Life in Raytown...Way Back When...
January 26, 2012
Ever wonder what life was like way back when? For me, it’s fun to read about events and happenings, especially in the town where I work. That’s what I can do by researching the Raytown News/Raytown Tribune/Raytown News Dispatch on microfilm. The Raytown Branch recently acquired microfilm from the Raytown Historical Society for the Raytown News from January 2, 1930—November 29, 1962. This completes the entire microfilm collection of Raytown News/Raytown Tribune/Raytown News Dispatch microfilm from December 30, 1926 through July 5, 1995, when the newspaper office closed.
I was fascinated by the first Raytown News, published in 1926. Several ads caught my attention. There were "Used Fords" priced from $35 upward at Lewis-Robinson Motor Company. Heck Drug Store was selling Chamberlain’s Toilet Articles—hand lotion, hair tonic, and shampoo for .35 per bottle. There was advice under Poultry Hints: "If you shut up the pullets, they may lose their appetite." A local restaurant, Just Around the Corner, had these items on their menu: Fried Ham $.15, Egg $.15, Bowl of Chili $.15, Pork Chop $.15, and Kansas City Strip Steak for $.20. Times have changed.
In the June 16, 1927 newspaper, a picture of a lace and chiffon negligee was described for the "ultra-feminist." Church news was usually on the front page along with town gossip, "Miss Luella Dehoney and Miss Edna White attended a bridge party Monday evening given by Miss Mary Ballinger at the home of Mr. and Mrs. JH Percival."
Other events of interest in Raytown appear in the newspapers:
- Kansas City was starting to annex outskirts of Raytown. Raytowners did not want that, and Raytown was incorporated in 1950. The first mayor was Leroy Cox. Law enforcement was directed by Marshal-Police Chief Harry Lewis. The first year, Chief Lewis worked for no pay. Later, he was offered $35 a month.
- In the late 1940s, Coach Chittwood came to Raytown and guided the Raytown High School Blue Jays Football Team on a path to victory for many years.
- Raytown Schools were consolidated in the 1950s. Raytown Schools expanded rapidly in the 50s and early 60s.
- In 1962, the first shopping mall in the area—The Raytown Plaza—was built.
- In 1964, Bobbi Johnson, a Raytown High School graduate, won the Miss Universe crown.
- On August 10, 1978, Cave Spring was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also, in 1978, the Rice-Trimonti House was listed on the National Register.
The Raytown Branch made the news many times over the years with its start in 1945 at a storefront on 63rd Street. Then, it moved to old City Hall in 1957, was remodel in 1966, and groundbreaking and expansion in 1989. There were numerous articles about circulation increases, programs, and many pictures of busy checkouts on school day afternoons. A library levy in 1963 created headlines in a March 1963 newspaper.
We are grateful to the Raytown Historical Society for giving the Raytown Branch the remainder of the Raytown News/Raytown Tribune/Raytown News Dispatch microfilm to complete our collection. If you want to see the actual newspapers, put on the white gloves and view them at the Raytown Historical Society.