Art, blog, History, Kansas City, photography, Story, Uncategorized

Street Names-my house the trading post

Map of Old Westport, Kansas City, Missouri

Map of Old Westport, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City’s streets, prior to 1872, were frequently impassable by reason of the soft clay, kept continually wet by the overflow of spring water in the streets. The Johnson family were one of the first settlers to cross the Blue river, which is south of Westport. The Blue river was redesigned and gave birth to Brush Creek.  The road that crossed their land was called Woodland Avenue, because when it was first laid out, there was a heavy growth of timber which gave the name to the street.

main_missourihomestead-westlake The City River Market area, is where the City of Kansas City begins. The picture shows the same area of Independence Avenue and Main Street (today and in 1830)

The peculiar bend in lower Main street is explained by the fact that when the street was opened and graded southward the city encountered an obstacle at Missouri Avenue. A Mr. McDaniels lived in line of the new route and he wanted one hundred dollars for interfering with his well and front yard. After several weeks spent in negotiation the city council decided the city could not afford to pay for such improvements. They compromised by turning the street westward, thus saving Mr. McDaniels’ yard and well.

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Some of the streets were named for Kansas City people: Guinotte, Hardesty, Shelley, Scarritt, Bales, Goodrich, McGee, Troost, Garland, Scott, Warner, Watkins, Winants, Tichenor, Smart, Ridge, Heist, Campbell, Chouteau, Merceir, Martin, Mastin, Hasbrook, Munford, Hale, Henderson, Gregory, Holmes, Hunter, Baird, Salisbury, Hopkins, Marsh, Shcaffer, Merrill, Anderson, Allen, and Dunham.

The following thoroughfares were named for cities and states: Baltimore, Denver, Brooklyn, Colorado, Quincy, Illinois, Delaware, Alton, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, Michigan, Lawrence, Lexington, Rochester, Santa Fe, St. Louis, Virginia, Wyoming, St. Paul, Springfield, Fort Scott, Richmond, Winchester, Frankfort, and Independence.

picsantafetoKCThese streets were named after statesmen, authors, and soldiers: Madison, Douglas, Lincoln, Lafayette, Franklin, Blaine, Monroe, Jefferson, Washington, Jackson, Cleveland, Harrison, Garfield, Benton, Fremont, Clay, Sherman, Hamilton, Gladstone, Irving, Whittier, Bryant, Randolph, Peery, Boone, Fulton, Aberdeen, Bayard, Pendleton.

Numerous changes have been made in the names of Kansas City’s streets since the period shortly after the Civil war. Previous to that time most of the streets bore the names of the members of the old pioneer families. A few have been retained.

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The Train Era-My House The Trading Post-Hemingway Visit

My House the Trading Post, The Train Era

Union Station

Union Station

On the Fourth of July, 1863, Kansas City celebrated the opening of the first railroad bridge over the Missouri River. In fact, it was the only bridge across the Missouri River. The owner of the Union Pacific Eastern Railway, made a successful ascension in his Balloon from the public square, now known as the present City Hall location. A crowd from Missouri and Kansas cheered amid the firing of a cannon. The Coates House or Broadway Hotel hosted a grand banquet in honor of the railroad.

The first passenger train, in 1864, ran between Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas. The Topeka stop was added next. By 1909, a trip to Topeka from Kansas City, took two hours with many passenger trains on three different rails. The rails were extended 385 miles West, by the year 1868, and allowed excursions from Kansas City to Denver. The ride required two nights and one day for the trip. At this time, buffalo still roamed in herds, that often delayed the trains which had to wait for the buffalo to cross the tracks. A trip from Kansas City to Denver, cost $45.00. Today, Amtrak will get you there in eleven hours, for $166.

It was a round about journey from Kansas City to the East before the Missouri Pacific railroad. Travelers would leave Kansas City by Steam boat and arrive in Weston, Missouri. At Weston a connection was made with the Platte Valley railroad that went to St. Joseph, Missouri. The St. Joseph railroad would take passengers to Hannibal, Missouri. Passengers bound for Chicago, would board a Steam boat from Hannibal to Quincy, Illinois. Connecting with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railway of Illinois. The trip from Kansas City to Chicago was made in forty hours. There was only one train a day, and no choice of route.

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The train was established in 1854; Kansas City broke ground for the first rail lines in 1860. Soon afterwards, parents of unwanted children started to use the train to dispose of children. “The Childrens Aid Society of New York Orphan Trains,” ran in the years 1854 to 1929. My grandmother, was one of those children. A note was pinned to a little girl’s jacket by her mother, when she was five years old, most likely announcing her availability to be adopted. The train traveled from junction to junction until at last it stopped for a long time.  All the little boys were chosen first.  She was an overlooked little girl, she traveled on the train until it ran out of tracks. She was placed on a returning train back to New York. When the train stopped at the train station, a couple decided to adopt her.

The older couple had no children of their own. They had come to the train station to adopt a little boy, but they had been running late. Her name, Dorthy, was the only child left to pick from. It isn’t clear if their intent was to make her their scullery maid, but she spent the next ten years cleaning their house. Soon after Dorthy was adopted, Mrs. Brandt had a child of her own, a son.  A year later, the Brandt’s had a daughter. Dorthy’s chores increased with her new bother and sister.

The Brandt’s were a wealthy German family, at the turn of the Century. Mr. Brandt, is known for his architecture. There are several historic homes and apartment buildings that give credit to him in the Chicagoland area. However, the Will that he and his wife bequeathed, left out their adopted daughter, Dorthy. All their wealth, went to her brother and sister, natural-born heirs.

Dorthy, passed away years ago, during the Thanksgiving holidays, in a nursing home north of Kansas City. She had just moved into the nursing home due to a colon problem. She got the opportunity to meet her real mother in the 1960’s. It was a surprise to find out that her mother was a Pennsylvania Amish woman, who had gotten pregnant by an ‘English’ man. Apparently, the young Amish woman and the ‘English’ man, did not stay together. The Amish woman tried to care for her twin children for as long as she could. She had placed the children on the train, in about the year 1910, when they were just five years-old. As the old Amish woman spoke to Dorthy, she remembered she had a twin brother. Her twin later contacted her, after their mother who abandoned him, located him living on a farm in Illinois. He’d been adopted by an Iowa farm family, who were very kind to him. After he inherited the family farm, he bought a bigger farm in Illinois, where he retired and passed away in the same year Dorthy passed.

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By 1870, the railroad industry had become a monopoly, as it was the life blood of American commerce. After, competing railroad companies layed duplicate tracks to do business in the popular cities, the railroad companies realized merging operations would increase profits. The railroads were allowed to exist as a “natural monopoly” because multiple companies would be a waste of financial and material resources. The train slowed the amount of business Westport once saw. Hunters no longer needed trading posts. Wagon trains were obsolete like the need for a place to quench your thirst after traveling the dusty trail. Union Station became the hub for business travel and pleasure adventures.

In Ernst Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls he writes about the angst of farewells at the train station. ” He had taken the train… to go away to school for the first time. He had been afraid to go and did not want any one to know it.”   He also wrote, “the Kansas City train stopped…There was nothing in sight but the road and few dust-grayed trees. A wagon lurched along through the ruts, the driver slouching with the jolts of his spring seat and letting the reins hang slack on the horses’ back…”

Ernst Hemingway arrived in Kansas City by train. Hemingway came to Kansas City when he was 17 years old. It was in October of 1917. Ernst’s brother had gotten him a job at the Kansas City Star as a cub reporter. His brother Tyler Hemingway was living in Kansas City and had a friend who was the Star’s chief editorial writer. Although, Hemingway only stayed in town for six months, Kansas City likes to take credit for being mentioned in 5 of his novels, 4 published sketches, and dozens of short stories. He reported on the activities at Union Station. The train station had people coming and going. This is where he got introduced to ‘shady characters’ and celebrities.

