Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why do we visit cemetery's?

I read a article in the KC Star today about visiting cemetery's and keeping the memories of our loved one's alive-
"I was sitting on this wall gazing out over the cemetery, and all of a sudden I got it." "Our DNA is intrinsically intertwined in this property, integrated in this property. The spirits of my ancestors continue to exist here in this property, so I find, like my grandfather, I now come here for stength, I come here to commune with them"
Wayne Parks
Ex-slaves cemetery Arlington, VA.

Parks grandfather repeatedly took him, as a young child to the cemetery to explain the bond.

I think that is why Dad went to visit Marty there for over 40 years "the bond" between Dad, Mom and Marty had been moved there in Aug. 1966. Now, we go there to commune with Mom, Dad and Marty to keep the their spirits alive.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Every Time It Rains I Think of Mom

I think of Mom everytime it rains. She loved the nice cool rain. I think it went back to the days without an air conditioner and I can relate to that! After Dave and I got married and moved to a  "mobile" in the early 70's home we did not have A/C, Marty and I went through some hot, hot days! I would just be extactic when it rain and cooled off in the summer!

I found this song on the CD with Mom's song "When I get where I'm going"

Brad Paisley, Rainin' You Lyrics

When I looked out today

And saw that the sky was gray

I thought about the way

You loved days like this

And driving in to town

It really started coming down

Bringing me back around

To all that I miss

It feels like it's rainin' you

It feels like it's rainin' you

I didn't even run inside

Or worry about staying dry

Besides theres nowhere I can hide

From these feelings now

Running down my face

Takes me to another place

I can't think of a better way to drown

It feels like it's rainin' you

I can't explain it

But I am baptized anew

It feels like it's rainin' you

If I had my way

It would do this every day

I would never see the sun

Because the closest I get

To holding you again

Is every time that sky opens up

It feels like it's rainin' you

I can't explain it

But I am baptized anew

It feels like it's rainin' you

It feels like it's rainin' you

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Missouri Hall 1888 - 1940

Dr. C.A. Rockwood moved to Nevada in 1870, where he was assistant surgeon for the Missouri Pacific Railway. He was one of the first residents of the town, and built Nevada's first modern hotel on the northeast corner of the square in 1879. The "Hotel Rockwood" hosted many social events in the late 1800s, and is the oldest building on the square today.

Dr. Rockwood built his home, which would later become Missouri Hall, around 1888. Later, he served as a representative of Nevada's city council and was frequently asked to be mayor. (He always declined.)

Missouri Hall was one of Cottey's first dormitories, sitting across the street from Main Hall. The mansion housed some of Nevada's most notable citizens before being purchased by the P.E.O. Sisterhood in 1928. It served as a sanitarium, a home, and a boarding house before it burned down in 1940.

Rockwood died suddenly from a brain aneurysm in 1896 and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery in southern Nevada.

In 1896 Belle Rockwood sold their house to A.B. Cockerill the following year.


A.B. Cockerill & family, c. 1910. Back: Missouri "Zoula" McIlhany Cockerill, A.B. Cockerill. Front: Henry Clay Cockerill, Missouri Robinson.

Almond Boswell Cockerill

A.B. Cockerill came to Nevada to head the local lead-zinc smelter operation in 1888. By 1896, he owned his own business, the Cockerill Zinc Company.

In 1900, Cockerill was forced to close the Nevada zinc smelter due to rising coal prices.This did not stop him from donating the clock for the new Vernon County courthouse in 1908, though.The arrival of natural gas to Nevada in 1911 was the final straw for coal burning smelters like Cockerill's. Unfortunately, A.B. Cockerill's success did not last. By 1910 his company was bankrupt, due to rising ore prices and tariffs. Cockerill moved to Bridgeport, Alabama to manage a cement plant, and died less than a year later. The former Cockerill mansion was turned over to the Kansas City Life Insurance Company.

He died a poor man and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery.

The Cockerill mansion, c. 1910.6 (Courtesy Damon Waring)

After Cockerill's remodeling,

c. 1910.7 Note the dog on the sidewalk. (Courtesy Damon Waring.)

Inside the Cockerill house (likely the drawing room), c. 1900. (Courtesy Damon Waring.)
The Cockerill children, c. 1906. (Lalla, Florence, Maggie, Nellie, Zoula, Harry. Courtesy Damon Waring.)

