History of Westport High School
Westport High School, at 39th and Locust
streets, opened its doors in the fall of 1908. Constructed
at a cost of nearly $500,000, of stone and brick, it was at
the time the finest school in Kansas City and among the finest
in the country.
Laying the cornerstone in 1907, General Milton Moore said, “We
stand on historic ground. By the side of this old elm passed
the Santa Fe Trail. It followed the hollow around the base of
the hill, through Westport to the prairies.”
Westport High School embodied the latest ideas in school buildings
and modern education, gathered from a trip to the east by Charles
A. Smith, school board architect; Joseph Brady, chief engineer,
and S. A. Underwood, principal.
There were 60 large classrooms, an auditorium seating 1,400,
a gymnasium, shower baths, cafeteria, housekeeping suite, mechanical
and domestic science departments, laboratories and broad stairways.
A news story of the day reported, "Here is a school equipped
to teach a boy blacksmithing, or a girl cooking and sewing, but
at the same time offer Greek."
The new high school replaced
an earlier one at 39th and Warwick boulevard. The original
burned in 1907, and pupils attended classes afternoons in the
Central High School until the new school was completed.
A bluebook of Kansas Citians could be compiled from Westport graduation
lists, representing most professions, business, athletics and the
One Westport alumnus proudly remembered, was Marjorie Hires, who
at 18, won the singles crown of the Women’s Central West
Tennis championship. Her pictures filled the sports pages, and
students gathered at the park courts after school to watch her.
Marjorie continued to win for her school, city and state. Today,
she is Mrs. John B. Gage, wife of the former mayor.
Westport has had many additions and improvements through the years,
but the exterior is little changed.
Kansas City Star - November
22, 1969 (Edited)