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Gladstone Boulevard, at Scarritt Point
Gladstone Boulevard, at Scarritt Point
TitleGladstone Boulevard, at Scarritt Point
DescriptionPostcard of Gladstone Boulevard, at Scarritt Point
Historical ArticleWhen R. A. Long saw Scarritt Point in the early 1900s he chose it for the site of the mansion that he was planning. He needed an entire block, for in addition to his home there would be a residence for Dave Smith, the horse-handler, a building for the commodious horse stalls, quarters for groomsmen, a carpenter and gardener's shop, a greenhouse, conservatory and wisteria-draped pergola.

Arrangements were made with the owners of two homes on the site. Long would purchase the property with the stipulation that the houses would be moved to new locations.

So it came about that the turreted red brick home of Judge William Hockaday Wallace (left in the old post card scene) was moved one block north to 3200 Norledge, and the white cut stone home of Herman F. Schmelzer (center) was moved diagonally across the street where it stands today, unchanged in outward appearance. Long gave this house to Dr. George Hamilton Combs, pastor of his church, Independence Boulevard Christian. (Later Loula Long, his daughter, married Robert Pryor Combs, son of the pastor.)

City directories for 1907 identify the occupants of all three houses pictured. All were families of importance in the pioneer history of Kansas City.

A few pertinent facts of each of these early families follow:

Judge William Hockaday Wallace, who built the home at the left in the old post card, first practiced law in Independence. He was a partner of Judge Edward P. Gates for 17 years. He became a resident of Kansas City in 1880 and in that year was elected prosecuting attorney for Jackson County.

Carrie Whitney's history says: To Judge Wallace belongs great credit for his efforts in bringing to punishment the James boys of Missouri and crushing out the band of outlaws who were bringing terror into every community of this part of the country. His lengthy speech at the Gallatin, Mo., trial of Frank James has been published along with his other important orations, such as his memorial speech at the death of President McKinley, speeches made while campaigning for Woodrow Wilson and others.

He was appointed judge by Governor Folk, April 2, 1907.

Mrs. Wallace was Miss Elizabeth G. Chiles of Independence. There were two children. William H., now a resident of Lee's Summit, and Mary, now living with her husband, John C. Hill, at the Vista Del Rio.

Mary, who was born in the old red brick mansion in 1890 when it was the only house in the block, remembers the wonderful fireworks Herman Schmelzer displayed every Fourth of July in the area between the two houses. The fireworks were almost as good as those at Electric Park, she recalls. Mr. Schmelzer always had an expert come out from his store ahead of time to set up the equipment for firing the skyrockets and the big night pieces.

She remembers, too, when the house was moved by John H. Renne and not even a drop of medicine was spilled from the bottles in the cabinets.

After the Wallace house was moved to its new location several years were spent in the remodeling and during this time the family lived at 121 North Indiana, though most of the furniture was left in the old home. All the rooms were expanded and new rooms and sun porch built. The third floor had two ballrooms and two maid's rooms. Neighborhood young folks of the day remember dancing parties with orchestras furnishing the music and everyone dressed in his party best.

The entire brick exterior was covered with cut stone, giving the place the appearance of a castle. It commanded a beautiful view, being located at the tip of Scarritt Point. Mary was married in this house and remembers the beautiful staircase used by the wedding party.

This home became the property of Jack Schmidt, who operated it as a convalescent home. Today it is used for apartments.

The well-built cut-stone Schmelzer home (center) was built by Herman F. Schmelzer, one of the four sons of the German gunsmith who arrived in Leavenworth in 1855 to sell gunpowder and arms. He later moved to Kansas City to form the Schmelzer Arms Company with his sons. In later years the company carried athletic goods and other merchandise. The 1907 directory lists Herman Schmelzer as vice-president and secretary of the company.

Today the Schmelzer house, in its new location, appears almost exactly as it did on the early post card. The interior has been converted into apartments.

The Stevens-James residence, still standing and appearing much as it does on the post card, was erected in 1902 by Edward A. Stevens, listed in early directories as Notary. He died six months after completion of the home. His widow, Mrs. Ellen Stevens, and her two children, Aileen and William P. M. Stevens, continued to live there even after the children were married.

Aileen is remembered as being an early owner of a White Steamer car. She drove it on the broad boulevard when traffic was largely of horse and buggy variety. She married Heberd James, a grandson of the original T. M. James, who arrived at Westport Landing in 1854 on the F. X. Orberry steamboat when Kansas City had only 250 residents. There were no trains and the principal business was the wagon train. T. M. James was struck by a cable car, never fully recovered and died in 1901.

His original store was near the levee and he later erected the brick block at 6th and Main, where he conducted his wholesale business. An early advertisement read: Importers and dealers in crockery, glassware, china, table and pocket cutlery, silver plated ware, lamp goods.

Eventually this successful company included his sons and grandsons. Heberd, the grandson, was one of those to head the company in later years. His sister, Marjorie James, lives in Kansas City today. Also a daughter, Virginia (Mrs. John Snyder), and a niece, Helen Stevens (Mrs. A. D. Eubank), who were both born at the Gladstone Boulevard residence, live in the Kansas City area.

Kansas City Times
July 29, 1972



The high-turreted, three-story red brick mansion (pictured at left) at Gladstone Boulevard and Scarritt Point in the Northeast District was the residence of Judge William Hockaday Wallace, Mrs. Wallace and their children, William H. and Mary.

The home had seven fireplaces with carved mantels, crystal prism light fixtures, leaded glass windows and doors and heavy oak woodwork.

Judge Wallace came from a family of Confederate sympathizers and as a boy of 14 had suffered the horrors of Order No. 11 during the days of the Civil War. Paul Wellman, writing in his book, A Dynasty of Western Outlaws, said of Wallace:

After the war he became eminent in the Missouri bar, was the chief spearhead in breaking up the outlaw gangs, prosecuted Frank James, and became one of the most eminent jurists the state has produced.

Wallace, as prosecuting attorney for Jackson County, was fearless in the three years of tracking down and convicting members of the James gang.

The stately old mansion was sold to R.A. Long and moved a block north to 3200 Norledge. Then Long built his palatial home on the Wallace and adjoining properties, in the years 1909-1911.

Today the old Long residence is the home of the Kansas City Museum of History and Science, and the old Wallace mansion, now enlarged and covered with native stone, is also the property of the city and is used by the museum for administrative offices.

The large residence pictured at the right side of the card still stands, a privately owned residence.

The card was published in color in Leipzig, Germany, by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City and Leipzig.

Kansas City Times
October 1, 1982

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
LocationSC58
Local SubjectScarritt Point
Gladstone Boulevard
Streets
Digital FormatJPEG
Barcode20000567
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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