His story, In Our Time,  resembles the work he did for the Star. Another one of his passages describing Kansas City is found in, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

“In those days the distances were all different, the dirt blew off the hills that now have been cut down, and Kansas City was very like Constantinople. I was walking from the Woolfe Brother’s Saloon where, on Christmas and Thanksgiving Day, a free turkey dinner was served,”

The fact that he writes about the Woolfe Brother’s Saloon has never been related to my house, a Westport Saloon, but it should. The owner of my house in 1917, had a nephew staying here who was friends with Hemingway. The two of them got drunk frequently, it was his secret hide away from the adults and associates of the Kansas City Star. Westport has always been the part of town that would have attracted a young man who wanted to hang out with creative individuals, drink, and party.

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It is interesting to consider which characters that may have passed through the doors of this Westport saloon, or inhabited an apartment upstairs.  I truly believe that Doc Holiday, Bat Masterson, and Daniel Boone have been here.

I am also convinced that Ernst Hemingway had a friend who lived here (The boy shown in the B&W picture of the tavern in 1909). The boy in the picture continued to live in this neighborhood until the age of 98. I share many of his stories in this blog.  I do not remember the fellow’s name and I am not aware of his exact death (sometime in late 1990’s). If the man says he was friends with Ernst Hemingway, I see no reason why he should lie. There were lots of authors that have lived in Kansas City, he only mentioned being friends with Ernst. It is that old man’s recollection of frontiersman like Doc Holliday, Boone, and Hemingway that I write about.

Kansas City is mentioned in many of Hemingway’s writings. He continued to visit Kansas City over his life. He even had several children born in the hospital in Kansas City. Most likely Truman Medical Center, he describes it in his writings as the hospital on the hill down from Union Station.

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Ghosts, My House the Trading Post

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On my way to the Kansas City library.

On my way to the Kansas City library.

There are a number of haunted houses in Kansas City. There is even a private tour company that will take you and a group of friends to each known site. (It is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time.) In my teen’s I was adventurous and investigated a few old abandoned homes in the rural country and graveyards after dark, but I have never seen proof of ghosts or supernatural. I have played Ouija board, and helped the triangle move to spell correct answers. Frightening for little girls at sleep overs. As young girls we have levitated a girl, by holding her with one finger. Games I hope are no longer popular. My sister and I can amaze and amuse our friends with Tarot cards. Some friends follow detailed systems of astrology. I have no proof of spirits, it is nothing more than a game.

They say, Fat Matt’s Vortex Bar on 6th street, in Kansas City’s Croatian Strawberry Hill historic district, is haunted with ghosts. The building was originally a funeral home and the crematorium is still visible in the basement. I once worked at a laboratory that was once a funeral home, it had an abandoned casket in the basement where we stored an old chemistry analyzer.

The Indian Cemetery, in Kansas City, Kansas is haunted. There is a haunted a high school; I’m not sure what happened there to make it haunted. However, there are many vacant, abandoned old school buildings in the Kansas City area. Some recent developers are renovating these old schools into doctor offices, and others have been turned into residential apartments. Among the list of haunted businesses are a church, Memorial Hall, fire station, and a theater.

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abandoned property

abandoned property

Some folks have captured images on their cameras at haunted Kaw Point. The historic events that occurred there would include a Mormon massacre, Indian massacre, Civil War violence, and gun fights over stolen gold. The Kansas City area has many haunted locations due to the horrific history the spirits of those killed from raids, gambling quarrels, fight for gold, disputes on religion and race, are still letting us know they are still around.

Kaw Villages

Kaw Villages

I once worked for a pathologist, assisting during autopsies. I was spooked by one-body; when the autopsy started the clock hanging on the wall above the table, stopped working. The hands on the big dial read 8:00. It was morning, when the body was brought in by an ambulance driver. He had experienced some strange occurence after picking up the dead body. On his was to the hospital, the driver had trouble keeping control of the vehicle. The dead women’s neck was broken as a result. Not her cause of death. It did make it difficult to keep her head from moving around during the autopsy, typically rigor mortis  stiffens the body and there is no movement. Six hours later, the procedure was completed. I finished cleaning the room down; I noticed that the clock was working again. Out of habit, I glanced at the clock again before I turned out the lights, and the clock had returned to the correct time, 4:20. The pathologist said, the clock must be broken, and bought a new one the next day.

The most haunted place associated with my house, the trading post during the Santa Fe trail days, is not accessible to people; it is the Sauer Castle. The Sauer Castle is located in Kansas City. It was the residence of a New York man who moved here in 1858. He began building the mansion in 1868 after marrying a young widow with two daughters. By 1872 the mansion was completely furnished with the finest. The building sits on the Shawnee Indian trail that was part of the old Santa Fe Trail. The same road the wagons passed by my house the trading post.

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The owner Anton Sauer died in the second floor master bedroom in 1879. His wife Mary continued to live in the house with her daughters. Mary died in the home in 1919 after a short illness. One of her daughters continued to live in the house and married and raised a family. Her husband, John Perkins, killed himself with a handgun. He had been suffering from a serious illness and was 72 years old when he committed suicide.  During the Perkins marriage, their daughter drowned in the family swimming pool. Over five generations of Sauer family have lived in the house.

Ghost stories have been circulating since the 1930’s; rambunctious teens and trespassers are constantly trying to get into the house. In the 1930’s the owner had a dog that would fight off trespassers and vandals. In 1987, a great-grandson of Anthony Sauer took ownership and tried for years to resurrect the place with minor repairs like fixing the banisters and balconies. He installed a large fence around the property that keeps everyone out.

In the late 1990, the caretaker was arrested for stealing thirty thousand dollars worth of artifacts from the house. The family believes, false stories about the ghosts is the reason for the vandalism and constant attempts of trespassing.

1960 Antique Store
Bell Street, 1960 Antique Store

Do we have ghosts?

I am asked that a lot.

Maybe.

The ghost, if there is one, it thrives on negativity or creating it. A poltergeist might explain why one or more folks feel as though they have been pushed or tripped. I have gotten use to the light bulbs popping when ever someone raises their voice in anger, rather than just burn out. I am not surprised to see a new water heater explode gallons of water, like Niagara Falls in the den.

I get a little spoked when flames shoot out of the electrical box and we only lose power on one side of the house. I get a little jumpy when the door bell starts ringing and no one is there. That has been happening a lot, since I started writing this blog. I assume it is the cold causing some wires to constrict or conduct within the doorbell button. However, the timing occurs as I write my history blog. Is this a coincidence? It makes me wonder if we do have a ghost.

Old Santa Fe Trail. 45th street facing west toward, Bell Street.
1870 Santa Fe Trail. 45th street facing west toward, Bell Street.

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Last Spring, Bob was sick in the hospital. All the power to his guitars and amps were turned off. Or I thought they were turned off. I was awakened by the freakish sound of Bob’s electric guitar playing by itself. I was so scared, I called the hospital and made the nurse go into Bob’s room to check on him. He was well, the nurse said. However, I couldn’t figure out how to shut the guitar up. After recovering from the fear that prevented me from going near the guitar. I slowing inched my way up to the speaker, or amp, (I am not a musician and have been given strict instructions to never touch Bob’s instruments-not even to dust). So I had no clue which switch to turn the humming guitar off. A switch was on, it did cut the power to the guitar. But to this day I do not know how or why that happened.