Zoula's Wedding

The Cockerills celebrated three weddings in their home, including that of oldest daughter Zoula to James Benjamin Robinson on October 18th, 1899. An article in the Nevada Daily Mail declared it the most beautiful wedding the town had ever seen. Innumerable roses filled the house and perfumed the air, and "myriads of lights shone softly through tinted shades." Before the ceremony, V.A.C. Stockard's stepdaughter, Kate Stockard, sang "Thine" with Mary Birdseye providing the violin accompaniment. The couple's vows were read in front of the bay window of the drawing room, followed by a reception in the dining hall.

A couple pages from Zoula Cockerill and J. Ben Robinson's wedding book, 1899. Kate Stockard signed it as part of the bridal party.

The Bryan Banquet

Famed politician and orator William Jennings Bryan stayed at the Cockerill house several times, including the time he spoke at Lake Park Springs (Radio Springs Park) in 1901. Bryan traveled to Nevada in May of that year to take part in the town's Chautauqua series. Upon finishing his address in the park's airy auditorium that day, he was escorted to the Cockerill residence for an elegant banquet. The guest list included some of the town's most respected citizens, including Harry C. Moore, Professor Weltmer of the Weltmer Institute, and Mayor S.A. Wight. Before beginning dinner, the Cockerills, Bryan, and most of the other guests posed for a photo in front of the house (see below).

The building was decorated especially for Mr. Bryan's visit. The front pillars were draped in streamers of red, white, and blue. Roses filled the entrance hall with vibrant color and fragrance, and a picture of Bryan hung above the fireplace. In the dining room, white ribbon garlands and vases of white carnations adorned the table, with candles set on each corner. Underneath was a tablecloth of "Mexican drawn work" over white silk. A circle of smilax was suspended from the chandelier.

The guest of honor sat to the right of A.B. Cockerill for the sumptuous spread. Cockerill spared no expense for the banquet, which included mangoes, frog saddles with tartar sauce, and ox tongue.  Cockerill's oldest daughters Zoula and Nelle aided in the serving.

The Cockerill Smelters, c. 1910.


William Jennings Bryan poses with the Cockerills and friends in front of the house on May 15, 1901.

By 1912 the house was sold to Dr. J.M. Yater and Dr. V.O. Williams, who transformed it into a hospital, as the following announcement states:

The Vernon Sanitarium, located at Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, for the treatment of selected cases of Nervous and Mental Diseases under the management of Doctors V. O. Williams, and J. M. Yater, will be open for the reception of patients, August 1, 1912.

Much of the building was remodeled to suit the needs of the sanitarium. The large rooms of the two upper floors were partitioned into smaller ones, and an elevator was installed. The first floor was left undisturbed, save a small fire that ruined the rose silk panels in the drawing room.

The hospital passed through many hands over the years. After Dr. Williams died in 1916, his spouse, Ann Harding Williams, sold her half interest to Dr. W.R. Summer.1 Dr. Summer in turn sold his share to Dr. N.I. Stebbins in 1918, and Dr. Yater did the same in 1919. Dr. E.R. King bought the hospital from Dr. Stebbins in 1923 only to sell it back to him two years later.

In 1927, Dr. Stebbins redecorated and refurnished the sanitarium, adding new medical equipment. He invited Nevada physicians and their wives to a reception in the building, which included entertainment provided by the Cottey College glee club. Despite these improvements, Vernon Sanitarium was shut down for good in 1929.

Dr. Joseph Mason Yater
Dr. J.M. Yater cofounded Vernon Sanitarium in 1912 with Dr. V.O. Williams.

In the early twentieth century, Dr. Yater was a director of Thornton National Bank. In 1919-1920, he served on the Board of Managers and the Honorary Medical Advisory Board of State Hospital (the insane asylum) in Nevada. He was also a general practitioner in Nevada, holding office in the Yater building on the square.
He married Edna Smith Yater and they lived at 612 West Cherry Street. They had twin girls in 1918, Marye Adams and Jane Hays.Both girls attended Cottey College, and Marye later worked at Cottey for 28 years in food service. (Marye passed away recently, in October of 2008.)

