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

Water, My House The Trading Post

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The water has always concerned me. U.S Congressman Sam Graves has made inquiries with the Environmental Protection Agency for an explanation of communities in violation of new ozone standards. Graves noted that the EPA included Clinton and Clay Counties on the list in 2008, because they had dropped the 80 parts per billion to 75 parts per billion on the ozone threshold. His concern was not for the safety of the community but that a smaller community could not afford to comply. This is unfortunate because the smaller community has experienced strange health concerns. However, no two health events were the same or repeatable in another.

As a mother, and a child that grew up in the Missouri town with the “suspected” tainted water, I can tell you I have always thought that there was something wrong with the Cameron water. And have spent most of my life not drinking water because of it. The town is divided, nearly down the middle, as to the safety of the water. I, for instance, feel it is not safe. My background, clinical laboratory scientist and my first husband the city water tester for Elwood, Kansas. The water was frequently tainted, and a boil order issued.

Congressman Sam Graves gave the EPA a tour of the County. That lady, Erin Brockovick, came to town and told every one that the Chromium 6 concentrations were high and caused from a nearby tannery that sold farmers sludge as fertilizer. I do not know what more was done. Only 776 health cases were identified in 2008. My daughter, suffers from a health concern that doctors have not been able to help with. And no one has taken my daughter’s issue as a concern of the water, but they should have, or I should have.

Does history repeat itself? Are selfishness and negativity put aside for the good of all the people?

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

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

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.

wine glasses

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, Story, Uncategorized

My House the Trading Post Welcomes Strangers

The Kitchen.  Bar stools from early days.

The Kitchen. Bar stools from early days.

A topic I am not comfortable writing about… is the lives of the slaves. I’ll discuss here under working class neighborhood. Nearly every family in Westport Missouri between 1830 and 1860, had two slaves per household.

I include this section as it is significant because on the map of Westport, in 1829, there are two spellings for the name Patterson; or there were two Paterson families registered living on the same land parcel. The map had the name Paterson, with one t printed in pencil. However, on all other documents regarding the land, the name Patterson, is written with two ts. The Census registers a black man, at the time as named, Paterson. The census also shows the Patterson household has eight members, with seven listed as white. Under slaves the box is left empty. The map shows a pencil drawing of a dwelling, which happens to have the shape of my two-story building. (The map is inside every book about Kansas City, or Westport- and available in real at the Missouri Valley Room).

Mr. A. Patterson and his family came from St. Louis Missouri, where they lived in an area with large plantations.  Patterson was also elected the Justice of Peace in Westport Kansas City in 1828. Before he died in 1930, he officially married two couples. One of those couples was the owner of a trading post. The other was the owner of a furniture store. After Mr. Patterson died, parts of his land were rented. Both a black businessman, as well as Indian, leased the land.

History tells us that black men and women adopted the last names of their slave owners. Occasionally, slave owners fathered children with the slaves. Accounts of slaves during this time, like Mammy Pleasant, tell stories of her reliance on powerful men like Judges, and her time spent between adjoining plantations in Missouri.

White families continued to hire full-time domestic help throughout the years of 1860 until about 1960. Many African-American blacks, at the time my house the trading post was build, were free. There may be a link between the Patterson family and the Paterson family. I would like to collaborate with someone who is an authority. A lot went on in the early days.

The African-American black men and women of Westport Missouri would have had various talents, like the culinary arts, and business skills. As a slave, they may have been sold many times and with each new owner they would have learned new skills. Taverns with a reputation for having an outstanding cook, could make a fortune.

The Slaves ran the kitchens, in the year 1853; the year this house was built. Freed slaves, often found themselves in position of servitude, even for a fee. It was a difficult chore for a single person to prepare meals without help. The kitchens would have consisted of an open fireplace with a huge pot hanging from a crane as the stove. The frying pans covered in suet. A pointed rod with an iron handle would be near by to hold meats over the fire. In the tavern there would have been one main open room with a fireplace at one end. That area would be known as the kitchen.

During the various years, there would have been no reason to keep an employment record for someone who came to the backdoor looking for a job. Those parts of history will be lost. In addition, it is fortunate that the wooden pre-civil war saloon has survived tragedy like fire. Many Westport properties were lost in those early years to fire.

Missouri had both slave owners and Abolitionists.  Gatherings in homes formed networks to support the antislavery movement. In 2013, a small town north of Kansas City uncovered a tunnel under their small city. The forgotten passage ran the length of the town, from the railroad station to the park. The park was once the location of a large university. I was driving through town when I noticed a commotion and stopped to hear the town gossip. No further news has been given the citizens. Such a passage could have been used for Abolition activities, also known as the Underground Railway, which provided the escape points from slavery.

The kitchen today, of my home, is beautifully modern. It is my favorite part of the house.

Missouri Plantation Recipe for Persimmon Beer, (1859, Mammy Pleasant)

Be sure the persimmons are fully ripe. Remove from them the stalk ends and the interior calyxes. Then mash the fruit and add enough wheat bran to make stiff dough. Form the dough into thin flat cakes and bake until crisp. Then break the cakes up into clean wooden barrels and fill them with water. Set the barrels upright and cover them with thin white cloths and set them in a place which is warm and dry. The cakes will rise to the tops and begin to foam. Three or four weeks later the barrels must then be moved to a cold place and wooden covers put on them. To make certain of success, toast dipped in yeast can be put into barrels with the persimmon cakes.

Nephew, Kyle

Nephew, Kyle

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