The vibe at my house attracts musicians and artist. They come seeking Lawyer Simons, they leave friends. Our friend, Tiffany, retained Bob as her attorney. She is a very pretty lady. She has movie star flair. Her blonde hair shined brightly in the room light.

She told us how her job at the jewelry store was going. Christmas is a good time of the year for jewelry sales. She also plays piano at Piropos Piano Bar. She talked about her career playing piano in Vegas and jamming with Max Groove.

We showed her our house. I was embarrassed that our poltergeist kept pushing her. She stumbled into each room. The ghost catching her foot on a rug, or stair, or elevation. She was sober. I know she wasn’t impaired. We may have a girl ghost, who gets jealous. Those things use to happen to me when I first moved in.

She couldn’t resist going over to the keyboard. She played us a few random tunes. They were very good. Bob and Tiffany played a duet.

I would like you to vote if you beleive in ghost or not…….

I do beleive in angels. Spiritual entities who exists to perform the will of our Lord. I don’t have a picture of an angel for proof. But I have seen an Angel with my own eyes. Some religions tell us that these angels testify on our behalf before the Heavenly Courts. Something to reflect upon.

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Poison History, My House The Trading Post

The Chemist reported the water was poisoned. The Internet can bring poison into the home. The first water lines that ran to the homes carried tainted water. In time communities developed a means for filtering the water. The city was also responsible for building better roads and providing street lights for safe passage. In time the Internet community will become safer for all. Eventually it will be offered to the whole community, and to every citizen.  I hope my adult children will be able to have Internet service. Currently, such service is a luxury that many American still cannot afford.

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The rules are changing. The technology is evolving quickly. The folks of 1850 accepted all their new technologies; trains, phone, house water, electric, and cars. They kept disputes to a minimum. The individuals within each family of the community helped their city grow. Growth that made some wealthy and others lose it all.

There are two social classes of students that I have met. The first is the public school student; where in the public school less emphasis is given to history and more time is spent on teaching reading and basic arithmetic skills. The second is the private school student; where teachers don’t overlook the grammar issues, and move students forward with information. Administrative concerns in both environments pay attention to scales that measure performance. Kansas City was established by many people with varied backgrounds. Many of the pioneer citizens were educated (lawyers, doctors, nurses, chemists, interpreters, ministers, and teachers…) Kansas City currently has an unaccredited public school district. I wish, concerned more citizens.

In the history books the word monopoly is mentioned. A monopoly is the advantage of one supplier or producer over the commercial market. In America a monopoly exists when all, or nearly all of an article of trade within a community is in the hands of one person or corporation’s control and excludes competition. Monopolies have formed whenever new technology was created. Shortly after the technology was made accessible for the start-up businessman. Many small operators of the same technology sprung up. Corporations were able to meet the demand of the citizens better by buying up all the competing businesses.   However, their product could only be afforded by a few. The monopoly created a power to control prices, to the harm of the public.

It has been an offense of law to possess or create a monopoly power, and fix prices and exclude competitors from the market. For example once the railroads were laid, and a railroad company established; other railroad companies  formed, but there wasn’t enough commercial traffic to continue to lay multiple rails along passages. Soon there would be no room for the additional tracks and you may only end up with only a few riders per train. The formation of the railroad monopolies formed. They established a bigger company and bought up the smaller train companies. Government intervention created a system to limit the monopoly and balance control over the number of tracks and routes.

antique_oldsantafetrailantiqueshop(The two pictures represent the same building; East side, after the civil war, and the West side in 2013)

When the electric companies formed. The light company was the largest public utility corporation in Kansas City. However, first there were several little companies operating that struggled to make a profit. Then the power company formed a monopoly that threatened the price of services, until Kansas City called the service a public good.

When the telephone was installed in the city, four miles of wire and poles were set across town. Two phone companies were in operation until 1908.  When a new phone franchise bought out the original phone companies, the city was able to impose additional taxes, not previously considered, on the companies, their poles and wires, along with a percentage of the phone company’s profits.

Today, a similar situation is being expressed in the healthcare system. Insurance companies, were plentiful, but only a few citizens could afford the service. For years, most doctors wouldn’t even accept a new patient without insurance. Now the US Government is trying to break down the healthcare monopoly and make health insurance an essential service of public good.

Main Street

History repeats itself. Monopolies form in every generation. Then municipalities make efforts to bring the essential good to all the people.  Selfishness and negativity is put aside, otherwise, earthly humanity would die by its own poison.

The first settlers sat on a log in the woods marking a map in the dirt that divided out the land for settlements. McCoy, the founding father of Westport, wrote the following information regarding the towns early history.  “In 1825, there was only one point west of Big Blue where white people lived. It was the trading post of Colonel Chouteau. An Indian trail marked the path to follow from the river bluffs to the high prairie. Several homesteads were settled. Robert Pattison, in 1825, settled at the Vogel place. The first Justice of the peace for the settlements of Westport was located near Westport Avenue and the State line.”

My House The Trading Post is located at the Kansas State line and Bell; or in the general vicinity of State line road and Westport Road. The Patterson Plat. The land was owned by the first Justice of the Peace of the frontier town of Westport. The streets have been renamed. Plats did not conform to other surveys of the town. Several land owners named the streets and determined their length and width in anticipation of a main road to Westport and the Santa Fe Trail Beyond. Westport Road has had several name changes over the years. First it started out as an Indian trail. They called it the Santa Fe Trail, for a while. For a short time, the founders referred to it as Westport Avenue.

Parks and Boulevards, 1908
Parks and Boulevards, 1908

The map only retains a short passage visible, of an angular street that traveled from Independence through Westport to the Kansas state line. The angle of the street was straightened out after the civil war. When the land was divided into lots for new homes. The woods around my house remained until 1900.  The mud rutted trail that once led from my house, the trading post, to main street downtown was destroyed by the progress of time.

The Water Works was purchase by the city from a private owner in 1895. A new Westport water-pipe was put in. Service was able to be extended to more residents. The original storage basins had no filtration system. Pipes were placed beneath the ground leading from the river, to river, to streams. A storage basin was capable of holding nine million gallons of water and was constructed with pumps to force the water to the street reservoirs.

The city took over the water works system in 1908.  The city council made plans to establish other reservoirs throughout the city. At this time the city knew it didn’t have a good fresh water filtering system. The original estimate to provide adequate filtering beds was three million dollars. Records from the city chemist regarding the purity of the water indicated that there were as many as three hundred germs per cubic centimeter in the city water samples tested. Water containing less than five hundred germs per cubic centimeter was considered wholesome. The chemist did not detect any specific pathogens or disease-producing germs in his research.

At the time, some of the wells from the local springs were determined to be contaminated with typhoid fever which were attributed to several deaths. Although the findings were not unusual, the city chemist fought for improving the water. He concluded that the few deaths from tainted water was too high and could be prevented. A problem for which the city office would have to approve in order to make changes and obtain support for the financial projects of the water works department. The city evolved, adopting several new civil service jobs and municipal departments.

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The Internet has brought Google fiber to the neighborhood and a new age of technology should be documented. What is the cost of this service? It goes up each year. As a college professor, I am amazed at the number of students who do not have computers. The number of young ladies with children, working full-time; they do not have Internet. They do not have a budget for Internet service. Internet service is being offered for free in some neighborhoods, through a type of neighborhood coalition or association or contractors promotion. Internet is becoming a necessity like having access to clean water.