Dr. Yater died on February 6, 1947, just days past his 80th birthday, and is buried in Deepwood Cemetery.13

The Thornton National Bank building stands on the southwest corner of the square. The original Thornton Bank was erected in 1869. This building was demolished in 1928 and replaced with the present structure. Thornton Bank lasted over 100 years, but now the structure is home to the Fox Playhouse theater.

Yater Building 1965
                                                           Yater Building Today

On the west side of the square stands the Yater building, named after Dr. J.M. Yater, who likely held office there in the 1920s through 1940s.1 On its first floor, the building housed many shoe stores in the early 1900s, including King's, Hamilton, and Middelkamp's. In 1928, a Piggly Wiggly moved in. In later years it housed the Renwick Insurance Agency, and is now home of the Allstate office.

                                           The original building housed King's Shoe Store, c. 1910

                                         South side of King's Shoe Store, c. 1910

                                               "Yater" engraving on top of building, 2005.

Dr. Vincil Orsino Williams

Dr. V.O. Williams cofounded Vernon Sanitarium with Dr. Yater in 1912, but died a mere four years later. His death remains a bit of a mystery, as no conclusive cause is given on his death certificate. He was apparently found dead in his "motor car" on June 24th, 1916 at the age of 36. (It seems that no doctor examined him before he was interred — only the coroner, M.E. Ferry.)

In a strange coincidence, six months before his death, Dr. Williams examined the body of Mary Innis after she committed suicide at Radio Springs Park. (Mary was a student at Cottey College at the time.)

Miss Grace Takes Own Life
In the fall of 1915, Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard was asked to admit an atypical student. Myrtle Grace Innis (called "Grace Innis" in the Daily Mail) had been ill for eight years when she applied to Cottey. She lived at 717 East Ashland Street in Nevada, but asked to board at Cottey because she could not walk that far. Although Grace was considered a great responsibility, Alice admitted her. She seemed to be doing well and in good spirits, at least until December.

Grace was home for the holidays on December 20th. Her mother went Christmas shopping in town that afternoon, leaving Grace at home. Around 4:00 p.m., Grace phoned Howard & Cress Garage for a car to take her to the square. She was driven to Miller & Hopkins Drug Store, where she bought bottles of carbolic acid, ether, and milk of magnesia. Miss Grace then directed the driver to drop her off a Cottey, where she began to walk the eight blocks to Radio Springs Park.

Miss Uhler, a young lady on her way home from school, spotted Grace going down the East Hill (present-day BIL Hill) toward the lake. Some minutes later, Miss Uhler and her mother heard screams coming from the park. They ran out of their home by the lake to find Grace wringing her hands and crying that she had taken carbolic acid. It was speculated that Grace drank the acid and then waded into the lake, where the cold water shocked her back to her senses. The two Uhler ladies helped Grace to their cottage and called for a doctor at the Vernon Sanitarium. When Drs. Yater and Williams arrived, they quickly realized that little could be done for the girl. Although "Everything was done not only to save her life but to relieve her sufferings which were terrible," Grace Innis passed away in the cottage at 7:30 p.m.

Grace's hat and muff were later found on the ground by the springboard.3 While it is not known why she took her life, the stress of her long illness likely played a part.

Lake (Radio) Springs Park, Nevada Mo.1892-1908

An acreage southwest Nevada was found to have a large Artesian Well that produced enough sulfur water to form a lake. It soon became one of Nevada's biggest tourist attractions. The park became so popular that Street cars took visitors there.

Lake Spring, Lake Park Springs

Here is a real photo of what I believe is Lake Springs Park shared by Jack and Mary Helen Allen. This photos would be pre-1901.

In 1892 the park was named Lake Park Springs. Before 1908 it was renamed Radio Springs Park

Bathers in Lake Lincoln in1912. A 1908 post card carries this message:

"We are in camp and having a real good time. The air is so fresh and pure. The water fine, have been in bathing twice. There are several families out here in camp. Wish you could join us for it is surely a pretty spot. Alice"

In 1910, the springs were sold and given to the Weltmer Institute with plans to make it a health spa.
The photo below is the best one of all because it shows the train arriving along the side of the lake.

In the 1960's just to the left of this building was the Nevada City Swimming Pool. Quite the "happening" place for everyone! I so remember that pool and this building which then was the bath house and entrance to the pool.

Post cards from the Lyndon Irwin collection.

Reference: Sterett, Betty. 1985. Scenes from the Past.

