Monthly Archives: September 2018

McGee and Locust

When looking at the blocks between McGee and Locust along Armour Boulevard and 36th Street, you see that today it is a busy but quiet part of the city. The blocks are lined with houses and apartment buildings for the most part, but are also home to a school, health facility, a coffee shop, and a few other businesses. This was not what the blocks would have looked like over a hundred years ago though. When looking back in 1895, this area was only used for housing purposes but over the years other establishments have came and gone. Most of these blocks are located in the historic Hyde Park area along Gillham Road, so there is also some history that comes with the area. 

Between Denver and Hanesty

The urban sprawl has expanded out to where it does connect to the block, but it hasn’t really been overwhelmed yet. It’s at the end of 35th street, and unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot there in terms of development. Cool church though. Also anytime I try to rotate the photo, my computer locks up, I do apologize.

Norton to Spruce

Norton, Jackson, and Spruce Avenue are located about 4 blocks east of current day Kansas City VA Medical Center. Just west of Norton Avenue, (between Norton and Mersington Avenue) there is a space, larger than the spaces between the other blocks, of almost solid trees. No development has ever been done in this space. Most of the space is used, and has always been used, as residential, with more and more single family homes being built over time. As more homes were built, a church and restaurant were also built 


Between Warwick Blvd. & Gillham Rd.

My blocks ran north and south of E. Armour Blvd. between Warwick Blvd. and Gillham Rd.; over 100 or so years, the area gradually transformed from sparse, empty space, to a bustling and over-crowded residential hub, to the minimal but larger-scale business area that rests there today. There are three constants in the area starting from roughly 1909: The Bellerive, Park Central, and Clyde Manor “Apartment-Hotels”. These three apartment buildings sit in a row north of E. Armour and still stand today, but the gaggle of houses that once took up the land behind them have long since been replaced by a massive parking lot for the buildings’ inhabitants.

(2018)(c. 1909)

Summit to Pennsylvania

   Tuttle, Ayers, Woodward Co. (1925). Atlas of Kansas City Missouri and Environs. Kansas City, MO

The two blocks located at this western tail-end of 35th St. used to be a quaint little neighborhood. The area erected a subdivision in the early 1900’s, a few apartment complexes were built around the twenties and a few more individual homes popped up throughout the years. The neighborhood developed rather quickly initially but over the years the development has regressed. In fact, roughly 40% of the initial development is now vacant land space. The blocks are located right between two busy thoroughfares, Broadway and South West Traffic Way. It serves as a decent shortcut between the major roads but they also appear forgotten or hidden. Four of the six apartment building are still in use today, serving mostly low-income families.

The Paseo and Wayne Ave

My assigned area was mostly residential. When putting together the according tracts, I noticed an extreme amount of development between the year 1895 and 1909. Between the year of 1950 to 2018, my area as a whole went through a destruction of many of its homes. This is something that was really interesting to me because when you compare these two Sanborn maps you can see how they appear very similar in terms of the amount of developed land and the amount of vacant land. Besides the residential homes, there was also a few apartment buildings. The architectural style of these buildings was that of a colonnade style. This is shown in the pictures below. The photo from the left was from the Kansas City 1940 Tax Assessment Photographs. The photo on the right was from google maps. We are able to see how the home that was located on the right of the apartment building from 1940 was destroyed since it is now present in the 2018 image.

35th Street between Prospect Ave and Olive Street

This area is located next to the highway. It includes four blocks and the most of these are houses. There still having an empty land which is opposite to the only gas station. The gas station is located on 3500 Prospect Ave and it’s on the corner of Prospect and 35th St between Prospect and Wabash. This area is a desert area. You can only find out the empty land and house right there. There is some picture of Prospect and Olive on 35th St.

Historical Map Analysis

The assigned area is located within the boundaries of the Palestine East Neighborhood based on data retrieved from Open Data KC. The Palestine East Neighborhood is described as far North as Linwood Blvd, East to Jackson Avenue, as far South as 39th St. and West to Cleveland Ave. The built environment within the assigned area consists primarily of single-family residential structures. There are no multi-family residential structures located within the assigned boundaries.