2013 Google Fiber Arrives
2013 Google Fiber Arrives

The newest technology of all, invites the world into your world.  The Internet can be as intimate a community as the Santa Fe Trail was in 1850. A citizen could sit on the porch of their farmhouse watching the travelers go by on the main route to adventure. I can sit in my house the trading post meeting those traveling the Internet.  In 1850, a trading post owner could set his building beside the road for traveling folks to purchase provisions. I’d like to set up a trading post online and sell books, poems, music, and artwork.

Essential services have improved the quality of life for everyone. We will still have poor folks, and still have capitalism. Sometimes many inventions and new technologies are developed so quickly, that it takes the city, state, and governments time to catch up. Local and Federal Governments have a little trouble reorganizing departments to handle the social need. Occasionally a political vote is needed to determine which, and if any, decisions to move forward. (But, only when race or prejudice is involved, does war break out).

 

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My House The Trading Post A Gift

horse-varnish

A Mexican man, who could not speak English, was a familiar figure in Westport, because he traveled back and forth over the Santa Fe Trail. On his stay in Westport, he fell in love with a woman named Mamie, who couldn’t speak Spanish. With the help of Mr. Polk, an interpreter, the Senor, offered Miss Mamie a gift of a beautiful lady’s riding horse with white satin bridle and a magnificent silver studded Mexican saddle. Along with the saddle, twenty-six loaded wagons with every yoke of the oxen decorated with a white satin rosette. This gift was offered if she would accompany him to Mexico. Mamie was only 16 years old. She turned him down. Mexico was a long way from Westport, Missouri, and her friends. She did not want to be in a strange country, unable to converse with her husband.

This daughter of a pioneer, cried so bitterly, and was so unhappy. Because she loved the foreigner. The Senor knew this, so he arranged for her childhood friend, Stevie, (future Senator of Missouri) to go to Mexico with them. Together, Stevie and the Senor helped Mamie learn Spanish. Stevie Polk was promised a position of wealth.  During his time there he was able to defend a client in Spanish before a Mexican judge. Mamie, however, grew lonely and wanted a companion of her own race and language and wanted to leave the strange country.

The Senor and Mamie had three sons. The boys were sent back to Westport to be educated. This gave Mamie the opportunity to make many travels to Westport over her lifetime. Mamie returned to Westport, years later, and worked as a cook for McCoy’s Tavern. McCoy’s Bar and Grill is still located at the corner of Westport road and Pennsylvania.

The people of Westport haven’t changed, we’re very much alike, and what was true of one neighbor, neighborhood, or family was true of all. The people of Westport, in 1853, would travel three to five miles to visit another family. One entire family would make arrangements to stay for several days or a week. They contented themselves with visiting each other. In the Twenty-First Century, Westport families, still come together during the holidays, like 4th of July, my birthday, and Christmas. And giving pretty gifts is still a tradition.

Mamie was offered a wonderful gift from the man who loved her. Her acceptance took her on an adventure she didn’t really know she wanted to be a part of. I can relate.

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I met my husband Bob, a long time ago, when I was 11. He was a grown man, in his late twenty’s, driving an expensive sports car, an Austin Martin with Missouri plates. He laughs when I tell the story. He barely remembered the insignificant little girl he almost ran over, until the day, I came to his law office, thirty-two years after our first encounter.  “I’ve Always Loved You.”

I sat in his law office, flipping through his photography portfolio; he had on the side table. He typed my divorce information into his computer. He was a very good photographer. One photo, the very first picture I opened the page on, was of the little blue sports car. Which brought back the memories of when he nearly ran over me, back in 1974. An incident, where a well-dressed business man nearly took my life. He grabbed my arm and said, “Little girl, you shouldn’t run out into the street!”

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The morning came slowly. Outside, all was wet from the early morning rainstorm. I always sleep better during the rain. Not wanting to get out of bed, I reached for my husband, and he kissed my hand. We snuggled closer and I fell back to sleep.

Bob had gotten up several times in the night, he’d been a little restless lately, and suffering from a sore back. A few days back, he went outside to clean up the garden and somehow managed to slip and fall on the old wet decking. He didn’t feel injured at the time, now he’s in pain. He is not interested in seeing a doctor, which is the only advice I can offer.

Bob continued to lie in the bed for the rest of the morning. With a muscle relaxer and pain pill. I can only hope that he gets better soon. I know it must have been a nasty fall. It left a yellow and gray bruise along the side of his back. I realized it was another episode of nothing really works out very smoothly.

My house once served as a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail and popular spot for old gamblers. Like Doc Holiday, a true gambler that was known to play in this particular saloon. Some of the best poker games were won here. Bob took a gamble on love; we both did, when we got married. He had been a bachelor, with an impressive history himself. He had traveled, played music professionally, his artwork was displayed everywhere in the house, and his Ivy League law degree made him one of the most interesting men I had ever met.

Anniversary-Portrait

I’ve Always Loved You

by Robert A. Simons

So much emotion.
Such a long, long time,
So many nights alone,
Till your eyes met mine.
And now when dark days come,
Your love keeps them away.
Now that your love, 
Is here to stay.
So much emotion.
Such a long, long time.

So much confusion.
Lifetime for a dime.
I waited here for you,
Till my twilight time.
I wish we cold both be young,
And never let love slip away,
Now that your love
Is here to stay.
So much emotion,
Such a long, long time.

I've always loved you.

I've always loved you.
Always loved you,
And I do.
So much emotion.

Such a long, long time.

Enjoy this song on SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/blue-tattoo/ive-always-loved-you-broadcast


					
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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, Story, Uncategorized

The Belles of Westport My House The Trading Post

Fashions in Kansas City
Fashions in Kansas City

The room lite with candles “shone brightly upon the fair maidens with glossy water-falls, delaine or tissue dresses, hoop skirts and family jewels.” Young men and women, alternated standing in a circle. They moved left, holding a partner’s hand, in a game called, “Marching down to old Quebec.” In 1850, dancing in Kansas City, was forbidden by the churches. The young folks were allowed to have large parties, accompanied by some older persons, but the kids refused to call them “chaperons.” For fun, packs of older teens, would take a passage on one of the Missouri River Boats, and dance on deck to the fiddler music. A jolly captain, with a crew that supplied the teens with good southern cooking, made this excursion highly enjoyable.

Dancing became fashionable among the married sect of society women and their husbands, (the business men of Independence, Westport, and Kansas City). The two favorite events were the Pallas Ball and the Charity Ball. These events were given by the young ladies, who were teachers at the local schools and day nursery.

kitchen convo4 girls kitchen

My house the trading post, in Westport, was refered to as a dance hall. It catered to the other type of family. The families of sturdy, good people, whose life was that of the frontier. From which they endured many hardships moving westward. The rules and manners of the parties attended, were at the discretion of the host. A party at the old Westport saloon would involve dancing and a “kissing” game. This would be followed by a “supper” that included pumpkin pie, peach pie, and buttermilk. Afterwards, the fun would continue with a run through the backwoods with candles.

The most desired and eligible young men were from Westport. The prettiest and wealthiest girls were from Kansas City or Independence. The finest parties were hosted by the sons and daughters of the first trading posts and saloon owners. The Santa Fe trade made these families wealthy. They built fine mansions within Jackson County. Their parties were legendary and drew in all the prettiest girls.