The Weltmer Institute Nevada Mo.1887-1928

The Weltmer Institute was located at the southwest corner of Austin and Ash Streets (later home of Milster Funeral Home but razed in 2005) in Nevada. It was founded by Sidney A. Weltmer who was described as a professor, hypnotist, healer, and mystic. The seal for the Weltmer Institute indicates that it must have been founded in 1887. Old postcards and ads refer to it by different names: "The Weltmer School of Magnetic Healing", "The Weltmer Institute of Suggestive Therapeutics", "The Weltmer School of Healing", but usually just "The Weltmer Institute".

The motto of the Institute was, "Where every known disease is cured without medicine or surgery".

Two of the post cards from the Institute contain notes written by patients:

March 13, 1909

"Dear Friend, I thank you a thousand times for telling me of Prof. Weltmer. When I came here last June, I had nearly lost my mind. I was having terrible headaches. My right eye was totally blind. The Specialists said I would lose the other and would not even operate. After six weeks here, the cataract just simply disappeared and I have been using my eyes steadily every since. I am perfectly well. They cure everything here. I never saw such a place. G. H.

October 1, 1910
"This is a picture of my place. It was full when we got here so we have to room two blocks from it. Last week I seemed lots better. This week not so well. Up and down you see. I like Nevada.
Mrs. C.

The Institute was so successful that extra trains to Nevada were added. At one time, the Institute did an amazing number of treatments by mail. In fact, so many requests were being made that Nevada had to build a larger post office. The Institute operated until 1928 according to Betty Sterrett.

Sterrett, Betty. "Scenes from the Past". Compiled by Donna Logan.1985.

More Nevada History 1876-2008 Hotel Rockwood

The Hotel Rockwood building stands on the square's north side. Dr. C.A. Rockwood commissioned it in 1876, making it the oldest building on the square.1 It was constructed by John L. Beagles, the same contractor who built Cottey's Main Hall and Hotel Mitchell. Amazingly, the former hotel is one of the best preserved buildings in Nevada, barring the absence of its eastern section. The building is now occupied by the Thompson-Moore Insurance Agency.

North side of the square during a parade, c. 1910.1 At the far left is Rockwood Hotel with people standing on its terrace.

North side of the square, c. 1910.2 At the left is Rockwood Hotel, with "Samuel Bros." painted below its trim.
What remains of the Rockwood Hotel in 2008. The building is 133 years old.
The central building has been demolished. You can still see a door and the remnants of a staircase on the right wall.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

41st Annual Designer’s Showhouse

We are touring this home on May 4th.

The brick colonial revival house at 5833 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri, was built in 1922 for Elizabeth Smith, widow of William J. Smith, an early investor and president of the Kansas City Cable Railway Company, the first cable car line in Kansas City. The architectural firm for the design was Hoit, Price, and Barnes. Mrs. Smith was from New York and died in 1928 while living at the house with her daughters, Mable Saunders and Marion Smith. Mable was the widow of Daniel Green Saunders, Jr. who owned the D. G. Saunders Lumber Co. Mable and Marion continued to live in the home into the 1930’s when it was sold to John E. Murray.

Elizabeth Smith had eight children and fifteen grandchildren. She loved to have them come over to her house after church on Sundays. In the summer she would serve them lemonade and in the winter hot chocolate. During family dinners it was quite an honor when the young people graduated to the grownups table in the dining room according to Cliff C. Jones, one of the grandsons. Other grandchildren still in the Kansas City area include Frank P. Sebree, Mrs. Beverly Platt (Alice), and Mrs. Richard Sutton (Serena). Mr. Jones also recalls that his grandmother had an electric car.

By 1940 the home was owned by J. Kinney Moore and his wife Norcille of the Moore-Lowry Flour Mills Co. This icon of Kansas City mills as shown on the company letterhead was built in 1898 at State Line and Southwest Boulevard. It was acquired by Moore-Lowry of The Wichita Flour Mills Co. in 1923 and featured such brands as “Old Squire” and “Red Top.”

