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What This Country Needs: 1906

What This Country Needs: 1906

Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1906. "Junction of Main and Delaware Streets." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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The detail on the lamp standards, fire hydrants &c is wonderful. I'm terribly curious about what appears to be a pedestrian bridge in the background -- does anyone know what it might have connected?

Kay Hotel demolished

... in 1954, according to the Kansas City Public Library, which has a few more pictures of this intersection in its images archives.

Dave, I love Shorpy!


There's a messenger boy on the lower right, no doubt hurrying to the red light district. Quick, call Lewis Hine!

Horses back then

Had a lot to watch out for, didn't they?

Everything's up to date in Kansas City

"They gone about as fer as they can go
They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high
About as high as a buildin' orta grow."

What this commenter needs

A Stetson hat and five-cent cigar make for a winning combination.

Nothing left?

A tour up Delware to Main on Google Street view shows that there is nothing of this scene left except for the names of the thoroughfares. It's all a flat expanse of 4- and 6-lane asphalt, empty lots. and what look like low-rise warehouses. Automobiles roam, supreme in the environment.

This gives me hope. Perhaps in another century, the auto will be as rare on our city streets as the horse is today.

R.R. ticket offices

The Chicago & Alton, Missouri Pacific, Santa Fe, Milwaukee Road, Wabash, and a joint office of the Frisco and, I think, the Rock Island.

Ladies of the Afternoon

What I continue to find amazing are the lack of women in these downtown type pictures. I see only two in front of the Junction ticket office.

Downward Spiral

In about the middle of the photo, towards the back, there seems to be a spiral staircase fire escape. I don't believe I have ever seen one like this.

Vertiginous Egress

That cast iron spiral fire escape on the building with the beehive dome was probably thought safe enough at the time, but, after only a few moments of imagining using it in an emergency, I'm all ready for a nice lie-down in a dark room.

The Junction.

This intersection (9th and Main) was known as "The Junction." As you might have guessed from the signs.

That's the Kansas City Times newspaper building in the middle, with the spire thing on top, even though railroad ticket offices were on the first floor and someone put that "Junction Building" sign on it.

By 1920, the KC Times building had been replaced with the Kay Hotel and it was that building that eventually fell to urban renewal in the 60s.

[Note the faint T on the roof of the Times tower. - Dave]

Old city streets

I love these old street scenes you select. My grandfather who was born in 1880's had lots of old sayings that meant little to us grandkids. One was "it's everywhere like horseshit." These old photos almost always include somebody sweeping it up. Now I know what he meant.

A Good Five-Cent Cigar

Of course, only to hold off the chill of what appears to be a frosty day!

Long gone.

I-70 would eventually pass a couple of blocks in the distance and all these buildings were gone by then to make way for urban renewal and ramps down to the interstate. Everything probably went down by 1960 or so.

Kansas City has its share of remaining historic buildings but all the buildings in this photo are long gone.

The Commerce (Bank) Tower is currently on the corner (9th and Main) just beyond Palace Clothing. It went up in 1965 as the area was redeveloped into parking lots, parking garages and your typical 60s era highrises.

My mother was working near this location in the early 1950s and she was still using the streetcars (the more modern versions) then. Streetcar service ended by 1957.


I looked over this carefully and I can't see any women at all, out shopping or on the street! It truly was a man's world.

Wells Fargo, and lunch to go

Wells Fargo wagon to the left (Express!) and the fellow with the apron across the street selling sandwiches from the looks of it (it IS 25 past 1, after all!)

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