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History of Westport High School (Part 1)

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 theater.
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)

This is the official web site for the Westport High School, Class of 1957 Reunion Committee. Contact Jim Carras (jim@carras.com) for any comments, suggestions, corrections or recommendations.