By 1942 Thomas R. Finn and his wife Eileen bought the house and moved his aging parents in with them. Mr. Finn was a professional fundraiser just as his father had been. At that time their official title was “counselors of institutional finance.” Mr. Finn had extra shelves built in the third floor attic area to store his records of fundraising campaigns. He even trademarked the term “Fair Share” for fundraising in the State of Missouri. Mr. and Mrs. Finn were avid golfers and had membership card #3 at Indian Hills Country Club. She was a caregiver to her in-laws, Thomas M. Finn and Mary (Mayme) Fitzgerald Finn and later her own parents, John and Alice McIntyre. The Finns did not have children until later in life so they lavished much attention on their cocker spaniel Patty and her offspring. Their “miracle babies” were Thomas, an ER physician now deceased; Terry Finn, a Kansas City policeman; and one daughter, Kathleen. Terry recalls the wonderful vacations the family took in Colorado where they went to dude ranches. Mr. Finn died in 1965 at the home, and Mrs. Finn went on to co-found the K.C. One real estate company.

The center of the Finn household was likely the kitchen where Mahala Collins cooked for the extended family. The wonderful fireplace in the kitchen was actually used for cooking turkeys and roasts. Her husband Nathaniel took care of the yard, and they lived in an apartment on the third floor. Terry Finn also recalls what fun it was to go out on the flat roof of the double-decker porch when it had a balustrade all the way around.

In the 1980’s the home was owned by John K. Sherk, Jr., his wife Elizabeth, and their three children. He was a professor in the Education Department at UMKC and published widely in the area of early childhood education. His son, John K. Sherk III, is a partner of the Shook Hardy law firm. One of the founders of Shook Hardy was Samuel Boyd Sebree, a son-in-law of Elizabeth Smith.

In the year 1986 when the Landmarks Commission did a survey of the home, it was owned by Yorihiko and Mizue Oshima. Mr. Oshima’s father was a co-founder of the Honda car company and he himself was a commercial real estate developer in Japan. His wife had a degree in piano performance from a conservatory in Tokyo before her marriage. The library was reserved for her concert grand piano and music books. Their four children attended the Pembroke-Hill School. The Oshimas enjoyed the wide open spaces of Kansas City. One of their projects was to remodel the kitchen based on ideas they had collected from their neighbors. It was quite a project because the contractor had to strengthen the floor supports to hold oak cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, thermador double ovens, gas cooktop, tile floor and bringing the washer and dryer to the first floor from the basement.

In addition to the kitchen remodeling, the Oshimas added a brick patio outside the porch which by this time had been glassed in to create a cheerful sunroom, the favorite room of the family and their friends. One of their teenage daughters used the third floor and had the walls papered with Laura Ashley prints. With all the coming and going of teenagers, the family added a small circle drive in front of the house. By 1990 Yorihiko and Mizue had moved back to Tokyo and gave the house to their eldest daughter upon her marriage. The couple lived in the house when their first child was born and eventually transferred to the New York area.

The next owners of the house in the mid-1990’s were Clyde and Carolyn Williams who made significant additions to the property. The original garage for the house was in the basement with a ramp entrance from 59th Street. The Williams built a separate three car garage with a portico linking it to the house. They took great care to find the source for the brick, limestone, and slate tiles of the original house and had the garage built to match. Later the Williams also had an elderly mother with them so they converted the garage to the carriage house that it is today. The Williams also added the state-of-the-art swimming pool and the wrought iron fence all the way around the property.

The present owners of the house are Dale and Peggy Kesl who have it on the market. Dale graduated from the University of Health Sciences-College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1982 and Peggy graduated from the St. Luke’s School of Nursing in 1978. Dale is board certified in family practice and emergency medicine and is the director of the Emergency Department at the Lafayette Regional Health Center in Lexington, MO.

Their daughter Megan finished her emergency medicine residency from UMKC and Truman Medical Center in 2009 and is a staff physician at Truman Medical Center-Lakewood and hospital hill. James is a 3rd year medical student and most recently lived in the carriage house. Matthew is prelaw at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. The youngest children are twins—Abigail, a junior at Columbia College in Columbia, MO with a special education major and emphasis in autism, and Allison, a student at Mitsu Sato Hair Academy. The Kansas City Symphony Alliance wishes to thank the Kesl family for the generous use of their home for the 41st Symphony Designers’ Showhouse.

-Beverly Shaw, House Historian

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Armour Boulevard Kansas City Mo

Last week in the KC Star there was an article on Kirkland B. Armour. Andrew lives at 629 Armour Blvd. The story of Kirkland B. Armour intriqued me.  Armour Boulevard is a tree-lined midtown Kansas City roadway which once boasted some of the most fashionable homes and apartment buildings in town.

