From there they walked to 59th and Wornall, where they broke camp for the first time.  The entire trip covered a distance of 2,384 miles, and it took 227 days.  As might be expected, along the way they had an array of adventures, met all kinds of supporters, and received an abundance of press coverage of their exploits.  They reached San Francisco at 3:30 p.m. on February 19, 1914.  Here’s the cover of the diary that was published that same year:

Hikers diary

Cover of the Hikers diary, published in 1914.

This is an image of the troupe on the day their hike was launched, taken at what we believe to be Independence and Park Avenues:


The Kansas City Hikers on July 8, 1913.