According to the City of Kansas City Parcel Viewer, most of the residential structures were built in the early 1920’s. The approximate building area of the residential dwellings inside the designated boundary range between 800 and 1100 square feet. Residential is the dominant land use type. The built residential structures are in close proximity of one another. Dwellings face 35th St. on the North and South side of the street and are set back providing frontage for green space. Most residential structures have green space in the rear of dwellings as a buffer between residential structures on side streets.

Social explorer revealed some statistical information. The designated area was in census track 57. Listed below are some the statistics retrieved from that source.

  • Population 1950: 3,935
  • Population 2016: 2,164
  • Owner occupied housing 1950: 1248/1261
  • Owner occupied housing 2016: 482/842
  • Race: 1950 – 100% Non-Black

2016 – 89% Black

In conclusion I did not find a lot of statistical information prior to the year 1960. The area upon observation is neighborhood oriented. The people I encountered during my walk through were friendly and helpful. In my opinion the area could use an alternate option for small food items, hot meals, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The roadways were well paved, and signage was visible on all side streets in the designated area. Due to low traffic both by pedestrian and vehicles the area was seemingly tranquil.

35th Street: Benton Blvd to Indiana Ave

Armour Boulevard runs east from Broadway Boulevard lined by old, stately apartment hotels to eventually become 35th Street at The Paseo where it then continues to run east to the city limits lined by ever younger single family homes. My assignment was to study a couple of the blocks along 35th St. between Benton Boulevard to Indiana Avenue. These blocks have seen a rise from undeveloped farm land to a strong and stable neighborhood, yet they have also seen a decline into a dis-invested and high crime state; a common tale of many neighborhoods across this city. These particular blocks of 35th Street are characterized by the early 1900s single family homes that line its streets. It is also characterized by a skeleton of what used to be a thriving neighborhood retail center at the intersection of Indiana Ave. and 35th St. As this area stands seemingly locked at a low point of decline, only one and a half miles west along the same stretch of road neighborhoods ache with the pains of “gentrification” while their nearby neighbors to the east ache with the pains of houses being shot up. An interesting and stark contrast to close on between these nearby eastern and western neighbors.

Brooklyn and Olive

With an area that showed no promise and not so much activity with only the learning center being major thing on my block. Their was some really interesting changes that occurred in the past. One of the changes that I found interesting is that where the learning center use to be there was only one large complex through out the time. Right across the street where a small parking lot was use to be a bus station and a cosmetic/drug store. The north side of Brooklyn street where their was two houses in very poor condition half of that block use to be one big green house and the other half use to be covered in houses.  Being able to go and check out my location and seeing how it went from not really having any activity to having a lot of activity happening in the past.

Wyandotte to Main

This block of Armour Boulevard was developed fairly early on.  Many apartment buildings and single-family homes that lined the streets from the early 1900s are still there today, as Mac Properties has bought most of the lots and has been working to restore them. While most structures have stayed the same, the large mansion on the corner of Armour and Main was demolished some time between 1925 and 1950, and the lot is now home to a large US Bank, and the large Colonnade building that boasted a big front lawn was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the American Red Cross building on the corner of Wyandotte and Armour. I’m sure as time goes on and these historic buildings continue to age, Armour Boulevard will change once again. 

Forest to Harrison

This stretch of Armour Boulevard between Forest Avenue and Harrison Boulevard appears mostly empty, but still feels lively. Everywhere you turn, there is a building or a lot that once contained a building, that was a source of hustle and bustle from the 1920s through  to the 1950s. During those years, the busy Troost Line streetcar was ridden every day, and many large brick and stone buildings stood as apartments or drugstores. Nearly all of them have been demolished and leave only their grassy footprint behind as a reminder. Mac Properties, The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority of Kansas City, or Armour and Troost LLC own most of the property in this two block stretch. Along the four corners facing inward toward Troost Avenue, plans have been made to erect large mixed use buildings in the future, which will contain about 300 apartment housing units and 25,000 square feet of retail space. Although this area looks empty, it is only sleeping for now! Stay tuned!