Kirkland Brooks Armour ( I love those old cool names!)

Packing Plant Magnate


by Janice Lee

Kirkland Armour was born April 10, 1854, in Stockbridge, New York.

At the age of 18, instead of attending college, he began educating

himself in his family’s packinghouse trade. Around 1870, Armour

and his brother, Charles, came to Kansas City from Chicago to join

their uncle, Simeon B. Armour, at Armour Packing Company, the

family’s meat packing plant.

He learned the details of the business from the bottom up. He

worked in all departments of the industry, including purchasing

cattle, marketing Armour products and assisting in every detail of

packing house labor and office work. He eventually worked his way

up to his first ranking position in the company—vice president and

general manager. After the death of his Uncle Simeon in the late

1890s, he became president and general manager of the company.

With his brother Charles, he brought the Armour Packing Company

to its height of prosperity. At end of the 1800s the plant accounted

for at least half of the city’s packing output.

Kirkland Armour had a strong interest in breeding Hereford cattle.

Not only was he a leader of the National Hereford Breeders’

Association, but he and Charles raised a herd of fine Herefords at

his 1,000-acre farm, now the Armour Fields residential district.

Armour, known by his family as devoted to “nothing all his life

but work,” was as dedicated to city betterment as he was to his

business concerns. He led the effort to erect a convention building

in Kansas City and was actively involved in the city’s commercial

and financial ventures, including railroads, street railways, electric

light companies, banks, and the manufacturing industries.

In 1896 he built a three-story French chateau at Warwick and

Armour Boulevards, the latter named for his uncle Simeon, a

member of Kansas City’s first Park Board. After a year of failing

health, Kirkland Armour died in 1901 in New York while on a visit

there to restore his physical condition.

Kirkland B. Armour, of the big meat-packing company, built a mansion, at Armour and Warwick Boulevards circa 1893. The Star once referred to the French chateau-style home, razed in the 1930's as "the most pretentious ever erected here" and appraised the mansion in 1901 at close to $4 million dollars.

Now I asked myself "why" was the mansion razed less than 40 years after it was built? I am still searching for the answer to that question? The site where the mansion once graced the Boulevard now belongs to the Foreign Language Middle School. Elegant apartment buildings sprouted along the Boulevard in the early 20th century. Those include the Ellison near Broadway, designed by architect Nelle E. Peters, and three glomour buildings at Gillham Road, that are being renovated and reopened as apartments today. The art deco detail of one of those building, Clyde Manor is a typically stylish gesture that can still be seen along Armour between Broadway and Troost. Ave.
Pictured is the block between Main street and Warwick boulevard. The turreted 3-story red brick mansion of Kirkland B. Armour is seen in the distance. In the center is the yellow brick home of his sister, Mrs. Edward W. Smith, and her husband, a grain dealer.

The large cut stone square residence in the left foreground was owned by A.J. King of the King Realty company. It was here that the city archivist, George Fuller Green, and Miss Nina King were married in 1914. (Both remember leaving old Union depot on their wedding trip, and returning three weeks later to the new Union Station.)

Office buildings of Interstate Bakeries and the Standard Oil company and a service station occupy the block today. Kansas City Times September 7, 1968

Kirk Armour Residence

Description Postcard of the Kirk Armour home at Warwick and Armour

Historical Article The palatial Kirk Armour home, with the appearance of a French chateau, was built in 1896 at the corner of Warwick and Armour boulevards. (Armour boulevard was named for Kirk's uncle, S. B. Armour, a member of the first Kansas City Park board.)

This residence was the largest and most admired architecturally on Armour boulevard. A great barn to the rear stabled fine horses and was well staffed with grooms and a coachman. Still remembered is the great elm tree in the back yard, where a long cable from the treetop to the ground, straddled by a pulley and rope, furnished fun and breathless rides for the young Armour boys and their friends.

Kirkland B. Armour was a handsome mustached man, dedicated to work. He was born April 10, 1854, son of A. Watson Armour, who was conspicuously involved in the meatpacking and banking development of early Kansas City.

