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!”

DSC_0069

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

My House the Trading Post Blog Time

thelion

The change of season may bring the blues, but the treasures within this house can almost always brighten my mood. In my bed cloths I move from room to room in this huge saloon from long ago. I carry a load of laundry through Bob’s law office. I get the load in the washer. I drop a quarter into the juke box. A 1954 Wurlitzer plays my selection, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” With no one in sight, I dance and sing along.

Not your traditional law office

Not your traditional law office

A 1954 Jukebox, left behind by, plays only 50's tunes.

A 1954 Jukebox, left behind by, plays only 50’s tunes.

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 Masterson and Boone that I write about.

Not everything I post will be part of the book, “My House The Trading Post, Its History.” The audience for my book are my friends and children, specifically, my grandson. The earlier items I posted presented more historically accurate information directly from the history books. The historic nature of this property has not been officiated, but a line of communication has been established with the National Historic Registry Board.

I know for a fact that Bob Seiger, Robin Williams, Rick Spring=+#, BB King, and a song writer guy from ABBA, John Luke Pontic, Pee Wee Herman, One of the guys from ZZ Top, Bonnie Rate and Jackson Brown, to name a few that have been here to jam.  The last group of celebrities were brought here by my husband Bob, who is a musician when he isn’t practicing law. In fact, Bob claims that right after Jackson Brown jammed in the house, he wrote a hit song about a mean lawyer, shortly after his visit here. Bob says his time spent with Robin Williams the comedian, had him in hysterics; they visited the US Toy Store for Robin to get some props for his act (appearing at the Kansas City Comedy Club). There wasn’t an isle in the toy store that didn’t put Bob to tears. A private, rehearsed comedy routine, a memory trapped in Bob’s head.

My husband Bob, would like to be a full-time golfer, but practicing law pays the bills.  The celebrities Bob knows are still alive. I won’t be writing much about their time here, because such information could be incriminating since it was a different era when they partied here.

Bob Simons playing with Romantics, pictured on right

Bob Simons playing with Romantics, pictured on right

1900 Saloon

1900 Saloon

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Santa Fe Native Americans

Santa Fe Native Americans4547-BellMy House

The Native Americans display their hand-made jewelry along the sidewalk in Santa Fe New Mexico. When I travel to New Mexico from Missouri, I like to imagine what the trip was like for the pioneers. However, my heart breaks when I visit the Indian reservations. I tend to buy everything they try to sell me.

My house once served as a trading post, owned by a man of Native American ancestry, at the time of the Santa Fe Trail. Westport Kansas City no longer has a Native American presence. The only hunting that takes place are by the shoppers that stroll by the brick buildings with awnings and neon signs.

Old Westport sign at the corner of Wesport Road and the traffficway.

Old Westport sign at the corner of Westport Road and the trafficway.

There are no tall buildings in Westport. At the corner of Southwest Trafficway and Westport Road, an old wagon is preserved under the ‘Old Westport sign.’ Although, the streets are quiet during the day, the days of gun-toting renagades are not necessarily gone. I was out shopping and saw a man bend over to pick up his toddler, and out poked his hand gun. At night, sounds of emergency sirens and train whistles echo. There are occasional gun shots in the night.

The police set up DUI check points at each end of Westport. Fools like my 20 something year old son, will try to run from the cops, if under the influence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out into the night to rescue him drunk hiding in the bushes behind the Catholic Church, “Mommy, come get me.” It is hard not to help when I actually hear the police sirens in my neighborhood, and the phone rings with my only son saying the police are after him. An unarmed party boy, he will never grow up.

The front of the Westport St. Gabreil Catholic Church

The front of the Westport St. Gabriel Catholic Church

My son.

My son.

Young people come out at night to enjoy the music and dancing at the local taverns. Most of the bars serve food, and have bands play music until close. There are taverns along Westport Road, like Kelly’s Tavern, and McCoy’s Bar and Grill, which have been here since the 1820’s. Within walking distance from me is Cupini’s, an old Italian Restaurant and Market that makes fresh pasta daily. The trendy businesses are tattoo shops, psychic readers, dress stores, art gallery’s, art supplies, and antiques.

Antique Shop

Antique Shop

In Westport you can get your future told
In Westport you can get your future told

There is more than one psychic in town where the future is told. From the way some of the young people dress around here, you may think there has been a zombie apocalypse.  It is hard not to stare at those faces whited out and eyes lined in dark liner on both the girls and the boys. You will see guys in baggy shorts even when it snows. I recognize the face of the homeless guys that sit at the Quick Trip asking everyone passing for their change, but I don’t know them personally. I say, “hi,” but I don’t give money to strangers.

A new neighbor renovates the house several doos down.

A new neighbor renovates the house several doos down.

