Sunday, October 11, 2009

Indian Mound Trail: A Visual Trek

One block west of Indian Mound in Old Northeast KC at Gladstone Boulevard and White Avenue is the entrance to the Indian Mound Trail.
While the sign says "8 mile" the portion of the trail that is along the bluffs and in the woods is 1.3 miles and runs from White to Elmwood. This post covers just that portion.
It's a trail of mild difficulty.... a few logs to climb/step over. But you will have to have waterproof footwear that is suitable for various path conditions.

There is a little trash at the very beginning of the trail but none after the first few yards.
This is the last remnant of a double-wide set of stairs that went from Gladstone Boulevard at Topping down to the railroad yards below. Built by the railroad to make getting to work easier for the railroad and mill workers who lacked automobiles or who didn't mind the walk.
Looking down to the foot of the bluff where all the springs drain to form a "fen": a marshy area that is home to thousands of frogs and other aquatic life.
Closeup of the fen with it's algae rich water.
Spring number 1.

Spring number 2. There are a succession of springs that flow year round down the hillside and across the trail. Some have strategically place rocks or small foot bridges but some require you to walk in mud.
Entrance to my favorite spot on the Trail, Maple Grove. In a couple of weeks these leaves will all have turned to bright yellow. It's beautiful. I'll post some fall color shots of Maple Grove when they reach their peak.
Looking north from the trail... Chouteau Trafficway over the tracks in the background.
Spring number 3.

Spring number 4. Although it doesn't look like much here, the flow really picks up further down the bluff.

More Maple Grove.
Rock puzzle.
Maple Grove looking north from the trail down the bluff.
Same spot looking south up the bluff.

Eastern side of Maple Grove.

The trail is maintained by Boy Scout Troops who can actually earn a merit badge for hiking the whole length of the route.
Spring number 5.
Scouts have put a walkway over Spring 5... it's very welcome.
Spring 6 above and below.

Tenacity. Watched this tree grow over the last 20 years and split the rock.
You can exit up here... but the trail isn't through yet. This is at Gladstone Blvd. and Lawn.
Old remains from when Cliff Drive was constructed beginning in 1890. The little structure above held the blasting caps for affixing to the dynamite which was stored in the building below. Both were intact (roofs and all) until the 60s when they were leveled to keep hobos from setting up house.
Spring number 7. Deer particularly like this one. I don't know why.

I call these the "Five Sisters"... one sister is hiding behind the trunk on the left.
There are a lot of very old trees along the trail.
Spring number 8 above and below. This one has the largest flow of any along the bluffs. The path it takes down the hill is another old railroad/mill walkway that the workman used to go to and from their job sites.

Final part of the wooded trail heading up to Cliff Drive.
You come out here by the east entrance to Cliff Drive (at Elmwood). One can continue on along the 2+ mile length of the Drive and make a day of it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Along The Bluff

More shots along Cliff Drive. Immediately below looking down at North Terrace Lake from the Lexington Avenue Bridge.The Island.... may or may not contain pirate treasure.
Bluffs near Prospect Point.
Cliff Drive Chestnut Bridge
Abandoned stairs by Chestnut Bridge.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Jennie

Not long ago I blogged about a little girl who never got to grow up.

I was doing some pictures in Elmwood Cemetery and happened to kneel by her headstone. She was all by herself, not a family plot, and it seemed sad to me that probably no one remembers her today.

Since that time and with basically only the information on the headstone to go by... I with some invaluable assistance from friends, Brad Finch and Kevin Koster and Bruce Matthews with Elmwood Cemetery, have found out a lot more about her family and brief life.

One of the first things I found was her middle name was "Fay." So, Jennie Fay Rutherford was born on October 6th, 1885 probably here in Kansas City. No birth certificate exists for her but that was not particularly uncommon for the time. We believe her first home was at 3710 Roberts here in Northeast Kansas City living with her father Samuel L. Rutherford born 1843 in New Jersey moved to Macpherson, Kansas and her Mother Olinda born in 1855 in Ohio who met Samuel in Macpherson. Samuel may have apprenticed carpentry with Olinda's father and soon they moved to the house on Roberts with Samuel's brother-in-law and his family. (Picture below of the house... which, for once, is still standing.)

Jennie had one older sister Arkalina who was born in 1881, possibly in MacPherson. She was called "Lena" for short.

The families moved to 3225 Smart ( still standing, picture below) also in Northeast. Jennie probably attended Scarritt Elementary School which opened in 1891. It's just three blocks from her house.

Sometime toward the end of October, 1896, Jennie came down with the croup. Her physician, Dr. S. R. Stofer undoubtedly visited the home. His residence was not far away in the 400 Block of Indiana. Croup, today, is very treatable and almost never fatal. Not so in the 19th century. Jennie's croup advanced to membraneous croup which is a very serious version of the disease that causes constriction of the membranes that line the lungs and windpipes.

I imagine that Jennie's bedroom was with her sister upstairs in the back... her parent's room nearby. Her uncle and aunt and cousins probably shared another room on the same floor. Everyone would have been aware of Jennie's illness and doing what they could to help.

Things never got better and she died on Halloween, October 31st, 1896... Jennie had just celebrated her 11th birthday on the 6th.

Jennie's funeral was held in the Smart home the next day. D.W. Newcomer's handled the details. The procession probably went up Smart to Benton continuing on to 15th Street and left to the Elmwood Cemetery entrance.

There is a chapel there now, built by the Armours in the early part of the next century. A beautiful stone church. Jennie's stone faces the road that runs by the Chapel.

Both her parents are buried in Elmwood too. Samuel died in March of 1926, but has no headstone. When he died he was living at 508 Wabash. Tragedy didn't end with Jennie for the family. Her mother was eventually committed to State Hospital No. 2 in St. Joseph where she died in 1911. Olinda does have a stone. (pictured below) Ironically, none of the family members are together.

Lena married William Andlauer president of the Andlauer film company which produced both shorts and feature length movies... some especially for the black community and one which featured Jack Johnson the boxer. William died in 1953. Lena survived him into the mid 1960s she and William had no children.

There is much more to tell about this family and I will do so in the future. But for the moment I just wanted to offer a remembrance of Jennie. We know a lot more about you now and you will never be forgotten again. Happy Birthday Jennie!!!
Jennie's stone next to Armour Chapel in Elmwood Cemetery with, happily, a very much alive 10 year old Sarah Koster in the background.
The Rutherford's first house at 3710 Roberts in Northeast Kansas City.
Their second home at 3225 Smart Avenue. The house where Jennie died. Her funeral was in the home on November 1st, 1896.
Jennie's death notice... the last line... this is where I found her middle name.
Lena, Jennie's sister, married William Andlauer who ran a successful film business. They lived at various places in the city mostly in the Northeast.
Olinda, Jennie's mother's headstone. A tragic story in her own right... losing her daughter and then struggling with insanity.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kessler Park, Early Fall

Walked along Cliff Drive today and up Goose Neck by Corinthian Hall. Last flowers of summer and first leaf changes of fall were on display. Cliff Drive closes to all motorized traffic at 2pm on Friday and remains closed all weekend.... it's a great place for a family walk, run or bike ride.