2 postcard views of the Institutional Church at Admiral Boulevard and Holmes.
The settlement church idea was introduced here in 1905 by the Rev. Charles W. Moore, who was responsible for construction of the Institutional Church at Admiral Boulevard and Holmes.
One of the chief purposes of the church, patterned after ones Mr. Moore had observed in London, was to care for boys and young men on parole.
The church was supported generously by businessmen. It was occupied and in operation three years before it was dedicated. A promise had been made not to dedicate the building until it was completely paid for. The cost was $80,000. Bishop E. R. Hendrix of the Methodist Episcopal Church preached the dedicatory sermon.
A department of worship was conducted through the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, with the Rev. James C. Rawlings in charge. The institutional work was in the charge of Miss Mable K. Howell.
The building was a busy place, open seven days a week, and there were many volunteer teachers. The Kansas City Journal of April 19, 1909, reported:
Institutional Church has Sunday school, vesper meetings, visitation of the sick, poor and neglected, maintains a day nursery for working mothers, a pure milk station, does juvenile court work, conducts night school, sewing and cooking schools, mothers' meetings, has a gymnasium, playgrounds and gives summer outings for the poor of the city.
Later a medical clinic was put into operation. Gardens were planted by the children. There was a duck pond, a manual training department, dressmaking department and a splendid music department teaching violin and piano.
Italians who had come to this country and settled here were made to feel at home. In 1922, 90 per cent of those attending were of that nationality.
Weekday vacation school was held for children of working mothers, and three meals a day were served.
Each day at the church began with salutes to Old Glory and the Flag of the Christian Conquest. It was said by one writer: If you want to know flag etiquette, if you do not understand correct flag saluting, visit the Institutional Church at the corner of Admiral and Holmes.
In 1946 the church became the Della C. Lamb Neighborhood House in honor of Mrs. Lamb's decades of helpfulness there, including 27 years as president of the board of trustees. The building was razed in the early 1960s to make way for the Crosstown Freeway.
Recently Irene Gentry, a resident of Vista Del Rio, stepped across the apartment parking lot on the east side of the building. Reaching up to pluck a wild flower growing there she saw the old stone steps which led from the playground of the Institutional Church up the hill to Admiral. The steps are the last physical evidence of the church that meant so much to the life of the city in an earlier era.
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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