35th between Wayne and Woodland

This portion of 35th was quite modest. It began as a suburban real estate development in the late 1800s called Boston Heights, and steadily grew to house quite a few single family homes and a small amount of commercial sites by 1917. There was a large shift for higher density residential housing in the area as the size of the city grew. By 1925, six apartment buildings were built on an open parcel of land and several single family homes were replaced by two family flats.

The middle of the 20th century ushered in the rapid decline in density that is still seen in the area today. After spending some time on that street speaking with a resident of 35th, it seems that there’s progress being made in the area led by members of the community. I have a great deal of hope for them, and am interested in seeing what the future holds for the area.  

35th Street: Indiana Ave to Askew Ave

Between these two streets, there was not a lot of information left on them, even going so far as to not being on any Sanborn maps from 1909 or earlier, but from 1925 to 1957, Kansas City made developments in leaps and bounds. 35th Street was no exception as far as moving further along in the future goes. Based on the Sanborn maps from 1957, one can see that where there used to be the Gosnell Place, they put in a filling station, which was a major advancement for the neighborhood compared to the lack of resources and stores they had before. However, it doesn’t seem like the Sarah A. Bower place has changed at all, which is understandable in the era of 30-year mortgages and loans becoming normalized. Families were able to stay in one place for longer periods of time, thanks to having vehicles, public transportation, and higher paying jobs. These all led to an economy that could start regrowing and making these houses into homes for generations to come.

Between Campbell & Troost – Taylor C.

Below are three different figure ground diagrams I constructed based on maps from the years 1925, 1950, and today. One especially noteworthy thing that can be found in these is that of growth and decay.

In the early 1920s there was a swell of development, with the construction of the Bainbridge Apartments, Murray Apartments, and Central Presbyterian Church. Although the Murray Apartments were gone by 1950, the large silhouettes of the Bainbridge and Central Presbyterian are still found on the 2018 map.

Most commercial structures do not last to this day, and those that are still present at the intersection of Armour & Troost and due to make way for a $78 million investment from MAC Properties. The Chicago based Real-Estate firm wants to build up the corners of the intersection to house mixed-use space, which might provide a redemption for this area.

Optimistically, the area will have much more built space soon, but realistically, many of the gleaming buildings of the 1920s during this neighborhood’s height will never be rebuilt.

35th between Cyprus Ave and Chelsea Dr

The two blocks along 35th St. between Cypress Avenue and Chelsea Drive marked a fairly unremarkable and extremely underdeveloped portion of Kansas City, MO. The majority of the structures built along this stretch were mainly residential in nature excluding the one small Baptist Church and the parking lot for the VA hospital. The most interesting find that helped me to better understand how, why, and when this area developed was discovering that 35th St. between Cypress Avenue and Chelsea Drive  was not officially annexed into the Kansas City, MO city limits until 1909. Built structures weren’t substantial enough to document until well after these new city limits were drawn.

From Holmes Street to Campbell Street

          At first when the location was visited the buildings seemed to be old and thought to have been there for a long standing time. The traffic was swift, but steady, even the bike lanes were being put to use. It was a quaint area that was mainly surrounded by large building complexes.  But after some research of the maps below, many of the building weren’t there the entire time such as the building complex know as the Amour Flats was not built in 1909, but sometime between 1909 and 1925. And the other building was the biggest building that on the maps is an “H” it was just an empty lot until sometime after 1925. Even one of the older buildings was demolished and is now just an empty lot. After researching these maps, seeing the change of density of buildings is an amazing thing.



