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

The Belles of Westport My House The Trading Post

IMG_2899In 1909, Mrs. Carrie Westlake Whitney, the librarian, wrote of her account of her first visit to Westport (1881), “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.”

My house the trading post, in Westport (Kansas City, Missouri), once catered to the families of sturdy, good people, whose life was that of the frontier. The rules and manners of the parties attended, were at the discretion of the host. A party at the old Westport saloon would have involved 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.

With the room lite with candles that “shone brightly upon the fair maidens with glossy water-falls, delaine tissue dresses, hoop skirts and family jewels.” 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 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.

Fashion in KC-Westlake

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 post merchants, saloon owners, and farmers. The Santa Fe trade made these families wealthy. Their parties were legendary and drew in all the prettiest girls.

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, pulled by one of the girl’s own personal riding horses.  The women sat on rush bottom chairs around a quilting frame while stitching in different areas. In the company of the other quilters, pioneer women, brought up with cortly manners and elegances, kept their words polite.

Belles

The Belles of Kansas City, Missouri in 2014, are beautiful, well-mannered ladies, with charisma and a flair for taking pictures. Among the popular activities in Kansas City for kids to do include, playing soccer, hanging out at the Plaza and Union Station, and joining a modeling class. Here are a few more photos:

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

What Boys Like, my house the trading post

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Kansas City pecans are some of the tastiest nuts around. The nuts are sweet and oil rich compared to southern states. Missouri river towns, like Kansas City, offer fertile soil and sunny conditions for pecan trees. Many pecan trees were planted in the 1800s.

We have a friend who has a pecan tree; he gathers up a bag full that have fallen to the ground. The shucks starting to split open. It is easy to remove the shells. The price of pecans at the local grocery store is about $18 a pound. I wouldn’t pay that much. I enjoy my nuts fresh and free from the ground. Making pecan pie from scratch is often cheaper and tastier.

Since our friend dropped off a bag of pecans and our pet duck (Squeaky) has started laying eggs again, I needed to do something with these God given gifts. As a food ‘snob’ I prefer store bought chicken eggs for breakfast. However, anything with enough sugar in it, I’ll eat. My husband never objects to anything I serve.

I know what boys like. They like my pecan pie. So here’s my recipe for Pecan Pie. Enjoy!

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PECAN PIE
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Corn Syrup
2 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/4 cups pecans

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup fake butter/ shortening
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
4 tablespoon cold water

Make the pie crust first (or use a prepared pie crust). 
In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. 
Next, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until pieces are the size of a small pea. 
Combine the vinegar and water and slowly sprinkle into the flour. 
Gather the moistened  dough into a ball, refrigerate for ten minutes or more.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. 
Place all the pecans on a greased cookie sheet/baking sheet. 
Roast pecans for a few minutes, carefull not to burn. Cool.

Beat the 3 eggs in a medium bowl. 
Add brown sugar, corn syrup, melted margarine, vanilla, and nutmeg. 
Stir in pecans. 

Roll out pie crust and line a pie pan. 
Pour pecan mixture into pie crust. 
Bake 50 minutes. 
A knife inserted into the edge should come out clean.

Serve warm, cold, with ice-cream, or just on plate. 
Yummy!

SQ-qnd-Eddie
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blog, History, Kansas City, Story

1864, my house the trading post

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Just south of Kansas City, near the frontier town of Westport, thirty thousand men fought in the fields and hills along the Kansas border. On the rooftops the non-combatant families watched the clouds of smoke rising from the fields and listened in terror to the furious roar of cannons and the cracking of pistols.

The great battle of the Civil War started shortly before noon where the Country Club golf course is today. The troops charged upon the artillery of the Confederate guns. Among the men of Westport who enlisted for the Union army were a head master of the school, mayor of Kansas City, members of the School Board and several pupils.

Young eyes peered over the edge of the roof, safe in her mother’s arms. Families huddled on the roof. A fearful melee of plunging horses, the incessant ding of muskets, and shouting men increased in the man-to-man encounter. For hours cannons were firing at the rebels. The fighting carried on through the night.

The next morning, the road from the state line going south was littered with discarded gear left by the withdrawing forces. The fighting would continue for days throughout the hillside as troops continued to retreat south. Business continued in Westport with a wagon train and beef herd leaving the same morning which shielded some of the retreating Confederate troops traveling along state line.

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My house the trading post stood strong during the battle of Westport, serving as a sanctuary with a stadium view of the bloody events. One half of the roof is a peak, the other half is flat. In the summer I enjoy sunbathing on the roof and taking in the scenery. I can see for miles from the roof just as the residence during the 1864 Civil War battle in Westport.

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

Streets Covered In Snow

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I think the Kansas City Mayor follows my blog. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog story about the three snow trucks in a row. The snowplows were barely skimming the pavement. It appeared that the Kansas City snowplows were traveling too fast and the shovel wasn’t engaged low enough to move any snow off the street. I also twittered their technique didn’t look right and that the ‘Kansas’ side was clear.

This morning the snow laid on the ground, all the neighborhood covered in white. The Kansas City snow plow trucks are out and working. They just did my neighborhood. I didn’t expect the street to be clear’d so soon. In fact, I had cancelled my doctor appointment because of the snow.

In Westport Missouri, an icy snow is several inches thick on the roads, and unlike the last time the snowplows are doing a much better job. I love the snow. I don’t like the cold.

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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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Call The Doctor, my house the trading post

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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.

getimage.exeBy 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.

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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

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Streets Covered In Snow

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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.

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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.

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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.

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