March 2, 2024

Springswines

The Tour And Travel Enthusiasts

Hostelry served downtown community for almost a century

2 min read
Hostelry served downtown community for almost a century
Hostelry served downtown community for almost a century

Michael Bushnell
Publisher

The venerable Densmore Hotel located at 906-914 Locust was part of Kansas City’s downtown for almost 100 years.

Built in 1898, the Densmore was unique in that it consisted of two seven-story towers with roughly 82 rooms each, connected at the base by a common lobby and a huge front porch and veranda.

This postcard, published by the Elite Postcard Company of Kansas City, shows the Densmore, possibly during the springtime with flowers hanging from the porch and in planter boxes along the front porch.

The home immediately to the left of the hotel, bearing the address of 918 Locust, was the residence of early Kansas City lawyer J.V.C. Karnes. Karnes served on the city’s School Board for over 20 years and was instrumental in the establishment of the first public library. Karnes was also the namesake of the innovative Karnes School, built in 1880 on 4th Street between Troost and Gillis.

The school was later moved in 1907 to Pacific between Holmes & Charlotte bearing the address of 550 Charlotte Avenue. The school was a staple of the Columbus Park neighborhood for over 60 years. After sitting vacant for almost a decade, it was demolished in 1982.

The Densmore Hotel continued to operate up through the 1970s and 1980’s. As downtown changed, so did the Densmore’s client base. By 1985 it served primarily as a transient hotel catering to those on lower, fixed incomes. As part of an aggressive Parks plan, the hotel succumbed to the wrecking ball late in the late 1990’s to make way for Ilus Davis Park just north of City Hall.

The postcard was mailed to G. J. Mobus of Jasper, Mich. on August 5, 1912 at 10 a.m. The personal message reads: “Hello, am in Kans City Mo. Train leaves in an hour. Rec’d Henry’s letter in Troy. Have been riding street cars for 3 hrs in this city.”