Knock and I will answer. If you like my post, I will like yours. If you comment on my blog, I will reply. I’m just lonely and I’m waiting for you.
The physicians were dispersed among the first pioneers of Westport. Some were college educated; others acquired their skills while working for an established practitioner. In 1881, twelve of the Kansas City physicians were women. Physicians served as specialist, surgeon, oculist, and dentist; treating every phase of bodily ailment. Most practiced medicine until their death. Westport physicians were well-known for their ability to patch up a man after a gun fight. The territory was continually harassed by predatory bandits before the civil war.
The first hospital wasn’t a great structure of lavish and remarkable architectural beauty. The first hospital was nothing more than an old Westport trading post. The two-story wood structure was converted by the Catholic nuns as an infirmary accommodating twenty patients.
The old Kansas City Hospital, founded in 1870, was located at Twenty-Second street and McCoy streets. In 1884, a new brick edifice was erected. The city council approved funds to build a two-story brick building in 1895. The building housed the surgical department and women’s ward. At the time, the city physician managed the city hospital. His subordinates were the in-house surgeons, and medical graduates and their assistants and stewards. The supervisory management rests with the board of health.
The board of health, in 1895, consisted of the heads of the municipal departments. The mayor was the ex officio president of the board, with the city physician as executive officer. The subordinate officers were a city chemist, a health officer, a milk and food inspector and a meat inspector. Those officers reported to the city physician.
By 1908, the new City hospital was a six-story brick fortress-like building. Built of gray brick laid in white mortar, the fireproof structure is pictured on 23rd street, facing north. McCoy street is on the east.
St. Joseph’s hospital was founded in 1875, by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The building was completed in 1886 and was situated at 710 Penn street. It was modern for its time, having a an x-ray machine, and equipment of those in other metropolitan hospital. Much of the equipment was a gift by Dr. Griffith. The St. Joseph hospital was able to hold 100 patients. by the 1900’s. Abundant provisions were made to charity cases and accommodation of any patient or persons of all religions, all were admitted without question.
Signing up for healthcare was disappointing. I still can’t go to the doctor, and my headaches and nausea are getting worse. I enrolled in the healthcare.gov, after several attempts, finally got recognized by the system. I qualify for free coverage with a $6500 deductible. I think that means I have to pay $6500 out-of-pocket expenses first, before the insurance company will kick in their share. I will not be going to the doctor, because I have empty pockets.
While I am not willing to spend money on my healthcare, I just took my pet duck to the vet. The duck needed surgery, she ate a lot of pennies. I couldn’t bare to see the poor bird suffer. I am looking forward to having Squeaky the Duck home for dinner, but not as the entree.
A fan, and previous resident of the property, provided the following picture of the house in the 1970’s. He set up the old home movie projector and then took this on his cell phone. myhousethetradingpost.wordpress.com
In 2011, FBI agent, William Ousely, involved in the prosecution of organized crime figures of Kansas City, published a book, “Mobsters in Our Midst, The Kansas City Crime Family.” He wrote several books about the mob era, 1900-1980s. In his testimony as an expert witness on mob activities, he claimed his sixth sense alerted him that danger was imminent or something big was going to happen. The existence of a Mafia-like organization has been disputed since the 1950s.
Do you know how funny, (lack of better word) to see your husbands name in a book related to organized crime? Bob Simons, my husband, a Kansas City attorney, has had the misfortune of associating with some of the city’s notorious criminals during his 40 years practice of law. He tells me of the days when favors and money flowed freely; but his secretary was murdered, and his law partner was shot in the head. As he recalls those days, the hair on the back of my neck and all along my arm start to feel like a cool air has passed over.
The historical reality is that the old Kansas City underworld has been a part of the fabric of Kansas City life. Prohibition helped fuel the growth of the vice and corruption between the crime family and the political alliance. The corruption was at the level of the judges of both the federal and Jackson County courts. Mobsters in Kansas City played rough, leaving behind hundreds of bloody stories of gangland activities since the 1900s.
The mobs criminal activities have been referred to as the national alliance of crime families, La Cosa Nostra, the Outfit, or the Clique. By 1931, twenty-six U.S. cities were suspected to have similar crime families that were restricted to men of Italian descent who had political, economic, and good social standing in the community. No crime family has ever referred to itself as the Mafia.
The Italians settled in the Northland of Kansas City. One of the founding fathers was Sicilian-born. In the early 1900s, the Italians of the Northland adhered to the culture and protocols of the Old World Sicilian Mafia. In 1940, Nick Civella was a member of the Kansas City outfit. Many have remained in the shadows, never being identified.
Joe Bonano was identified as the Who’s-Who of Hoods of New York in 1957. Along with, Joe Filardo and Nick Civella, who were identified as being part of the Kansas City Missouri mob family. Kansas City’s organized crime society has tried to avoid scrutiny. Their formula relied on ignorance, forgetfulness, and apathy on the part of the public and their political influence. The sponsors of the mob were members of the business community.
The Bonano family of Kansas City is responsible for the beautiful stone and masonry work in my backyard. Read the Garden of Eden for more about the backyard. Visit my blog again, myhousethetradingpost.wordpress.com for more stories of Kansas City’s unknown past.
From the time the log-cabins fell into disuse and the first frame business and house dwellings began to appear, Kansas City has had fire protection. Few cities have been so fortunate as Kansas City in escaping disastrous fires. In the beginning, neighbor helped neighbor. Later fire companies were formed which were also social organizations. The few men who formed the fire company were associated with both socially and in fighting fires. The head of the fire company’s social order was the foreman.
