Michael Bushnell

The Blossom House Hotel was opened at 1048-50 Union Ave. in 1882 by Major George Newton Blossom to capitalize on the growing stock trade and rail traffic in the city’s West Bottoms District. At the time of its opening, over 90% of the city’s value lay in the West Bottoms district due to the presence of the meat packing houses, the stockyards and the rail depot, all centrally located in one area.

The hotel was directly across the street from the newly constructed Union Depot where Blossom also operated the Union Depot Hotel, opened in 1878 on the second floor of the depot.

Blossom came to Kansas City in 1878 and became well known in the city’s philanthropic circles, as well as being involved in real estate at the time. Blossom also had an interest in the Adams House Hotel at 1032 Union Ave.

The Blossom House was said to be the epitome of elegance during its almost 30-year run before the opening of the new Union Station on Pershing Road in 1915.

Fred S. Doggett, a relative of Blossom’s who also lived on Quality Hill, managed the hotel for almost 25 years and expertly catered to clients that ranged from the region’s political elite to stockmen tending to a cattle sale at the bustling stockyards immediately to the west. The hotel was often referred to as the second Capitol of Kansas, given the number of Kansas politicians who called the hostelry their home away from home.

The hotel survived three major floods during its lifespan, the first in 1887 and another, referred to as the Great Flood of 1903, that had floodwaters inundating the hotel’s first floor for weeks during that summer. The flood of 1908, however, was the last straw for city fathers and negotiations began to construct a new train depot on higher ground, away from the often swollen waters of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers.

Following the closure of Union Depot, business at the hotel dropped off drastically. In 1920, Doggett saw to the dismantling of the building, almost piece by piece. O’Leary’s Saloon, in the right foreground of the postcard picture, and Macy’s Restaurant, visible to the left of the hotel, along with the rest of the buildings on the block were razed and the old rails removed from the street as well.

Today there’s nothing more than a shadow on the ground on a satellite map of where the hotel and the old Union Depot once stood. The Blossom home at 1032 Pennsylvania, built in 1888 by Blossom’s widow a year following his death, still stands today and is the office of The Edgar Law Firm.