Blue Valley Neighborhood Association

Our Information

About Us

Blue Valley Neighborhood Association



History of Blue Valley

Ever since the beginning of western migration, the Blue River has been a profitable area. The first industry was trapping. About 1787. Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the famous frontiersman, spent about a dozen winters here. He said that it was "the best beaver country" that he knew of.

In the 1870's and 1880's, factories were built alon the Blue River and families built homes around them. Several small towns grew from these settlements. These towns were known as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, anc Centropolis. After Centropolis became a part of Kansas City, it became known as the Centropolis area, and later the "Blue Valley Area."

In the 1940's and 1950's, the area was a booming community which included mostly blue collar workers who worked in local industry such as the Ford Plant at 12th & Winchester. Further East on 12th Street were Black, Sivall's and Bryson, Butler Manufacturing, and the Vendo Corporation. Truman Road contained the Olympic Stadium which held miniature car races, motorcycle races, etc. Also along Truman Road were Prier Brass and Sheffield Steel (later known as Armco Steel, then GST Industries), as well as Union Wire Rope and, further South, Havens Steel.

Many churches enriched the history of the area. "Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church" (previously know as St. Stephens) celebrated their 100th Anniversary in 1988. In the year 1888, three groups of Pennsylvania capitalists came to Kansas City and located in the area. They organized the Kansas City Swithch and Frog Company, the Pennsylvania Car Works, and the Kansas City Bolt and Nut Company. They brought with them a large number of skilled workmen, among whom were German and Irish Catholics. It was during this boom that the first St. Stephen Church was built at Fourth and Bennington.

In 1899, a school for Methodist Deaconesses opened in the area to prepare women for service in churches as educators, missionaries, nurses, and social workers. In 1906 that school began developing the present location at Truman Rd. and Van Brunt Blvd. In 1940 the name of the school was changed to National College for Christian Workers. In 1953, the board opened the school to male students. In 1959 Saint Paul began sharing the campus with the National College and, in 1965, it became entirely Saint Paul School of Theology.

In 1915, the Independence Blvd. Christian Church opened a soup kitchen which became known as
"Whatsoever" and later developed into the present "Whatsoever Community Center" which is located at 1201 Ewing. In the 1960's when more capacity was needed, the community came together to get the job done. Havens Steel donated and fabricated the steel infrastructure for the building and Butler Manufacturing supplied the materials for the walls of the building which would contain a gym, meeting rooms, kitchen, and dining area. Members of the community offered their many varied skills to erect the building.

As the industries moved out of the area, so did many of the residents who followed their industries to protect their employment and thus began the decline of the neighborhood.

There are several schools in the area which include St. Stephens Academy, McCoy Elementary, Askew. Trailwoods, J.A. Rogers, and George Washington Carver. Carver was formerly known as Manchester and has a proud history in the area. It was originally the Jackson School, named for President Andrew Jackson. It merged with another school, the name Jackson was discontinued and was changed to Manchester. The school was condemned as unsafe for school use in 1918. War conditions halted building construction until 1919 when the present building was completed. Here night classes were held for adults of the district. Teachers from the Gates School taught women sewing and millinery. During the winter months of the 1920's the school was used for persons unable to speak English. Many of the Blue Valley factories employed immigrants who found the classes helpful in receiving their citizenship status.

The beautiful Blue Valley Park is located within the boundaries of the Blue Valley Neighborhood and contains a section of the old Santa Fe Trail.

The area is well protected by the East Patrol Division of the Kansas City Police Department. The Neighborhood Association and East Patrol work well together. The President of Blue Valley sits on the Advisory Committee of the Community Action Team.

Of equal importance in the protection of the area is the City's Fire Station 27 which houses Haz Mat 71 and Pumper 12. In 1978 when the city decided to close Station 27, the entire community came together to protest the closing of fire protection in our area. Mary Pierce, President of Blue Valley, started the "fight" by recruiting help throughout the community. Lorene House was named to chair a committee to organize the support of business and industry in the area. Blue Valley was joined by Sheffield Neighborhood Association and the two organizations were able to get the City Council to vote for retention of fire protection in this area. Later, structural defects forced the closing of the station. Again, the community rallied together and communicated with the City Council for fire protection in the area. After many meetings, it was decided that a new Fire Station 27 should be built at the same location. The new facility was dedicated in 1996 and remains a state of the art station at 6601 Truman Road.