The first fire company in Kansas City was organized in 1837. After the war, the revival of commercial enterprises and erection of new buildings, came the need for better fire protection. Not long after the water works department had been established the city installed fire hydrants. Today, the Kansas City Fire Department is operated by the city under the command of fire Chief, Paul Berardi. There are 34 fire stations under Kansas City’s seven battalions.
My husband and I have a game we play, taking pictures of the fire truck and the firemen at the local Westport grocery store. We see the fire truck at the grocery store a lot. We try to get a picture of the guys buying junk food and stuff in between emergency and non-emergency calls. We understand that when there is a non-emergency, the fire trucks often have time to stop at the grocery store after going on a call. But their impulsive buying habits make my husband and I laugh.
In Kansas City there is a natural road, the old Indian trail, provides the easiest route for me to drive about the city. There are two nice highways, constructed, in the Twentieth Century. Interstate-35, North and South, zips through the city. Interstate-70 takes drivers East and West. However, the Indian trail, now paved, consist of a variety of inner city streets that are often S-shaped or at an angle to the block streets that dip and rise throughout the city.
During the cow town years, the clay roads became impassable when wet. In 2014, the streets in the “bottoms” still flood. The city around Westport floods. The cement city cannot absorb the rainwater fast enough on most rainy days. Many drivers have lost their cars and lives in Kansas City due to high water. I have been caught in such a scary situation before.
Your heart is racing, the streetlights providing the only light to guide you. Unless the transformers have blown up, lighting strikes out the streetlights. The darkness hides the dips in the road that are under water; if you drive into a street under water there is a chance your car will float away into a deep ditch and sink. I’ve seen it happen before my very eyes. With the children still young, screaming at the top of their lungs in the back seat, out of fear for their life.
This morning the snow laid on the ground, all the neighborhood covered in white. I love the snow. I also love to drive in the snow, or at least I don’t mind it. My husband and son were not as thrilled that I drive at all. I drive a Mustang. I am an old’ fashioned girl; every woman in 1850 owned her own pony. I own a modern pony.
My son was late for work; he needs to get up an hour early to be able to ride the bus to work. He rightfully lost his drivers license (years ago), and walks to most of his destinations. The metro bus driver zoomed past his stop, earlier in the morning at 1:00 am.
E-mo had just gotten off work. Pappa John’s is right in front of the Metro Bus stop, so E-mo knows the bus had not stopped yet. He stood in the dark of the night, the snow falling, and the streets becoming harder to maneuver. The metro bus came roaring down the street. E-mo was the only person standing on the sidewalk, among the white snow, his black and red Pappa Johns hat obvious below the streetlight. The bus drove past him, never stopping.
Behind the bus traveled three cars. The first car passed by. E-mo put out his thumb to hitch a ride. The second car had three men swerving in the snow, laughed and flipped E-MO off. The third car was a Jimmy John’s delivery car. All appeared to pass E-mo by in the snow, so early in the morning. E-mo looked up, and saw that the first car that drove behind the bus had stopped. The car was backing up, he was coming back to pick him up. E-mo had a ride.
The driver was an out of town man, driving a rental. He was Asian and had a bit of an accent. E-mo thanked the man for picking him up. Promised to give the man a free pizza if he’d like to visit Pappa John’s and buy a pizza. The man appreciated the offer, however, he was just in town for a business meeting and wouldn’t be staying long. The stranger seemed to know the streets, like he’d been to Kansas City before. I prayed for the stranger after he dropped Emo off at the house.
The stranger was now in the oldest part of town. The streets dip and rise to an elevation that is impossible to drive up. In the distance I can hear the tires of a car stuck in the snow. The city plow trucks will not be done with the streets for many hours.
The morning comes too soon, when it snows; E-mo overslept, and needed a ride to work. His only option was for me to drive him in the snow with my Mustang. I was up, dressed, and warming up my car. My husband shaking his head “no.” My son dragging his feet in the snow wishing I didn’t have to drive him. He was scared. Bad memories from the days of the flash floods. Snow is different.
I learned how to drive, growing up in Chicago, my birthday, is December 21. Do I have to give any more references to my snow driving qualifications? I can out drive any Missouri driven SUV or 4WD, on a snow day. Do not get in the car with me on a bright, clear, warm, sunny day; then my mind wanders and I drive like an idiot.
The first route I took the tires on the Mustang spun and spun; however I was proud to have gotten up the hill further than the Camaro that I passed. I turned the Mustang into a driveway, backed up into the street and headed down hill. The car picked up speed and I used the slippery snow to make the turn at the bottom of the hill. My son holding on to the dashboard and the side handle of the door. Taking a one-lane, Side Street that is rotted with potholes, now smooth in the snow. I ride the car through the stop sign so that it will pick up speed and make it up to Rainbow Boulevard. I’m in Kansas now. In Kansas, they have all their streets cleared of the snow. I have to get back over to Missouri, and up to 20th street.
I turned onto Westport Road, merging back into Missouri, the snow is several inches thick on the roads, and the plows are in front of us; three trucks in a row. The snowplows were barely skimming the pavement. It appears that the Kansas City snowplows are traveling too fast and the shovel isn’t engaged low enough to move any snow off the street. I’m driving and thinking their technique doesn’t look right. Then I turn onto McGee, and 20th, and drop Emo off in front of Pappa John’s Pizza.
The return trip was uneventful, except I followed three more snowplow trucks that were driving in a row without the shovels low enough to move snow off the street.
Sunday, in Kansas City, is like a ghost town. The buildings look empty. The streets are lacking of people. The lonely cars parked along the streets, the only indication people are near by.
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.
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.
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.
These 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.
My House the Trading Post, The Train Era
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.