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K.C.: 1908

K.C.: 1908

Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1908. "Main Street north from Twelfth." Much interesting signage here, addressing everything from rotten teeth to clogged bowels. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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My life-long home

The sign company I worked for in the mid eighties was started in 1887 by a Frenchman named Voquett, and a yankee named Newby.

By 1890, Newby had bought out Voquett, and the business became 'Newby Signs'. Makes me wonder how much of the sign work came by the hands of Newby. There was another family in town that had a sign shop back in that era, 'Arbuckle Sign'. [They are actually still in business today, a mere 9 blocks from where this picture was taken.]

Between Newby and Arbuckle, they were likely responsible for 2/3 of the sign biz in KC back then.

[Sad bit about Newby-about 1915 or so he shot and killed his wife in front of his children. Newby was a raging drunk, and not long after that, his oldest son, Bill Newby jr. took over the sign shop, and was around for several years. I actually got to meet him in 1986. He was in his eighties, and a rather astute fellow, sporting a bolo tie. Hard to imagine him as a young lad, witnessing his dad murdering his mother.]

Gone and back again

That streetcar line operated for about another 48 years, then disappeared for 59 years... and then came back! The main difference is that that the streetcar now runs in the outside lanes of Main, rather than in the middle of the street. (There might be one or two other small details that have changed.)

11th Street has been discontinuous at Main for a long time. On the left, the two oncoming horses have just passed West 11th Street; on the right, further away, the gap between Browning, King, and Co. and American Dental Rooms is East 11th Street.

At the time of this photo, East 11th was already known as "Petticoat Lane", because there were lots of clothing stores there. A bit later on, 11th between Main and Walnut was formally renamed Petticoat Lane. Then, all the clothing stores moved out to malls in the suburbs; sic transit gloria mundi.

I don't recognize any of the local brands in this picture. I've heard of Owl Cigars and Goodyear Rubber, though.

wtwilson3's original picture was at right angles to this one, but has since been fixed to show today's version of the photo above.


Google Street View. [Edited: Oops. Got my direction wrong the first time.] New picture faces the right direction.

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