McCoy’s notes document that the Johnson Homestead, was near the long canon river bluffs, and had been occupied by Judge Bales who turned it over to Doctor Smart. John Johnson, had six children and a wife. The Johnson’s family were Methodist. They held family events south of Westport on the Indian Mission. The purpose was to honor the Indians. It should be noted that the Johnson family was adopted by the Shawnee Mission Indian’s Chief, in 1850, because of their great kindness to the tribe. The Johnson family and Shawnee Indian’s relationship is well documented. My daughter Megan has married into a Johnson family and given us, Eddie Johnson.

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Before bridge parties and book clubs were popular, quilting parties were the social occasion for the mothers and daughters.  Some girls would travel ten miles to arrive as early a nine o’clock in the morning, to quilt. The ladies arrived by carriage (with an old black man as a driver), pulled by one of the girl’s own personal riding horses. In the company of the other quilters, pioneer women, brought up with cortly manners and elegances, kept their words polite.  The women sat on rush bottom chairs around a quilting frame while stitching in different areas.

In the olden days they said that Independence was a town with good breeding, and that Westport was a town of “good fellowship,” and that Kansas City had both, good breeding and fellowship. The belles of Independence went to some of the best schools of the west. The Wyandotte Indian girls traveled to Independence to attend the fine colleges for young women. One historic book described the daughter of a Westport man, who complained her father made fun of her eloquent educated speech; that she often spoke one way, while at home, and another when away at school.

Westport was a natural trading post for the people everywhere, going everywhere, each one carrying with them a story. Men were charming and the women strived for refinement. Many of the girls that made the society pages were called eligible belles. The daughters of the founding families, of the three cities, were described as popular and beautiful. Stories of romances and first tragedies fill the pages of history books. Kansas City, being proud of their citizens, kept many scandals out of the records.

white-hatHATIMG_0003

In the summer of 1850, the local trading posts and general stores received shipments of French and English, joconets, French challies, lace manellas, parasols, fans, kid and filet gloves, cotton and silk hosiery. Special signs called attention to Ladies’ Bonnets and the Millinery department for the latest Paris styles. Most orders from France arrived within thirty days. The fourth of July, brought out all the daughters to town for new purchases.  Everyone was getting ready to attend the celebrations of band music or the various balls hosted by the local hotels and taverns.

_dressFridge_Terrie-Outfit_dress-and-dog

Today, the most common women’s fashion in Westport or Kansas City, Missouri is the skinny jean and the knee-high boots, ankle boot, or cowboy boot.  This is a good look on most ladies, especially if paired with an extra long top or mini-dress. Television shows like, any of the “housewives reality shows” provide a gist of which fashions are popular. However, in little Ol’Westport, we have specialty dress stores, where one of a kind outfits can be found. Everyone else shops at Walmart (or Target). What they end up with, is every other girl, wearing the same thing.

Even as far back as 1909, Mrs. Westlake, a high society lady of Kansas City, noted that the women’s wear was not very stylish. Mrs. Carrie Westlake Whitney was appointed the librarian in March, 1881. In her account of her first visit to Westport, she writes,”there was incessant hammering and banging from a dozen blacksmith’s sheds, where the heavy wagons were being repaired, and the horses and oxen shod. The streets were thronged with men, horses, and mules. While I was in town, a train of emigrant wagons from Illinois passed through to join the camp on the prairie. A multitude of healthy children’s faces were peeping out from under the covers of the wagons. Here and there a buxom damsel was seated on horseback, holding over her sunburnt face an umbrella or a parasol, once gaudy enough, but now miserably faded.”

Boots-3rd-A

Kansas City women have been forming new clubs since the pioneer times. The women gathered to provide stimulus of association, the desire to engage in analytical thought and sustained discussions. They realized that as an organization they could broaden and deepen their intellectual work and accomplish more. In that same spirit I have established an organization, called the Professional Business Women’s Club of Kansas City, http://pbwckc.webs.com

The first ladies, who started organizations and clubs in the pioneer day sent letters out to the women they knew and messages delivered by their driver. I am sending out an invitation by blog; to any individual, female or male, that enjoys the History of Kansas City, the town of Westport, or believes children can become brave, creative, leaders from playing group sports, like soccer, to join my club, PBWCKC. http://pbwckc.webs.com/apps/members/

Wishing you many warm moments to share this Christmas. Thank you.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post Pioneer Days

Chapter 1

Early Settlers In Pioneer Days

1900's
1900’s

Kansas City was one of the stopping places for early settlers in pioneer days. At one time people traveled through Kansas City by boat, horseback, and stage-coach. Missouri offered all a man could desire, rivers, valleys, hills, and plains. Yet, people were on the move West. The reasons for travel varied from fur trapping, hunting, adventurers or quest for gold.

A small group of men organized to form the town of Westport in the 1820’s. These early settlers liked the wilderness area west of Independence Missouri and North of Saint Louis. Lewis and Clark, years earlier, had noted the territory was perfect for resting the horses with its sheltering woodlands and clear running springs.

Gillis house

The first structures were log cabins. Boards were applied to the esteriors later. The general shape of these oldest buildings like my house, had small panes of glass, and an outside chimney. One of the popular establishments that developed in those early days was that of the Trading Post. Trading practices with the Indians flourished because traders had a great influence with the Indians and the government relied on this relationship. The Indians were extended credit and the traders were soon able to replace the log cabins with two-story Taverns and Dance Halls.

Westport became a rough and rowdy frontier town. The town was overrun with gun-toting renegades, drunken Indians, and Mexican War soldiers. A man named, Vogel, ran a tavern in Westport.  Taverns in those days were used for community business, socializing, weddings, and funerals, which took place in the large main room, often fitted with a bar and some shelves. My house is that tavern.

In the winter of 1829, a resident of Westport, a Mrs. Rachel Patterson was widowed when her husband had a heart attack. Mrs. Patterson survived with 6 children, I think mostly boys. Sadly, Mrs. Patterson was denied the right to have title to her land where Mr. Patterson had built their homestead. Her land was situated on the far west quadrant of Westport, along the Kansas State Line. Kansas at the time was Indian Territory.

Most mothers snatched their children from the paths of the madmen and travelers in Westport. However, the Patterson children played with the Indian children from the Kansas reservation and grew up friends with the Indians and had a way with making friends with folks around town. This was a lucky thing for Widow Patterson, because, as she took her “land ownership” case to court, she would need a few secret admirers to help her succeed.

Mrs. Patterson vs. the State of Missouri, Jackson County, Westport Kansas City, was a case that is documented to have started in 1830 and wasn’t settled until 1877. Widow Patterson did win her case. But by then, women’s rights had begun, slavery had ended, and the Indians even moved on. The fascinating part of the story, is how Mrs. Patterson survived all those years and how my present day house may have provided income for the Patterson’s family.

breadwagon

My research has discovered that Mrs. Patterson may have sold whiskey. While, flour mills were in operation in Independence the whiskey business was popular in Westport. By the 1830’s there were two-million people in all the Missouri Territories. The earliest census of Westport stated that there were 12 businesses, including one Indian owned trading post. Nine of those businesses were taverns or trading posts.  Men like John McCoy, had a combination general store, tavern, home, and post office. The women of the time ran businesses, too. These businesses were often, boarding houses, or the women sold fresh bread.

A priest traveling in 1840, to the frontier town of Westport noted that during his travel in the Missouri wilderness, he encountered an abandoned cabin where a poor Indian woman had died a few days earlier. Imagine Westport, where Indians with shaggy ponies tied up by the dozens to poles along the houses and fences of Westport Road. Indians, with shaved heads and painted faces, other Indians with long flowing locks and a few wrapped in blankets, all strolling down the streets and lounging about the shops. Also note, it was illegal to sell whiskey to the Indians.

