By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
June 12, 2013
Seems fitting with the spring rains we’re experiencing that we run a photo postcard showing a scene in the West Bottoms during the great flood of 1908.
The postcard depicts 13th and Hickory streets during the June flood. The John Deere Plow Company building can be seen with floodwaters from the Missouri and Kansas rivers lapping at its door and loading dock. At that time, there were no levies or dikes to channel the swirling river’s water away from business and residential districts along its banks.
Five years earlier, the “great” flood of 1903 occurred, flooding the same area and interrupting train service to Kansas City for almost two weeks. During both floods, livestock from the stockyards was paraded up walkways and into the Livestock Exchange building in order to avoid financial ruin for owners and traders. Millions, however, were lost in both stock and property during the two floods.
It should be no surprise that following the 1908 flood, city leaders drew up plans to move the then-called Union Depot from the oft-flooded West Bottoms to a higher location. The Pershing Road location was chosen for the new depot, Union Station.
This real photo postcard was sent to Miss Rose Dierks who resided at Armour Boulevard and The Paseo. It reads, “Best regards and wishes from yours truly.” It is signed with the initials P. L. D. The card was mailed July 13, 1908.