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The Kansas City Athenaeum, 900 East Linwood Boulevard

Athenaeum Club House

The following information is reprinted with the permission of The Kansas City Athenaeum and the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the Missouri Federation of Women's Clubs.

In May 1894 the Kansas City Athenaeum was born. It was the dream of Mrs. Laura Everingham Scammon to bring women together to study such subjects as art, music, literature, science, and economics on a university level.

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Gift Shop Necessities Company, 3309 Troost Avenue

There weren´t any men associated with Gift Shop Necessities Company, a successful business which was started by women, employed women, and sold its products to women. It began in 1921 when Florence M. Fenner and Ada M. Kassimer with only $68 between them opened a business. What they manufactured were called beautilites, a work Kassimer coined to describe utilitarian products that were also items of beauty for the home.

The design and decoration of apartments and houses underwent a change in the 1920s when kitchens were incorporated into the living area. Fenner and Kassimer sensed that a new market was opening up before their eyes and decided to give everyday kitchen items a dash of color and a spritely design since the objects would be seen more.

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Golden Horseshoe Lounge & Bettye Wilson Miller, 3243 Troost Avenue

Bettye Miller with Milt Abel
Bettye Miller with Milt Abel, Courtesy © The Kansas City Star Company

She was known as the high priestess, the reigning queen of Kansas City jazz. Bettye Wilson Miller´s music could be thunderous or lyrical, complex or simple; contrasts were ever-present in the style of this jazz pianist and contralto.

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Kate Hinkle´s French Laundry, Near Linwood Blvd. & 3121Gillham Road

Kate Hinkle
Kate Hinkle
Courtesy Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, MO

In 1908 a very determined woman bought two wooden tubs with a portion of the sum total of her capital, $8, and launched Kansas City´s first French laundry. Needing to earn a living following her husband´s death, Kate Hinkle turned to what she knew best: the care of fine laces, priceless linens, and exquisite embroideries. When she had worked as a children´s nurse, she deplored the many pieces that were discarded because of poor laundering. She knew she could do better.

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Mindlin´s, 3221 Troost Avenue

Mindlin´s was a women´s specialty shop. Rose Shklar Mindlin Jacobson began making and selling hats in a small shop at 1012 East 12th Street in 1904. Businessmen scoffed at the residential location, predicting a quick failure since it was so far from the downtown retail area, but it proved to be a wise choice. It was in the middle of the carriage trade, and women in the area could afford to pay $150 for just the right hat.

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Notre Dame De Sion School, 3823 Locust Street

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion arrived in Kansas City in 1912 to open a French Montessori kindergarten at Linwood and Benton. Outgrowing those facilities in 1915, they moved to Hyde Park with the purchase of the Charles Morse home at 36th and Warwick Boulevard. In 1920, the Sisters purchased the incomparable Kirkland Armour mansion on the northwest corner of Armour and Warwick, presently the site of the Longan Middle School. In 1925 Henry Flower traded his Round Hill property south of Janssen Place for the Armour home so that the Sisters could build a large modern school. The parcel was bisected by the Santa Fe Trail and contained an Italianate villa with extensive gardens. (The house still stands on the property.) When the new four–story school was completed in 1928, it provided laboratory and library space, a gymnasium, swimming pool, and room for 200 students. In 1962, the high school moved to a new building at 106th and Wornall. Today, the school at 3823 Locust is an independent Catholic co–educational school.

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Rehabilitation Institute, 3600 Troost Avenue

In 1947 the Rehabilitation Institute was formed after the Kansas City Council of Social Agencies reported that 350 disabled persons in the area who could not qualify for assistance from any agency but who could become self–supporting to varying degrees with the right help. The evaluation was suggested by Vivian Davis Shepherd. The Rehabilitation Institute was formed with the purpose of providing physical therapy, prevocational training, and placement for the severely disabled in the region. Those affected by disease, accident, or birth disabilities were eligible for the services. With the aid and support of Mrs. Elanor Jones Kemper, the institute opened with 30 worker–patients, $7,500 in the bank, a budget of $30,000, and Vivian Shepherd as executive director.

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