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Janssen Place & Arthur E. Stilwell PDF  | Print |

By Lyle Kennedy

February 8, 1887, H. P. Simpson filed the plat for the Kenwood Addition to the Cit of Westport. This had been the south forty acres of the A. G. Ragan farm—Commonwealth (Armour) to Tremont (37th) and from Oak to Holmes. It was at the end of the Real Estate boom of the 1880’s, so only the lots on Locust and those facing Hyde Park of Oak had been sold, and two houses on Locust (3608 and 3632) were under construction.

From is front porch at 620 East 36th (1896 Directory *) Stilwell could look into the beautiful undeveloped woodland, east of Locust. Stilwell could look into the beautiful undeveloped woodland, east of Locust. Although he and his trust Company were committed to the financing of modest homes, he envisioned there a residential area for he more affluent, so he purchased the lost south of 36th facing cherry and Kenwood and the two small farms and part of another at the south end. He then employed George Matthews, an architect, to lay out the plan for the area.

On March 3, 1897, he and three associates filed the plat of Janssen Place, named for his Dutch friend and business associate, August Janssen. There were 16 large lots on each side of a double driveway and a wide center parkway. Hugh stone pillars with a flower garden in front framed the entrance on 36th Street and made it the most attractive residential development in the Kansas City-Westport area.

Janssen Place was not one of Stilwell’s quick successes, for in 1906 he sold his interest, only three houses had been built—327 Mrs. Batchelor, 348 Frank Tyler and #2, J. H. Tschudy. Yearly thereafter other large homes were built, the last of the “original” homes being that of J. W. Jenkins #54, completed in 1917. All the homes had large carriage houses, some with turntables, and years later when Bob and Ann Tschudy sold #2, Bob remarked “we had a cow and a team in those days but so did everyone else.

*The 1892 Directory shows that he lived “on Humbolt between Cherry and Holmes,” and Moshers at the “N. E. corner of Humbolt and Cherry”. Humbolt is now 36th Street. Which house was Stilwells? Several might be, or, was it demolished and the “modern” built on the site?