by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Over the past few weeks, I have reviewed several topics in Marjorie Tate’s Rural Sociology notebook about Grain Valley and Jackson County. If you visit the Historical Society Museum, there are many more pages you would probably finding interesting. After all, Miss Tate did a very thorough report on rural Jackson County 100 years ago.
I will conclude my writing this week by sharing a portion of the 1922 Jackson County Map which she included in her notebook. Beginning up North (at the top of the map) you will see that many of the “old towns” of Jackson County are no longer “on our maps.”
Those towns include Atherton, Courtney, Cement City, Ripley and Lake City. Yes, there was a town at Lake City which once had nearly 1,000 people living there. I don’t wish to insult anyone, but you could almost include Sibley and Levasy in that list. Sibley is and probably always will be alive because of Fort Osage and it is also the home of Jackson County Public Water District # 16, the Evergy Power Plant and the Sibley Orchard. I think there is still one farm store in Levasy. Both towns lack today’s essentials - food and gasoline!
Further south on the 1922 map are the other now defunct towns which include Little Blue, Knobtown, Tarsney, Cockrell and Sni Mills. In those days, each of these towns had a U. S. Post Office, along with a general store. While some were larger than others, I believe most had a livery stable, a small hotel, a restaurant and a saloon! And the Missouri Pacific Railroad crossed through Levasy, Lake City, and Ripley.
Over the years, many of the roads have received new names. Did you know that one hundred years ago, Buckner Tarsney Road was known as Buckner-Grain Valley Road? When Spring Branch Road was resurfaced and straightened (I remember all of those curves and sharp turns from my youth) in the early 1960s, it was renamed Truman Road after the hometown boy and 33rd President of the United States.
In 1922, Highway 24 was known as the Harry B. Hawes State Highway. While Mr. Hawes had many years of public service including the Missouri House and Senate, the U. S. Senate and Ambassador to Spain, between 1917-1920 he was president of the Missouri Good Roads Federation and of the Federated Roads Council of St. Louis.
Before U. S. 40 Highway was created in 1926, Sni-a-Bar Road was the main route from Grain Valley to Kansas City. Other important roads in Jackson County 100 years ago included R. D. Mize, Colborn and Woods Chapel. Many roads simply got their names because of the towns they connected; Lee’s Summit-Lone Jack Road, Courtney-Atherton Road and Blue Springs-Tarsney Road (now part of 7 Highway) to name a few.
I’m sure there are many more changes of which I am unaware. I welcome you to visit the Grain Valley Historical Society Museum and fill us in on your early knowledge of Grain Valley and Jackson County. Add to our historical records; let us know what you know!
During the fall and winter months the Historical Society is opened on Wednesday from 10 AM – 3 PM, or by appointment. Check us out on our web site – www.grainvalleyhistory.com
1922 Road Map, on display at the Grain Valley Historical Society. Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society