The 1940 Kansas City Project

Missouri Valley Sundays
Historian John Simonson explains how a 1940 photographic survey of Kansas City – part of an effort to create an honest property tax policy after years of Pendergast corruption – left us with a remarkable record from the year before America was plunged into World War II.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
2:00 pm
RSVP Required

By 1940, Kansas City authorities had finally deposed “Boss Tom” Pendergast. In the spring of that year, teams of laborers from the Works Progress Administration began a months-long effort to produce Jackson County’s first systematic property tax assessment.

Part of their job was to photograph every taxable structure in the county. Many of those photos survive in the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Local historian John Simonson traces the project and presents fascinating examples from this remarkable photographic record from 1940.