The construction doesn’t stop. On every block, a house is being renovated. The folks in the West Plaza area try to keep their properties looking good. A new neighbor, several houses down from me has been working on his place all year. Pounding of hammers and sawing, and murmurs of construction workers and then one day the imported Spanish windows arrived. I can’t wait to see what goes on next.

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

My House the Trading Post- Walk Around Town

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

My House The Trading Post and the Crane

Wesport Catholic Church, image from catholichistory.org

Wesport Catholic Church, image from catholichistory.org

How do you feel about work? I often feel like this old fable, The Wolf and the Crane.

“A Wolf who had a bone stuck in his throat hired a crane, for a large sum, to put her head into his mouth and draw out the bone. When the Crane had extracted the bone and demanded the promised payment, the Wolf, grinning and grinding his teeth, exclaimed: “Why, you have surely already had a sufficient recompense, in having been permitted to draw out your head in safety from the mouth and jaws of a wolf.”

An English writer, named, John Ruskin, published his first novel in 1845. He gave a number of lectures and wrote some important books on art and architecture. He devoted himself to work on social problems. He suffered from bouts of madness and his writings expressed that. My private journal sometimes sound ‘like his writing rants. My psychiatrist told me to keep a journal, then she said she didn’t care what was in it, although she thought I was a good writer, the exercise wasn’t intended to be read.

I pout when I have a job, and I pout when I don’t have a job. Not having a job, gives me the freedom to write and read whenever I want.  Ruskin has said, “I have seen and known too much of the struggle for life among the laboring population to feel at ease, even under any circumstances, in inviting them to dwell on the trivialities of my own studies;”

He goes on to say, “No teacher can truly promote the cause of education until he knows the conditions of the life for which that education is to prepare his pupil.”

Westport Missouri, from the time it was formed until present day, has been a working class neighborhood. There is a book about the, “The Battle of Westport, Missouri’s Great Confederate Raid,” by Paul Kirkman.  Wars have taken place, the burning of Mormons, the Mexican War, Civil-War, Women’s Rights and other notable history. A lot has been written on such topics, but as I read the various historic events concerning Westport Missouri, I don’t see enough written about the common working citizen of Westport. (Granted most folks don’t want anyone knowing what they are doing.)  The past owners of this property were young people. This building holds the ghosts of the starter business owners.

I claim its greatest contribution to history is the fact that it just exists. It has to be noted that it is a wood structure. I think it is remarkable that the building has existed this long, because of the number of wars, battles, and fires that took place, and the capitalist nature of cities to knock it down and rebuild.

The history of Kansas City in my opinion, too often come from the stories of the Upper Classes. The history books all discuss the same characters, like; McCoy, McGhee, Yoacham, Boone, Ewing, Vogel, Harris, Wornall, Hickman, Thomas Hart Benten, Samuel C Roby, Henry Clay Pate. Here is a short list of who had a trading post or tavern in Wesport in the year 1845.  It is important to note that this is not a complete census. The town was already, very big by the time the pre-civil war saloon, I live in, was built.

The goal or lifestyle of the residents would have been work.  They were young working class men and women. The first settlers, would have been in their twenties.  As the town grew successful, and Kansas City, dug away the dirt and flattened the cliffs along the Missouri river, the wealthy families moved into new homes and buildings in downtown Kansas City. In downtown Kansas City, they established new public-houses, and built them in a wise manner, with a more expressive display of dignity for such establishments that would sale spirituous liquors.

This was the nature of the city, and has been ever since. Not to be political, but with each new Mayor, Kansas City tends to invest in a new construction project, often centered on building another shopping and entertainment area, as well as new construction for residential housing communities. Problem is, we haven’t run out of land, yet. So we don’t build up, we build out. Creating older, communities that struggle for business. New city projects always bring in the new technology, however, the consumers only seek the basic needs and comforts from Kansas City, because silly, we all can’t be rich. The worker in Kansas City simply picks up his or her lunch pail and heads north, south, east, or west for twenty minutes from where ever they live, and they go to work.

A Saloon’s Treasures In Pictures

A 1954 Jukebox, left behind by, plays only 50's tunes.

A 1954 Jukebox, plays only 50’s tunes.

Antique display case, year ?

Antique display case, year ?

The only way up.

The only way up.

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

My House The Trading Post, The Train Era

My House the Trading Post, The Train Era

Westport Kratz Drug Store
Westport Kratz Drug Store

The train was established in 1854, 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 anouncing her availablility 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 runnig 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 architechture. 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 monoply” 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 quinch 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’s 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.

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

Notable Figure of the American Old West

Notable Figure of the American Old West

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Bat Masterson, was a sheriff and notable figure of the American Old West, best known as a gambler, at the trading post I call home. William Barclay Masterson or “Bat”, was also a buffalo hunter and sports editor and columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph.