In 1881, Kirk married Miss Anna P. Hearne of Wheeling, W. Va. They occupied homes at 1114 Wyandotte and at 1017 Penn, on old Quality Hill, before building the Warwick boulevard mansion. He served as vice-president and general manager of the Armour Packing company here. At the death of S. B. Armour in 1893, he became president.

He had a taste for fine livestock and imported cattle that had been part of the queen's herd in England. He purchased 1,000 acres of farm land (with brother Charles) south of Kansas City, that is now part of the Country Club district and known as Meyer Circle, Romanelli West, Romanelli Gardens, Greenway Fields, Armour Hills, Armour Fields and Armour Gardens. He died in 1901 at the age of 47.

The old mansion, as pictured in color on a German-made post card, was later occupied by a school of the French sisters of Notre Dame de Sion. Today the site is covered by the Standard Oil office building.
Kansas City Star November 28, 1970
Past Glory of the Boulevard Where Dwelt the Armours

Newspaper article, date unknown, Arthur: E.R.S.

The elm trees arch high and graciously now on either side of Armour boulevard, and that never quite ceases to be a wonder to one who saw them set out as skinny little saplings, looking like feather dusters.

But the glory of the elm trees is about the only glory that is left on Armour boulevard. The pride of circumstance, the pomp of power, the gleam of spacious living, all are departed. The Armours are gone, and those which whom they dined, drove, danced and sipped afternoon tea—they, too, are gone. The hurrying passerby could not tell you even where the Armours once lived, nor probably for that matter, how the boulevard got its name.

One Armour house remains, the tall yellow brick mansion at the southwest corner of Walnut street and Armour boulevard. It was built by Andrew W. Armour, and Charles W. Armour, his son, a tall, gray, quiet man, inherited it and lived there until his death. Further east a block, at the northwest corner of Armour boulevard and Warwick, stood the more elaborate home of Kirkland B. Armour, who was president of the great packing house here when he died. Old timers called him “Kirk” Armour. He was a handsome mustached man, found of good living, and admired of women.

His house was modeled on a French chateau. It was built of cream-colored pressed brick, cut stone, had curved plate glass windows and a roof of red slate. It boasted round towers, with conical roofs; it spoke in every aspect of wealth, success, American prosperity. It stood on a lot both wide and deep, with a wall of cut stone banking the earth about it, pedestal-wise.

Glorified Barn Entrance

Behind the house stood a barn to match it, more beautiful and spacious that most persons” houses, and that barn was a place of wonder and of beauty to a little boy whose father never was more than a 2-horse doctor. For there is a certain easiness among children which enables the ones from modest homes to fraternize easily with the sons of wealth. That was why those of us who were about the age of Laurence Armour (Kirk”s son) had access to his paternal stable; gazed improper awe at the sleek horses in box stalls, at the clean floors, the oiled hooves, the harness, gleaming opulently with silver mountings. The coachman and the assistant coachmen were imposing, well-fed persons.

A little way from the barn was a large elm tree mounted on a pedestal of earth, with a circular stone wall around it. This was, indeed, the most charming thing about the whole place to small boys, for there was a steel cable sunning from a branch of the tree to the ground, and a large pulley straddled the cable, with a rope and a stout wooden bar attached to the pulley. The trick was this: You climbed the tree, seized the wooden bar firmly and coasted to the ground at what seemed like break-neck speed, only it never broke anybody”s neck.

There was an older son, a. Watson Armour, quite grown up, and a little girl, Mary Augusta, who looked as though she might have come straight out of one of those beautiful box Valentines one never could afford to buy, but yearned for nevertheless.

Across Warwick boulevard, directly to the east, where the Bellerive hotel now is, was a stone house built by Lysander R. Moore, and long since vanished to make room for more profitable and public investments. The site of the Kirk Armour mansion is vacant; it has nothing of its old grandeur except the cut-stone retaining wall, the royal house and imperial stable having been torn down to lower taxes.

At the southeast corner of Warwick and Armour boulevards one of the pioneer houses of the great survives in good condition. This is the gray stone house built by Dr. Jefferson Davis Griffith, a doughty surgeon with a military manner, a military mustache and strong Confederate sympathies. I always viewed Dr. Griffith with awe after I learned it was his habit, upon emerging from a hospital operating room, where he had been at work, to pick up the dead cigar he had left when he went in, knock the cold ashes from it, bite off and chew the charred end! What a man! The Order of DeMolay occupies the Griffith house today; the lot still runs east a block.