Blue Valley Neighborhood Association Accomplishments

1. Association organized in 1976 with boundaries of 12th Street on the North, 40 Hwy on the South, Van Brunt Blvd on the West, and I-435 on the East.
2. A general cleanup of the neighborhood was done on Oct. 19, 1976.
3. One of the first endeavors involved getting the help of Councilman Bobby Hernandez to petition the city for sidewalks on Topping from 23rd St. to Askew School at 27th St. (3 months)
4. Winter of 1978, the Association began the process to keep the fire station at Truman Rd. and Bennington. Later, structural defects forced the closing of the station and again, the community rallied together and fought for fire protection in this area. A new facility known as the Haz Mat Center was dedicated at the same location on March 29, 1996.
5. From 1979 to 1993 many activities took place such as: weed cutting, rat control, the Paint Program, street maintenance, the Mining Operation in Blue Valley park, and the Blue River Flood Control Project.
6. When the group was not concentrating on heavy needs, they tried to develop educational and informational projects or social events to encourage participation of the members.
7. In April, 1994, the Association in cooperation with the Bishop Sullivan Center, obtained the help of over 150 students from Rockhurst College to paint over graffiti on houses and buildings in our area, followed by a cleanup of several badly littered blocks which filled two large dumpsters.
8. In June 1995, the Association, with the help of the East Patrol Police Department, cleaned up over 1,750 tires from the neighborhood and with a grant from the Self-Help Grant (administered by Kansas City Neighborhood Alliance) paid to have them recycled.
9. In October 1995, the Association, with the aid of the Bishop Sullivan Center and youth volunteers, cleaned yards and again painted graffiti. Finances were provided by a grant from the Self-Help Fund administered by KCNA.
10. During the winter of 1995 a "steering committee was formed which included Mary Pierce, Ross and JoAnn Stephens, David Castro, Marvin and Josephine Kale, Nancy Tolbert, and Tom Turner. Blue Hills Homes Corporation was invited into the neighborhood to lend their expertise to solving the many problems of the area. We sought a grant from the Ewin Marion Kauffman Foundation to hire a neighborhood planner. We were awarded a grant in the amount of $43,826 and Kelly Hrabe was hired and developed a Neighborhood Plan. The final draft was submitted to City Hall on September 24, 1998.
11. Another program financed through a grant from KCNA was accomplished through a cooperative effort with the Bishop Sullivan Center. For this program, senior high schoolers were employed to oversee younger students in cleaning up the neighborhood and to keep them off the streets for the summer. The senior students participated in our neighborhood and steering committee meetings and also attended City Council meetings.
12. On October 16, 1996, we celebrated our 20th Anniversary with a reception at the Saint Paul School of Theology, paid for with some of our Self-Help Grant money. Approximately 65 people attended.
13. In late 1996 another grant was petitioned from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to emply a single family development specialist and begin a revitalization of the neighborhood. Blue Hills Homes Corporation, Bishop Sullivan Center, and the Blue Valley Neighborhood Association were awarded $180,000 for a 3 year period to help with the accomplishment of our goals. Supporting us at the presentation were Senator Ronnie DePasco, Major Dean Kelley (East Patrol Commander), Larry Williams (Vice president of Saint Paul School of Theology), and Robbie Hill (3rd District Representative from the City's Neighborhhod and Community Services Dept.)
14. We met with HABITAT in 1997 regarding the building of new affordable housing in our area and lots have been chosen and building is to begin in the near future.
15. The Blue Valley Neighborhood had one of the most successful Clean Sweeps yet. On October 4, 1997, we removed 2,500 tires, filled 29 dumpsters with trash and/or brush and leaves, had over 60 tons of bulky items removed from curbside, almost 50 catch basins cleaned, a vacant lot cleaned by CCAP, and collected over 50 bicycles for the Trikes for Tykes program. Over 200 volunteers from the Neighborhood Association, Bishop Sullivan Center, East High School, Blue Hills Homes Corporation, Northeast High School, Marillac, and local churches participated.
16. The Self-Help grants for 1997 and 1998 were used to finance block parties and cleanups in correlation with the Kansas City Building Blocks program. We also began a "Block Bucks" program where the neighborhood children were rewarded with movied tickets, bowling dollars, roller skating tickets, McDonald's gift certificates, Godfather's pizza, etc. for volunteering to pick up trach, help the elderly, etc. We were very successful with the organization of 6 blocks. In addition, we have filled 16 dumpsters at 10 different locations with trash or brush/leaves since March 1998.
17. On November 12, 1998, over 150 volunteers furnished by "Family Matters" provided weatherization, painting, gutter cleaning, and yard raking for 20 elderly or disabled residents of the neighborhood.

Sponsored Links
Advertise Here!

Promote Your Business or Product for $10/mo


For just $10/mo you can promote your business or product directly to nearby residents. Buy 12 months and save 50%!


Zip Code Profiler

64126 Zip Code Details

Neighborhoods, Home Values, Schools, City & State Data, Sex Offender Lists, more.