The Sheriff ‘Bat,’ is a legend, and I believe he made his way to this establishment, in his day. It is towns, like Westport (Kansas City), where gun-toting gamblers, like Bat, had a good time. The gentleman, that once worked here at the turn of the Century, told Bob his tales, I am passing on. Bat was indeed a gambler, and that is what was popular at the Saloon at the edge of town. The road in front of my house, the trading post, is a direct access route to Kansas, for a cowboy buffalo hunter, like Bat Masterson.

The old Westport tavern, I live in, was suspected of selling whiskey to the Indians and held many heated poker games. It may be his connection to the newspapers and law that “Bat” was able to gamble in a joint like this Old Westport Trading Post and Tavern. Bat lived between 1853 and 1921. He died in New York, however, he has been held a hero in these parts (in Kansas and the Missouri Town Westport).

History says that Bat Masterson survived a gun shot to his pelvis and that he walked with a cane. Wikipedia is quoted as saying the story that he had to carry a cane for the rest of his life as a result of this injury was highly perpetuated by the television series, called, “Bat Masterson,” (Gene Barry played Bat.) The fact is, Dodge City, Kansas Mayor  of 1885, presented Mr. Masterson a gold-headed cane, to honor his service to the city. Bat worked alongside Wyatt Earp, as deputy sheriff in Dodge City, capturing train robbers.

I wish I were a better writer so that I could better describe the look on Pearlean’s face, the employee (of fifteen years) at the Recorder of Deeds, every time we came across a document concerning my house that was tampered with or missing. The research on my house, dating back to 1850, has a few broken paper trails and paths uncovered. Men, who had a foot on both sides of the law, like Bat Masterson, may have helped conceal the activities of an old west saloon like my house.  A discussion with the library staff of the Missouri Valley Room, indicates that the Patterson widow may have left the Kansas City area during the years her land inheritance case was being considered by the court. During this time, the Patterson family allowed others to rent pieces of her land.

There were several buildings in the late 1800’s, which were sold and moved to other locations. Once source, leads me to believe, that my house was operated by an Indian man. He moved his wooden establishment, (a government-funded trading post). Which would fit the story of this place being moved, by mules, and repositioned to be closer to the road.  Another source of further investigation makes the assumption that the house may have actually been the Patterson’s original house. I will be sharing more, as I learn more about the structure, and the inhabitants.

The pioneer woman, like her husband, was not lacking in energy. “Young wives, mothers, and housekeepers, had come, with their husbands to carve out for themselves and their children a home in the unbroken forest and wide prairies of the west.” My house was once part of the Patterson farm, in Westport Missouri, a town formed in 1820. At my house, the trading  post, thousands of travelers have passed by, and stopped in to quench their thirst or talk about town gossip. Making conversation was part of the fun and adventure.

Once upon a time in a place called Westport, in the State of Missouri there lived a beautiful girl, named Liz. She had been orphaned at birth, when her mother passed away from a fever. Her father was a brave Frenchman and fur trapper who was too busy for her, as he often traveled with explorers into Indian Territory as an interpreter. Her mother, who had both Shoshone Indian and Hidatsa, also had French blood, traveled with her husband interpreting and making peace with the Indians. Her mother was a notable figure, her presence often kept war from breaking out between the early settlers and the wild savages. Her Indian mother died leaving, Liz and her brother, four years older.

After the death of her mother, in 1812, Liz and her brother had been adopted by one of the men that her father worked for. Mainly, because, the gentleman had grown fond of her brother and wished to educated him in St. Louis. However, the man, his name being, Mr. Clark, already had children of his own. The Clark’s lived on a large wealthy farm in St Louis with many slaves. That is where Liz, found someone to look after her, a slave mother. Mrs. Clark was not interested in looking after her own children much less the child of an Indian woman. Mrs. Clark had spent most of her time married to an absent husband. It was Mr. Clark’s job to map trails, establish trading posts, and inspire folks to purchase the new territories.

When Liz was 5, her Brother Jean, went to school in Europe, prior to that, when he could, he would play with Liz in the open fields of their St. Louis, Missouri home. However, tragedy came again, when Mrs. Clark passed away. Liz was lost in the crowd. She was not a member of the family, like her brother Jean. Her father, the fur trapper, while still alive and well, did not live in St. Louis, he continued to be an interpreter and hunter. Liz never thought about him, she never knew him; although she never thought of Mr. Clark as a father either, nor did she consider Mrs. Clark her mother.

Liz stood beside her husband to be, wearing a black dress with a small trim of lace around the collar. It had been brought to Westport from Europe by her brother, Jean. Jean had followed in his French father’s footsteps in being a traveler and interpreter. On his way to Ohio, he stopped off in Westport to attend the wedding of his sister. This would be the last time they would ever see each other.