It is my belief that Mrs. Patterson or her sons ran a tavern on the west of end of town, and sold Whiskey to the Indians. Pieces of history indicate that this building I call home, was once that structure of an old Westport original tavern.  After Kelly’s Tavern burn to the ground as a result of a kitchen fire, men started to remove the old wooden buldings. One owner sold his old wooden tavern building for as little as $5.00.  Several stories indicate that two-story buildings were rolled along Westport road on huge tree logs, pulled my mules. Logs are still under my house, to this day.

Mr. Kelly, a prominent tavern owner, lost his first wooden tavern, at the corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Ave., to a fire. Irishmen brought with them a great skill for brick and stone. He hired many talented Irishmen to build a brick tavern on the corner; where it is still in operation today. Kelly’s Tavern in Westport is the oldest surviving tavern in Kansas City. I loved drinking and dancing there in my 20’s (in the 1980’s). Every college kid, from far and near has partied at Kelly’s Tavern.

Other shop owners were jealous that Mr. Kelly had such a fine brick establishment, that many replaced their taverns with brick also. Although, the paper trail ended regarding the purchase of the building and moving it down the street, I believe that a man like, Mr. Harris gave or sold the building to Mrs. Patterson or one of her sons or to someone who rented land. Because the building sits on the plot of land once owned by Mr. Patterson, at the corner of Mr. Harris plat. Later Mr. Vogel purchased all of the Patterson’s land.

My house is about 200 yards from the Kansas Indian Missionary and Schoolhouse. The Indian School is now a museum and tourist site. It isn’t possible to walk to the missionary school from my house today, because tall, modern, cement, stone and brick buildings line the roads and form multiple blocks that create a barrier where the wilderness once allowed a path. The local newspaper of Old Westport, reported that a “particular tavern not more than 200 yards from the Indian Mission was suspected of selling spirits of alcohol to the Indians and contributing to the derelict behavior of the savages.”

westsign

I live in one of the oldest wood trading posts, remaining, since the days of the pioneers. It was the last place to stop for provisions on the way west, and the first chance to buy a beer after a two months cattle drive on a dusty Santa Fe trail. (1822-1880)

1909 Grocery store.
1909 Grocery store.

A boy, as tall as the gentlemen he poses with, stands in front of the grocery store in a picture, from the year 1909.  That young man was 98 years old, when he shared his accounts of the property. He lived up the street from us. He gave Bob, that picture of our house. The man had worked there, at the time of the turn of the century.  As he tells it, his family owned and operated the grocery store.  When the property was first built, the Santa Fe trail and cattle drive came through Westport.  This property, was the last post to buy something for settlers leaving town and the first place the cowboys saw, coming in.

Originally, the two-story building was fifty-yards up the hill. There was a pond at the current spot of the residence. Once the pond drained down to bed rock the house was set squarely by the road. The house was set along the far side of the pond, by engineering logs under the building, and dragging it down the hill with mules. The dirt foundation was replaced with cement, sometime in the 1980’s. In order to pour the foundation, the house had to been raised, exposing the huge logs for the first time since the logs were used to move the structure in 1855.

Pioneer lunch pail and coffee thermos
Pioneer lunch pail and coffee thermos

During the renovations that began in the late 1970’s,  a portion of an old dirt road and cobblestone curb was discovered in the backyard while Bob was landscaping, along with old medicine bottles and whisky jars. The Five layers of roofing and petrified wood on the house, provided an architectural manual of the different carpentry techniques used, as each layer exposed the years dating back to 1860.

1960 Antique Store
1960 Antique Store

In 1860, the place was a  tavern, by 1909 it was a general store. Shortly, thereafter if fell into the hands of a contractor. By the mid-20th century the property had seen its best days gone. In the 1950’s, it was owned by a junk dealer who had the place packed to the ceiling with antiques and had two rental apartments upstairs. It was in that condition that our good friend, Drake, acquired the property and started those late 1970 renovations. He needed a commercial building for, Drake Design, a company that made fiberglass molds for the auto industry.

2008 Law Office
2008 Law Office

My husband Bob, bought the property from Drake. After 12 years of solo labor, Bob, was able to convert the house into its present condition and design. Bob has lived here for over 30 years, practiced law, worked on his art, and rehearsed a band or two. I have lived here for five years and absolutely love the place.

1867
1867

The original building was a rectangular, 2 story building with a large main room on the first floor.  In the late 1800’s an American Indian man, who owned the trading post/tavern, enlarged the building on the north side, doubling the size of the  building to 5000 square feet, utilizing a slant in the roof for a lodge pole, the technique matched the traditional structures built by his tribe.

Old Santa Fe Trail. 45th street facing west toward, Bell Street.
Old Santa Fe Trail. 45th street facing west toward, Bell Street.

During the spring and summers of 1852- 1855, over 90,000 head of cattle traveled the by-way each year. The Stockyards operated in Kansas City’s west bottoms from 1871-1991. Once the railroad was installed it became the main means of transportation after 1870. These events had a significant impact on my house, the trading post, and its history.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post, Garden of Eden

Garden of Good and Evil

Garden of Good and Evil

God expelled the first humans, from the Garden of Eden, and placed a mighty angel at the east of that garden…..”to guard the entrance to the Tree of Life.” The backyard of my house, a pre-civil war trading post in Old Westport, resembles what the founder, Joseph Smith, of the “Church of the Latter Day Saints,” refers to, in his new understanding of Genesis, as the location of Eden. During his trip through Westport and Kansas City in 1831, he had a revelation regarding the location of Adam and Eve’s first garden.

The old tree that grows in the backyard, we call, the garden of good and evil. Gazing at the tree will make you think you are near the entrance to the garden man was banished from.  A hole in the tree has fascinated our pets for years. Something is down there, the dog and duck haven’t gotten it yet, but continue to bark a warning at the tree on a daily basis.

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When Westport was young, Joseph Smith and his followers chose this area as their new, “Zion,” as they termed it. It is said that the Mormons, were first run out of New York and Pennsylvania, then organized a headquarters in Ohio, in the year 1831. That same year, the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” established missionaries to explore Missouri. The most developed city of the frontier times, for the new explorers, was Independence, Missouri. Joseph Smith and his followers declared the city the site for their “temple” and claimed God had selected the place as the “gathering place for his Saints to prepare for the second coming of Christ.” Since then, many proselytized Mormons, have come to Kansas City.

The Mormons brought with them a printing press and started a monthly news paper called the Evening and Morning Star. The newspaper began each issue announcing the Mormons were a “sect chosen by the Lord.”  They also started a weekly publication called Upper Missouri Advertiser. Each article published, ripened a growing hatred towards the Mormons. In the summer of 1833, the citizens of Jackson County, decided that they had to take matters into their own hands against the “pretended religious sect” of Mormons.  At least 700 citizens felt they had to protect society from the evils that the religious sect inflicted upon the community. A mob formed, willing to rid the Mormon immigration peaceably or forcibly. The printing office was destroyed first.

The Jackson County citizens did not see a reason to seek the arm of the law in Missouri. The Mormons, on more than one occasion, had printed Missouri’s liberal Constitution granting Freedom of Religion. The Saints were inviting followers to establish homesteads in the Kansas City, Westport, and Independence area.  The citizens wanted a sufficient solution to rid themselves from the deluded fanatics, pretending to hold personal communication and revelations with the most high God. The behavior of the Mormons and claims of their leader’s direct messages from God, along with the increased migrations of settlers to this area, seeking this new religion, turned neighbor against neighbor.

