Michael Bushnell

Around the turn of the 20th Century, it was not uncommon for local photo-postcard companies to go door-to-door in Kansas City’s more affluent neighborhoods. 

Postcard companies would take a photo of the home and sell copies of the photo in postcard form to the homeowner as a “keepsake” the family could send to out-of-town friends announcing their new real estate acquisition.

This Real Photo, Photo-Postalgraph was published by the Fred B. Schell, Photographic Advertising Company, Central Building, Kansas City and #34 Union Square, West, New York City. The card shows “The Roberts Home” located in Mellier Place, Kansas City, Mo.

ADDENDUM: Census records from 1900 show the address of the home is 3630 Bell. It is owned by William Roberts, a piano salesman who lives there with his wife Calla, three sons, Carrick, Taylor B. and William Jr. A servant also lives with the family, 17-year old Katherine Ford.

The house still stands today and is listed for sale at just under $600,000. 

Mellier Place is a subdivision located in what is now considered the Volker Neighborhood, bounded by 37th Street on the north, 39th Street to the south, Wyoming on the east and State Line on the west. The addition was originally platted in 1887 by Walter G. Mellier, listed as a vice president of the Mellier-Duncan Real Estate Company.

Mellier, a St. Louis born cattle dealer turned real estate developer, came to Kansas City in 1879. His real estate company, taking advantage of the great land boom occurring in Kansas City at the turn of the 20th century, platted a number of additions in the Midtown area including Llewellyn Park in 1886, Mellier Place Annex in 1889, and Mellier Park in 1900. 

Some of the more notable residents of the Mellier Place area were William Volker, whose Roselawn Estate was located at 3717 Bell; former City Assessor George Lee; and A. Wallace Love, a noted building contractor and operator of the Phoenix Drug Store.

Van Horn Elementary School, located at 40th and Wyoming was originally called Mellier Place School before being annexed into the Kansas City School district in 1904. 

No information was given about the Roberts family who owned this home. The card bears a hand written date of May 1901.

Footnote: Our thanks to Ellen Schwaller-Goebel for the updated information for this week’s postcard column.