Troost Avenue Map and Photo Analysis: 31st to 34th

From millionaire homes in the late 19th century to emptiness and murals depicting what once was in the beginning of the 21st century. The four block stretch from 31st to 34th started off as an escape from city life, as described by Webster Withers. Along with his neighbor L.V. Harkness, possibly one of the wealthiest men to live in Kansas City. Due to the growth of the city’s population and the ever-expanding core, other not so wealthy residents moved out, including to 31/34. As the population increased so did its market, seen in the expansion of the city’s streetcar lines out to 33rd and Troost by 1889. Many businessmen saw the economic potential in this area and quickly invested. This led to the Wirthman Building, a Woolworth Five-and-Dime, the Firestone Building, and many others until 33rd when you could find mainly residential buildings along Troost. The landscape stayed virtually unchanged until the late 1960’s when the area saw a racial mixup and the population went from exclusively white to many whites leaving and a newfound majority of blacks by 1970. Crime and poverty rates ran throughout the 31/34 section from then on leading to the vacancy and sometimes even demolition of historic buildings. In 2017, this section of Troost is inhabited by people who look to live and do the best with what they have. They are strong, resilient, and see change as just a test to their strength. These four blocks have seen the wealthiest and poorest of Kansas City, and throughout the years the physical landscape has changed drastically, but one thing has remained the same, they have all chased their own dreams.

Civil Rights Mural by Alexander Nation. Linwood Boulevard and Troost Avenue

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