Broadway to Wyandotte

Over a course of a time Armour Boulevard has become a favorite road for me to travel.  Bicycle lanes have been put in on the inside of the streets closer to the curb to ensure safer passage for cyclist and perhaps the new bird scooters that have infested the streets of Kansas City.  The fact that a majority of properties have been preserved and saved from destruction is clear that there are is care for the streets.   The figure Ground illustrates below the changes that have taken place from the years 1950 to the present day of 2018.  Many of the buildings still exist with the charm and characteristics of when they were first built.

Hardesty and Oakley Ave

In the past he area between Oakley and Hardesty was very normal. Houses existed side by side. A small church existed and everything seemed fine for this little niche on Kansas City’s east side.  However, as years passed by most houses were demolished and very few replaced them. However they are bigger in size now. The church ” Thirty Fifth Street Baptist” was expanded to the west. This all happened as the population surrounding the church downsized.  Thirty Fifth Street was also cut off after Oakley to create a park off of Stadium Drive.

35th Street (Chestnut and Prospect Avenues)

The block I was assigned was between Chestnut and Prospect Avenues on 35th Street. This turned out to be a very interesting area to study because it was a combination of residential, commercial, and public real estate. After my visit I was surprised by how peaceful and serene this neighborhood was. There were people out shopping and just having a good time. It seemed like a nice place to live as there is a grocery store, small convenience stores, gas stations, and contemporary-style homes. I enjoyed being in a neighborhood with older homes and buildings because it gave me an appreciation for early 20th century American design.

35th and Euclid-Brooklyn Avenues Allison Harris

35th street 1909 map 35th Street in the Ivanhoe Northeast neighborhood bridges over a bustling highway before turning into a quiet community roadway, a street serving as the backdrop for my historical map and photo analysis research project. The blocks of Euclid Avenue, Garfield Avenue, and Brooklyn Avenue, on 35th St, underwent much change over about a century of development in Kansas City-beginning in the early 1900s as blocks with a house on every lot, and even a few commercial ventures on the corner of Brooklyn and 35th. Over time, a streetcar line was put up on Brooklyn Avenue in the early 1920s, connected to what was once a vast system of streetcars across the metro area. Soon enough though, the mainstream use and ownership of the automobile set in, and the streetcar down Brooklyn Avenue was swapped for a highway down what was once Michigan Avenue. Now, these blocks look much different and less picturesque than they once did on Sanborn Maps and the 1925 Atlas- nearly half the lots on these particular blocks sit empty, and the homes originally built in 1905 now are worn and old. The roadways and sidewalks of the neighborhood are in disarray and in need of repair. This section of 35th street has changed much over the years and growth of Kansas City.



35th St. between Pennsylvania Ave. and Broadway Blvd. -Joe Allen

My block was 35th St. between Broadway Blvd. and Pennsylvania Ave.  The block has changed over time.  In 1909 the block had houses and the block was not fully developed.  there were open lots where houses would go in the next couple years so I’m assuming during the time of the Sanborn map the area was being developed and built.  Later on, in 1925, the block was fully developed with houses.  Today, the block has no houses on it and is mostly parking lots for the life insurance building and the health science institute.  The surrounding area has become more business than residential.  

Main St and Warwick

From 1895 to 2018 Kansas City at Main St and Warwick off of Armour Blvd has changed quite a bit. From vacant land plots to mansions for the wealthy in the early years to new structures and corporate buildings in 2018. Only two buildings from the past exist, Loose Mansion and The National Catholic Reporter building. Soon enough even those buildings will change as they continue to age. Change is inevitable…

Jose Cantu- Cherry to Holmes

My portion of Armour Blvd between Cherry and Holmes developed very early on. Originally there were 3 large mansion homes that stood out very clearly from the surrounding small homes. In 1914 one of the mansions was mentioned in a Kansas City Star article called, “Beautiful Homes of Kansas City”. In the early 1920’s the entire area was leveled to make room for what is now called the Kenwood apartments, but the Kenwood apartments we see today were rebuilt to hold more people in 1966.