Originally Armour boulevard was sharply limited. The city directory of 1901 gives it as extending only between Main street and Warwick boulevard, two brief but beautiful blocks. On either side of those limitations, the boulevard still was called Thirty-fifth street in 1901.

Two houses of imposing size stood at Armour boulevard and Main street, on the west side of Main. On the northwest corner was the cut-stone and red-tile edifice built by William Taylor of the John Taylor Dry Goods company for his beautiful young wife. It was passed later into the possession of Mrs. D”Estaing Dickerson, a tall gray woman, widow of a Kansas City doctor who had made much money. Mrs. Dickerson owned one of the first French limousines ever brought to Kansas City. It was driven by a liveried chauffeur, and in the back seat sat Mrs. Dickerson, erect and a little grim in appearance, with a poodle dog which looked snootily at little boys going by on foot. At least, little boys thought so. The house survives as a day nursery for children of the runabout age.

The other house then at the southwest corner—there”s a new drug store there now—belonged to Thomas H. Mastin. It had a round massive tower on the northeast corner, and was roofed with black tiles, brought from France. The architect of this house, which was built as massively it easily might have lasted for 250 years had Nature been allowed to take her course, was Stanford White, the great new Yorker, who designed Madison Square Garden in New York, with its statue of Diana; who created the New York Life building in Kansas city, looking down Baltimore avenue from Ninth street, with a great bronze eagle over its entrance.

Stanford White, as any schoolboy could have told you thirty years ago had been killed by Harry K. Thaw, a millionaire Pittsburgh playboy, who was jealous of the architect”s attentions t Evelyn Nesbit, a beautiful chorus girl who had been a member of the Floradora sextet, a glamorous theatrical group in New York musical comedy.

It was, of course, long before Death had laid a lurid garland on the brow of Stanford White that he designed the Mastin house. It was been a good many ears, as time goes on Armour boulevard, since the house was pulled own, first for a filling station, afterward a parking lot, and not its site to be occupied by a modern building for a drug stone.

Armour boulevard”s glory was brief. It began to grow great about the turn of the twentieth century and in two decades the wealthy persons who had built ornate houses there had for the most part moved farther south, and were looking for insurance companies to buy their Armour boulevard homes. Mrs. Jacob Leander Loose, at the southeast corner of Armour boulevard and Walnut street, was successful. The Phil Toll house, at the southwest corner of Warwick and Armour boulevards, stands as a melancholy monument to unachieved ambition; remodeling of it for business purposes was started, but never finished.

One of the most beautiful relics of Armour boulevard”s glory still survives shabbily. This is the yellow brick, Dutch colonial house at the head of Walnut street on the north side of Armour boulevard. This admirably designed home was built, and occupied for a lifetime, by Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Smith. It stood as a symbol of gracious living and when Mrs. Smith”s household furnishings were sold after her death, it seemed like plundering. The green shutters which once gave the house distinction have fallen to pieces and been taken down, and the place looks bald and stark.

The one Armour house which survives, the 3-story structure at the southwest corner of Walnut and Armour, houses the Conservatory of Music today, and from its windows, especially in the summer, comes a continuous medley of student music.

Taxicabs go up and down the boulevard, where prancing horses trod. Persons who never heard of the Armours peer out eagerly, looking for lodgings in homes which once were mighty, and now are just old houses. There is one exception to that generality; at 520 East Armour lives Mrs. John F. Downing, n the home her banker husband built. [A parking lot is now at this address.]

Wrennmore Apartment Building, K.C. Star December 11, 1927

Last June the large stone residence, which long had been the John F. Parker home,s still occupied its site at the southwest corner of Armour and Harrison boulevards. Meanwhile, a wrecking crew has ripped that substantial 1-family house from the corner, and various construction crews have erected there an 8-story fireproof edifice, with accommodations for seventy families. The new occupant of the ground is the Wrennmore apartment hotel, named for its builder, William G. Wrenn. Finishing touches now are being applied, and the formal opening probably will be Thursday. the building is an interesting design by P. T. Drotts, architect, the exterior walls being of a dull buff brick, trimmed with terra cotta. The site, rounding at the intersection of the two boulevards, is 80 x 123 feet.

Note: The building was torn down in the late 20th century because of neglect and structural problems.