Home ARTICLES Armour Blvd.

Armour Boulevard Once Commonwealth Avenue PDF  | Print |

Post, September 23, 1928

Interesting stories come to light occasionally during examination of abstracts of title, when the reader investigates the transfers made of record in earlier years. An example is afforded in the case of certain streets that today bear names or numbers totally at variance with designations used in the early days of their history, as set forth in the accompanying narrative.

The changing character of Armour boulevard is typical of changing conditions due to the city&rsque;s growth. First, the dirt road. Then one of the important links of our newly laid out boulevard system gradually being built up with fine homes of prominent Kansas Cityans—one of the city’s showplaces.

That part of Hyde Park in which the Winningham tract is situated runs from Oak street, now Gillham road, to main street.

How good is your memory? Who built the fine old home at the northwest corner or Armour and Gillham now owned by the Luke Wilson estate? The answer is Frederick A. Hornbeck, who sold it to J. Will Merrill. Across Armour at the southwest corner, still stands the solid stone home built by J. Logan Jones, now occupied by bishop Thomas F. Lillis. Dr. J. d. Griffith, then Kansas City’s leading surgeon, built the attractive home which his son, Dr. a Comingo Griffith, occupied until 1927, when I sold it for him to the Grand Order of DeMolay.

Hotel Replaces Home

Do you know whose homes formerly occupied the tract on which the Bellerive hotel now stands? Dr. Hull’s fine solid brick home that he sold to Edward Corrigan was on the east half and the solid stone residence of George T. Moore was on the northeast, corner of Armour and Warwick.

Just west of the Moore homesite still stands the beautiful old Kirk Armour home, soon to be torn down to make way for a group of apartment hotels to be erected by Guy H. McCanles, to whom I sold the property for Henry C. Flower in the early part of the present year.

Just across Armour is the home erected by Alfred Toll, until recently occupied by the Kansas City Art Institute as tenant under the present owner, Phillip R. Toll.

Next west is the city residence of Mrs. Jacob L. Loose, one of the few typically city houses built in Kansas City, which still is occupied by Mrs. Loose when in Kansas City. On the north side of Armour is the stately mansion built and still occupied by Mr. And Mrs. E. W. Smith, while opposite, on the south side of Armour, stands the home of Mrs. Charles W. Armour, built by her late husband.

Another landmark recently removed should also be mentioned. It was the wonderful example of Norman architecture built after plans prepared by the late Stanford White, famous New York architect. That is the old Mastin home at the southwest corner of Armour and Main street.

Was Exclusive Street

This will give you a picture of what Armour Boulevard was in the heyday of its splendor as an exclusive residence street.

A drive along this boulevard will show startling changes from the picture just sketched. Gone are the fine old family homes. In their places rise towering hotels and apartment buildings, with others of even more imposing type soon to be erected.

Not every street is so fortunate in having so brilliant a past and such good prospects for a rosy future. Other streets have had their good prospects ruined and their development retarded for years, if not stopped entirely, by the exalting and unwarranted opinions of the owners as to values. Exorbitant demands by them have forced the developers to other sections and what might have been outstanding districts present a ragged appearance in their partially developed state.

Within a few years not a single old residence will stand on Armour. They, like their former comrades, will have fallen victims t the busy wrecking crew, the noisy stream shovel, the onward march of the city and the ever-changing demands that are inevitable as Kansas City undergoes the transition from a typically Middle western town to a metropolitan area.