In those days, when the distances were all different among the hills and prairies, many lives were lost. Without any legal authority, innocent men, women, and children were shot, stoned, and clubbed to death here in Westport and throughout Jackson County. Including a sick women who sat up from her bed, possibly brushed open the curtains to investigate the noise, and was shot in the head. She had no weapon in the home, clearly an innocent bystander. The local officers were appealed to by the Saints, but they did not get any justice from the courts or county officials.

During the Winter of 1833, a group of men gathered in a Westport trading post and general store to plan another attack on the Mormons hiding out at an adjacent settlement on the Blue Valley River. Most of the Mormons had already started migrating to Illinois in small groups. When the last group of Mormons heard that the townsmen were planning another raid they tried unsuccessfully to hide in the corn fields south of Kansas City. They were killed and wounded. The Mormons were driven from the county. The work of the mob was complete.

Unknown

The Mormons left Missouri, by 1838, and fled to Illinois. In 1844, Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob in Illinois. Smith’s son, lead the thousands of followers into the desert and settled in Utah.  In 1860, the followers of Joseph Smith, became “The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” A sect of polygamist branched off from the church, their doctrine was introduced by Brigham Young.

The Mormon faith continued to grow and they eventually returned to Independence, Missouri. The church’s missionaries reached the Polynesian islands of Hawaii which have brought many Samoan families to our community. Westport’s business owners include Bob’s good friend and hair stylist, Eddy Ahloe. Eddy, has retired his large upscale beauty shop, that was once popularly located on Westport Road, to a simple part-time operation from his home. He came to Kansas City to take care of his parents who moved here to be close to the “Latter Day Saint” Temple in Independence, Missouri.

Tomato.
Tomato.

In the Spring something wonderful happens at my house the trading post. The weather warms up. Bob brings home fresh bags of garden soil from the local greenhouse, along with starter plants. Fifty-eight days later, we have tomatoes.

The first strawberry.
The first strawberry.

Inside large clay pots that sit on the wood deck stairs, strawberry plants were started a few years ago. Each season a few more berry’s are produced. The first year, we just got one. There are several months to wait before planting season starts. Wishing you many warm moments to share.

Well, there are blogs on gardening tomatoes that I added for your convenience.

I aways like to include related articles. The following link is interesting on the topic of Mormons and the Church of Latter Day Saints.

Thank you for reading my blog, My House The Trading Post.

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, music, photography, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post-On Stage

All-Hail Terrie

All-Hail Terrie.

It’s all in fun.

My house the trading post, today is a stage for Bob, and I. While I, make visitors feel welcome with a batch of home-made cookies, Bob, entertains them with his “licks” on the guitar.

Treats

In 1967, Bob was part of a band called, The Horde. The Horde recorded a session in Durham, North Carolina while in college. That album was recently re-released this past summer. The band played gigs at numerous universities. They have been called the most exciting mid sixties garage band to ever be discovered. They starred at the usual teen dance clubs, Fraternity parties, and Student Union dances. The played songs like, “Paint It Black.” Which starts with Bob playing the guitar solo. The guys were considered hippies, traveling all over the place playing the ‘British invasion’ influenced music. They liked the raw in your face blues, filtered through British pop.

Cambridge, 1970

Cambridge, 1971

After the demise of the band the group went their separate ways. Bob graduated from college and went to New York to go to Columbia University Law School and later to Cambridge University, England. He now practices criminal law and family law.

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He continued to play rock and roll and other music venues through the years.  He had a band once called the, “Bell Street Blasters.” With the Bell Street Blasters he played theater and stadium level gigs appearing in shows with B.B King, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ray Charles, and others.

Press Buttons Firmly, by The Horde, Vinyl &CD.  Price: $23.99

Press Buttons Firmly, by The Horde, Vinyl &CD.
Price: $23.99

During, the past summer, twenty-five brand new vinyl, The Horde, albums arrived, with two-dozen CD’s. They sit behind the display counter in Bob’s law office. The album’s public recognition is a little late, only forty-six years, too, late. Very, very few people out there are buying the Horde’s album, “Press Buttons Firmly.” A song titled after the guys noticed the message on the juke box in a tiny coffee shop on campus.

The Romantics. Bob, pictured on right.

The Romantics. Bob, pictured on right.

North Carolina, in the sixties, was the deep south. The music the Horde’s were playing didn’t live up to the soul music country’s expectations. Bob and the band members, complained that the crowds constantly requested the song, “Stubborn Kinda Fella.” An incident the guys still talk about, is when a group of frat guys got fed up with the hippy band, and headed for the stage. Their drummer stared the angry mob down as the rest of the guys escaped. Take the time to listen to The Horde’s songs, amazingly good.

Max Groove and Bob Simons appearing at JAZZ on 39th and State Line Road.

Max Groove and Bob Simons appearing at JAZZ on 39th and State Line Road.

Today Bob plays jazz and country gigs on pedal steel guitar. He has been appearing in duos with Billboard charted jazz keyboardist Max Groove. Together they play Jazz R&B or original New Age Jazz. He is a talented musician who mostly jams with friends.

If you are looking for a unique gift for a music lover, or collector, please consider, The Horde, album, “Press Buttons Firmly.” I highly recommend the album, Break-A-Way-Records did a marvelous job remastering the album. Someone out there in the world actually owned the orignal version of the recorded songs and they put them on YouTube, that can be sampled at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ6qQAhgzG4&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBoPSZ6Hnc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsgIFrpdi7I&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx5bSt7Y6Yc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITxBi-K38vc&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4hvHxk8zBw&playnext=1&list=PL0qGfMEO0Ns-4NmFHT8YyAU0CR5tx-2mS&feature=results_main
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7PsyHJkNiM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZExhskQR0fI&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6c_i7y4-PM&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUXob71ctIM&feature=relmfu

The original 1967 -record of The Horde last sold on ebay for $1800. There are only 25 copies of the original studio recording. The new album is also available on Amazon for just, $23.99.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan

The routine at the house includes watching X-Factor. Tonight, like many other nights, I was enlightened by a brief music history lesson given by my husband Bob. Now mind you, I have heard of none these individuals or the songs. The song, ‘Hallelujah’ was song by a contestant on tonight’s X-Factor, a televised talent contest.

Leonard Cohen, a musician in the Music Hall of Fame who also received three Juno Awards nomination, got his start in the music business in 1967. Cohen is credited as the singer and composer of ‘Hallelujah.’ One of his earliest hits was with folk singer, Judy Collins, for the song, ‘Suzanne.’ Bob made me watch a YouTube video of this act (while I was trying to enjoy the X-Factor show).

In 1967, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer and songwriter. During the 1960s, he was part of the Andy Warhol’s “Factory” crowd. According to Wikipedia, Andy Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style.” His song ‘Suzanne’ became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song. His song, ‘Hallelujah’ found greater popularity through a cover by John Cale.

The New York Times praised the song ‘Hallelujah’ in a review, noting that “Cohen spent years struggling to write the song ‘Hallelujah.”  Many singers have covered versions of the song. There are over 300 versions known. It is often called one of the greatest songs of all time.

John Cale was a member of the Velvet Underground, an American rock band, active between 1964 and 1973. The band was part of the first real scene of the high literature culture of Andy Warhol. These people were the hippest of hipsters. The Velvet Underground was formed in New York City by Lou Reed and John Cale. I believe, Nico was also a singer and songwriter for the band.