In front of Mr. Andrew P. Patterson, elected Justice of the Peace, of Westport, Missouri, the couple stood taking the vows of marriage. Her husband, was a strapping, young man from the Wyandotte tribe, who worked for the Kansas Agency in Westport Missouri, a government-funded trading post. He had met Liz at the Patterson’s home.  Liz had lived with them since she was five years old. The year Mr. Clark introduced the distinguished men of St Louis to his exposition papers and convinced Mr. Patterson into investing in a tract of land in Westport.

Liz, at seventeen years old, was younger than the other married girls in town. In 1829, the average age for getting married was at the age of 20. Her husband to be, was 28 years old. She didn’t know what love was, but she wanted the opportunity to find out. Her childhood memories where that of servitude, as she became the scullery maid from the moment she moved into the Patterson’s St. Louis home. The fact that they moved her to Westport, with them, concerned her. She felt hopeless until this day, her wedding.

The man she would marry had just as much of a mixed up heritage as she did. He had been to Europe and done much traveling by the age of 28. He may have had a mix of free-black blood, Indian blood, and French. He was well-educated, and was successful because of his ability to communicate with the Indians. The Census of 1830, documented him as the only Indian Man in town. However, fine gentlemen, like Chouteau,  Vogel, and other Frenchman, in town, respected this man, as any other, white man. Mr. Patterson, and John McCoy, the older generation of Westport were no exception. He carried himself with dignity. He settled in Westport, because he was not fond of wilderness travel. And found the Indians of Missouri and Kansas, at the time, to be very easy to work with. He was a valuable interpreter. Running the trading post in town was about as much wilderness as he wanted. With his new wife, he would be able to build on to his business.

The American pioneer woman was treated like a fellow worker who often took second place to the men in the family. When the Patterson family came to the Westport area, husband and wife, brothers and sisters, all worked in an unfamiliar hostile environment where the trees needed to be removed, their two-story home would have to be built, and all the while the men would carry on with wars, disputes, and fights. Flash floods or fires were also a threat. It wasn’t until her wedding, as Liz saw Racheal Patterson in the corner of her eye, did she realize the women who taught her household duties of every sort and how to sew, was her friend.

The woman formed bonds of friendship that boast loyalty and companionship. The people from Westport and Independence were in constant contact with one another. Close relationships with families in the St. Louis community were common.  Many of these women started to organize official groups, and keep written records of their contributions. In 1870, a small group of women formed a philanthropic social group and purchased a building in downtown Kansas City, just to hold meetings, after their membership grew. Women had the right to own property, run businesses, and make leaps in the years following. The social clubs formed by women were prosperous over the years. These women formed orphanages, schools, brought art and literary opportunities to the community, and constantly improved with current events.

The Native Americans, were being pushed west into settlements between 1830 and 1890.  The Kickapoo Indian were moved from Wisconsin to Kansas in 1830, while the Iowa Indians were being pushed out of Illinois. The town of Westport Missouri started to grow even faster between 1854 and 1861 when the Kansas region was opened for white settlements. The country established the railroad in 1854 and a new chapter begins.

The Old Westport City Hall, looks similar in shape to my house.
The Old Westport City Hall. Andrew P. Patterson was elected Westport Justice of the Peace, and served from 1828-1830.
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Bob Simons, guitar player with Romantics, pictured on right

Bob Simons, guitar player with Romantics, pictured on right

My House the Trading Post, has introduced readers to my home town of Westport, Kansas City. The area boasts a rich history as the oldest established community in Kansas City. More than 150 years ago, Westport marked the passage into the Western Frontier and set the foundation for what it is today. The neighborhood’s historic past is fused with creative individuals, quaint houses, thriving shops, fashionable boutiques, local eateries, and hot night-spots.

Bob Simons, is the current owner of the saloon built-in 1853 that served early Westport and the Santa Fe trail. It has been rebuilt to accommodate the practice of law, music, and art-all at the same time.

Bob is an attorney at law. He has practiced criminal defense and family law in Kansas City, MO for more than 40 years. He is also a fantastic guitar player who has appeared many times at Starlight Theater, the Uptown, and similar venues with B.B King, Ray Charles, the Romantics, and the like. Presently, he plays pedal steel guitar with Max Groove, New Age Jazz and R&B keyboardist.

He also regards himself an artist. He has shown painting, photography, and sculpture from time to time in Kansas City, Santa Fe, Sedona, and Denver. He receives royalties for his photographs displayed in art textbooks written by professor Stone. Students at the Kansas City Art Institute are sometimes introduced to Bob’s interior design style on their spring field trip to our house. At present, Bob finds it more fun to make dollhouses for me and our grandson.

Bob playing pedal steel guitar

Bob playing pedal steel guitar

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

My House The Trading Post 2.2

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