Industry dominate Blue Valley District

Posted October 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
October 9, 2013

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The Sheffield Car & Equipment Co. began to show up in Kansas City, Mo., city directories around 1911. Listed at an address of the Blue River at the Santa Fe Railway tracks, the company appears to have occupied space later occupied by the Sheffield Steel Mill in the Blue River Industrial Area.

For roughly 16 years, the company listed Walter S. Carr of Oak Park, Ill., as president and treasurer; Joseph D. Purcell of Chicago, Ill., as vice president, and locally, a Christopher Wise as secretary.

In 1919 city directories, Wise is shown as living at 620 W. 59 St. in the still-fashionable Sunset Hill area. In 1921, however, Wise was residing at the Inez Hotel near Ninth and Troost. Two years later his address is listed in Fairland Heights, Mo., or more exactly, the Fairland Heights Subdivision near the intersection of Winner Road, Arlington and 16th Street. He lived here with his wife Irene.

There’s no listing in any city directories for The Sheffield Car & Equipment Co after 1927, leading me to believe that the company was either absorbed by the fledgling Kansas City Terminal Railway or that the property was bought by the Sheffield Steel Corporation. Close examination of the grounds where the buildings would have stood reveal only gravel roads and a railroad sign reading “Blue River Junction.”

The card was mailed to Mr. Earl Swank, RFD Trenton, Mo. from the Sheffield Station, Dec. 6, 1910. (The postmark is difficult to read; the date could be 1912.) The message reads: “Hello Earl, Will send you a picture of where I hang out.”

The advertising message on the back states: “Sheffield Car & Equipment Co. BUILDERS Freight Cars, Steel Underframes, Heavy Repairs. REBUILT EQUIPMENT FOR SALE.” It is not known whether they actually built any rail cars.