Lou Reed was a frequent performer at ‘The Factory’, a studio owned by Warhol. Andy often asked his assistants to help set up parties, which were groundbreaking assemblies of musicians, artist, hipsters, gay partiers, and drug addicts. The rented studio apartment in New York’s grubby 60’s neighborhood pre-dates the Studio 54 era. Bob tells me this, but as I always lived in the Midwest, and really don’t have a clear conception of Studio 54 either.

Bob says that Andy Warhol supported the music of the Velvet Underground and this influence started the avant-garde craze. Avant-garde is a term used in the fashion world, and when describing something that is ‘cutting edge.’ Andy Warhol designed the cover of the first album for the band, a banana. That banana is one of Andy Warhol’s most recognized artworks. It became the most popular album cover art of all time.

Lou Reed went on to write a song in 1972, called “Walk on the Wild Side” on his second solo album Transformer. Lou Reed had performed at Max’s Kansas City in New York and Studio 54, two of the most famous and treadiest clubs in New York.  Leonard was famous for his poetic song lyrics, ’Suzanne.’ Like singer songwriter, Bob Dylan, he was the poet of the time.

The song contest show X-Factor, has enlightened me to the history of old songs. From my husband Bob, I learn that he is often irritated that shows like X-Factor don’t actually acknowledge the cover songs properly. The old songs are, too often, credited to modern singers, like Mariah Carey, or to the last pop singer that sang the song. Passive television viewers, like myself, pay no attention to the originality of a song or who composed it. I usually don’t even have an opinion as to who sang it best.

While I watch television, I’m thinking, the judges are babies. The female judges on the X-factor wear a lot makeup. They represent youth and have a good game for knowing their own limitations and their wealth hides any immaturity. Simons Cowell has matured and he has been less critical of the young singers.

The whole time I am unable to actually hear the girls and boys sing on the show because in the background my darling husband, Bob has picked up the acoustic guitar and plays. Singing songs like ‘Wild Wood Flower.’ A song, I never heard before. He says it is the greatest country song ever.

I’ve heard it before, only ‘cause he sings it whenever he picks up the guitar. He knows other songs, and I like other songs, but that’s not what he plays. I like when he plays ‘Greensleeves, or  Jonny Cash’s, ‘Ring of Fire.’ My Lutheran upbringing loves to sing hymns like, ‘What Child is This,’ during the Christmas season. I happen to know Mary J. Blige is not the original composer of that song.

Once, Bob and I, recorded, ‘Ring of Fire,’ for our grandson, Eddie. On one of those recordable page books. Eddie, loves to turn the pages of the recordable book and listen to gran-ma and pawpa sing various folk songs. If you’d like, I’d be happy to make you a book; just let me know. We have a few for sale.

Typically, I don’t sing in public. However, I did sing in my high school choir. I have also, been known to take a shot of tequila and do a little goofing around singing. Last Halloween, at the Monster Bash hosted by a local Westport Tavern, I tried to perform an Amy Winehouse song.

tequilla

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Art, blog, History, Kansas City, Story, Uncategorized

My House The Trading Post & The Phone

1940 Tax Assessor photo, kclibrary.org
1940 Tax Assessor photo, kclibrary.org

Westport was annexed by Kansas City, in 1898, after voters approved it. The town of Westport would cease; but the residents gained better police and fire departments, street lighting and actual streets, and more schools. With the new streets came water lines and electricity. The phone, along with utilities, like water and electricity expanded from 1879 to 1910.

Novice inventors had been playing around with electricity since the 17th Century, for amusement and other zany purposes. It wasn’t until 1820 that a classroom experiment demonstrated an electric current down a wire could move the dial of a compass creating a magnetic field. The brilliant collection of inventions in the 1870’s connected technologies and resulted in the birth of the phone and many other must-have, necessities for life.

Small entrepreneurs started up electric companies.  Electric companies popped up in every corner. However, only the businesses and wealthy residents, in the core of the city could afford the new technology. Power companies consolidated and as another natural monopoly was created, municipal ownership and State registered companies formed. The city was able to provide essential services like electricity to everyone. By 1920, public power had raised the standard of living and brought electric to the rural areas and even to the poorest of households.

Although the concept of the telephone had been on the inventors’ desks since 1853, the telephone didn’t make an impact until electricity became available. In America we give credit to Alexander Bell and his partner Watson for the telephone, and Thomas Edison for lights. Alexander Bell was the first to make it to the patent office to claim the phone. There were actually many working on various projects that together with trial and error became the most used technology.

The house I live in operated as a tavern or saloon and dance hall until 1904, when the streets started to be paved. The neighborhood started to take on a new life. Instead of dusty cowboys needing to quench their thirst, development brought fathers and housewives with children into the tastefully attractive new homes being built. The history of this old Westport trading post building reflects the changes of the community at the time.

The Vogel family owned the land in 1879, acquiring it a piece at a time, from each of the adult Patterson children. Rachael Patterson had won her inheritance claim to the land in 1873. She was an old woman at this time and living with her daughter-in law North of Kansas City. The public tax records of that year indicate that Mrs R Patterson, widow, received $10 for the sale of spirits and rent. This may also mean, that Mrs. Patterson rented the building to Vogel and had to pay a tax because liquor was sold on the property. Vogel was the owner of the saloon at that time.

The Vogel’s had the Patterson farm until 1904 when they sold it to the Charter Oak Lot Company. While crews cleared the land for the new subdivision, the saloon became a spot for a liquid lunch or beer thirty (a phrase for a beer, thirty minutes after work shift ends).

In the last years of the saloon days, a telephone was installed. For the few residents that patron the bar, the phone was a means of messaging to the outside world. A new generation of patrons came to the saloon, he was the street contractor, the crews of men installing the plumbing, electricity, phones, and the tree cutters.The atmosphere wouldn’t have been anything to write home about. The light would have been dim, and the air stale with the smell of liquor and cigar smoke. Items like pickled eggs from a jar and a glass of cold milk might have been the only food available for a working man who might be waiting at the tavern for a call from his family in Illinois.

By 1906, there were 217 homes built on the Vogel land, owned by the Bargain Realty Company. With new residents moving in, the tavern lost appeal. The Vogel family abandoned the saloon. The building was once again sold. This time it became a grocery store. A convenient place for the 217 new homeowners to pick up an item on their grocery list. A mother could send her youngster off to the store with a handwritten note of the items she needed and the store clerk would fill the order and deliver the items himself.

Several men worked at the grocery store. The building was quite large, one large room on the first floor with a double door  entrance under a porch roof. Inside the walls were bare and simple planks of wood lay directly on the dirt beneath. The hum of a motor for the cooler to the meat counter rattled whenever someone stood on just the right floor board. The building, having been moved some 50 years earlier, would have started to sag in places.

Upstairs was divided. The owner rented an apartment to one of the men who worked behind the butcher counter. The other side, leading down to the grocery store, contained the refuge of the years, old bottles and crates, tools and other artifacts; plus the overflow of merchandise from the grocery store. The gentlemen who worked here were cheerful and chatty, they provided delivery service of their goods.

By 1930, everyone  in the neighborhood could afford to have a phone in the house, the store no longer served the community as a place to quench your thirst. The store owner didn’t know your name or let you use his phone for personal use. Outside the building stands a man holding a cardboard, five feet long, with the phone number of the furniture store that occupied the corner of 46th and Bell.

The forgotten wall phone
The forgotten wall phone
Pioneer lunch pail and coffee thermos
 Victorian lunch pail and coffee thermos
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