Kenwood apartments

Sarah Davis Tracy Ave and The Paseo

My block was always residential. At one point, there was a church on the southern side of the block, but other than that it has always been single and multi-family homes. For the first time period, 1895, my block was not yet developed but as time went on the north side was completely built and the south side soon followed. 1925 is when the apartment complexes first appeared. My block was originally just meant for the rich and white of the city, but things likely changed in 1925 because multi-family homes were more accessible for lower income residents. The block has been picturesque throughout history. Lawns, landscapes and trees are very prevalent in this area. Although the individual buildings may have changed throughout the years, the overall plan of the block and it’s residential style withstands the test of time.

Gilham Road and Cherry Street

The history between Gilham Road and Cherry Street hasn’t changed much at all. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a sanborn map for the period 1895 because my area hadn’t quite been developed yet. Approaching the 1909 period, my area is beginning to develop and buildings are being built. Over time, this area had several apartment buildings, auto stores, churches, schools, you name it! As time went on, some of those buildings began to fade away. Fortunate enough, when observing the area today, a couple of those buildings still exist and are in fairly good shape. Here’s a couple photos of the sanborn maps and pictures that I’ve taken.


35th Street & Chestnut – Agnes

This area has always been a single-family residential community since its annexation in 1897. Since the blocks were filled with housing units around 1925, there has not been too many massive changes to the area. It remains a charming neighborhood in the urban center of the Kansas City Metro Region. Perhaps the biggest change for the community over the past 100 years has not been the development within the neighborhood, but the development outside of it.

It has made a transition from being a quiet suburb on the outskirts of Kansas City, to being part of the urban community due to the expansion of the surrounding suburban sprawl. There are indications of the neighborhood’s age from the large trees and the historical houses which are accompanied by the modern day luxuries we all know today, like power lines, clean sewer systems, and tall street lights. It is interesting to see how a community can transform from suburban to urban and how old can meet new.

35th and Chelsea Ave

         The block that I was assigned looks at 35th Street between Chelsea Avenue and Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard. This particular area is east of Troost Avenue, and approximately six miles southeast of downtown Kansas City. Much of it remains residentially undeveloped; only one house exists on the entire block which was built shortly before the hospital in 1948. The Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, which was built in 1952, resides on the northside of 35th street, and across the street on the southside is the location of Friendship Baptist Church built in 1989.

Historic Sites along Walnut and Baltimore

On Armour and Walnut there are numerous large residential properties, some of them registered with the National Register of Historical Places. The reason behind this was that many of them were built by the Armour family in the early 1900’s. However, by the 1940’s most of the residents moved further south as the city expanded. By the wealthy elite moving out of the neighborhood, public entities moved in. For instance, the university’s Conservatory of Music moved into the C.W. Armour Mansion in 1944.

Due to the fact that that side of Main St. was developed, the other side was left vastly empty. Baltimore and Armour didn’t see much growth until the 1950’s, and the area is relatively less dense today. Today you can see old, large scale apartment complexes and empty commercial spaces with “For Rent” signs hanging in the windows.

During the research process, I found loads of information about the Walnut block, while the Baltimore side was lacking. A conclusion can be drawn to suggest that in Kansas City, we favor the history of the white, rich, and powerful, and leave the history of others forgotten.

Agnes Avenue to Benton Boulevard and E. 35th Street

Looking out over the charming streets of Oak Park Northwest, the homes all look very old and very charming. Beautiful blue mansions crown the street corners. While doing my research on these particular area of E. 35th Street, I became aware that these primary observations were valid. Although at the turn of the century this portion of E. 35th St was undeveloped, by 1925 the area was completely filled with residential housing that remains much the same as it is today. The majority of the homes lining Agnes Avenue, Bellefontaine Avenue, and Benton Boulevard have been there since before the 1925 Cencus. Only one home along the block dates to a newer time than the 1910s and 20s. This gives the streets an untouched, historical flair.