“Dear Cousin, I like the chickens fine. We got two eggs today. They are all counted here. Jennie, if you have the lard you don’t need to save it for me and let me know cause I will take it. Ans[wer] soon. Lovingly, Mildred Carr. 1255 Park Ave., K.C. K.”
So reads the personal message on this postcard sent to Mrs. Jennie Kanturick, RFD #2, Oak Grove, Mo., at 12:50 p.m. on April 12, 1910. This hand colored postcard, #174 was published by S. H. Knox Company of Kansas City, Mo., showing St. Mary’s Hospital located at 28th and Main Street in Kansas City.
The cornerstone for the old St. Mary’s Hospital located on the west side of Main Street at 28th Street was laid October 13, 1907. Roughly a year and a half later, on May 18, 1909, the hospital was dedicated and officially opened. Nursing staff for the hospital was provided by the St. Louis Sisters of Saint Mary who had arrived in Kansas City a decade earlier and had been serving officially at German Hospital’s first facility on Holmes near 23rd Street.
The architectural firm of Howe, Hoit & Cutler was commissioned with the design of the new four-story brick, 250-bed hospital. Reserved for the city’s poor and indigent population, 72 beds were “free” beds, aligning with the sisters’ charity work. In 1916, a new wing was added to the north end of the hospital that included a beautiful chapel, complete with artisan crafted stained glass windows, painted frescoes on the ceiling and an elaborate altar where priests could conduct services for the hospital’s Catholic staff and patients.
As the city’s population grew, more space was needed and a new four-story wing was built on the old building’s southwest corner in 1950, directly facing the Liberty Memorial’s southern mall. Three additional floors were added shortly thereafter to accommodate the growing need.
Old St. Mary’s Hospital continued to serve Kansas City until February 11, 1988, transferring what remained of its staff and patients to the new Saint Mary’s Medical Center built in Blue Springs in 1981.
The Marillac Center for Children remained in the original 1907 building through 2003 when the entire site was purchased by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Demolition of both facilities began in 2004. The only remnants of the old hospital are a monument constructed of bricks from the old Saint Mary’s Hospital where the hospital’s chapel bell hangs above the 1907 cornerstone and a dedicatory plaque, commemorating the service of the Sisters of Saint Mary’s for over a century.