Waldo, Kansas City: Neighborhood ‘Eclectic’ Origins Explained | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – “We live in Waldo.” It’s a saying that residents have used for over 100 years, referring to a large collective neighborhood in southwest Kansas City.
But what exactly is Waldo, and where exactly is he?
“It’s always been that kind of merging of things,” said author and researcher LaDene Morton. “That kind of funkness continued with Waldo, and they embrace him. They kind of like to be eclectic that way.
Morton has lived in Kansas City most of his life. She has written several historical books on the region’s past, including “The Waldo Story”. She said the neighborhood has never been her own town, but has been known by name since 1841.
Waldo: Its Origin and Growth
“At the very beginning it would have been a big pasture where Dr. David Waldo kept his groceries, his cattle, whatever you have for his job as a trader on the Santa Fe Trail,” Morton said.
David Waldo was an early physician, wagon trader and landowner in the 19th century, according to records from History of KC by the Kansas City Library. He became a resident of Independence in 1828, but purchased “a thousand acres of prairie between present-day 75th and 59th streets” in 1941, wrote author and historian Rudolph Umland.
At the time, the heavily trafficked Santa Fe Trail passed through Independence and passed through Modern Minor Park. There was also a step straight north through Waldo Lands and into Kansas City.
Waldo didn’t stop at 1,000 acres. The plot of land expanded northward and expanded to 2,400 acres, becoming a bustling neighborhood as business increased, according to the Waldo Region Business Association. A railway line developed in 1860 between Kansas City and this new community, bringing goods and eventually passengers.
Waldo: Eclectic Explained
This unincorporated community has attracted a myriad of people and businesses through the loosening of land use laws on county lands. This lasted until half the area was annexed to Kansas City in 1909, when the limited city expanded to 77th Street.
“Waldo had a unique physical position that led him to be who he is, which goes against all uses, planning and principles of land,” Morton said. “There was a big chunk where it was in the county but it was in the city, so there were all kinds of uses that wouldn’t have been allowed in the city.
In the first half of the 20th century, trips to and from Waldo increased. The railway line began carrying streetcars on what has come to be known by a few different names: the earlier Dodson “dummy” line and the Country Club car line later. He eventually ran from Westport to 85th Street and Prospect Avenue, according to KC History records.
This rail has since become a trail, called the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.
“More and more people have started to visit and move into the growing community of Waldo, seen as a retreat from the urban area, soon to have its share of dance halls, bars and honky-tonks,” according to the report. Waldo Area Business Association.
Morton said the combination of the growing population and half of the land still unincorporated made for some interesting land uses, such as a makeshift theme park called “Kiddy Land.”
“People just started doing things, and it either stuck or it didn’t work,” Morton said. “No body to say no to them, you know?” “
Today, Waldo is known as a group of subdivisions within Gregory Boulevard, Holmes Road, 91st Street, and State Line Road in Kansas City. A plethora of popular bars and restaurants, coupled with a lower cost of living than downtown, make the area appealing to young and old alike.
“Housing… You’re going to find it small but cheap,” Morton said. “But it’s an opportunity (for first-time buyers). It’s a tight community.
And just like his patchwork beginnings, Waldo is seen as a patchwork of identity and intersectionality.
“It was never exclusive at all,” Morton said. “Very very warm and welcoming. “
Wornall Road and Ward Parkway continue to serve as main arteries and downtown connectors. Neighborhood projects are coordinated by the Waldo Community Improvement District, created in 2009.
Suggest a correction