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Interview with Adolph Oropeza by Laurie Bretz as part of the Trabajo y Cultura (Work & Culture) Project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Oropeza describes being born in Michoacan, Mexico, and moving to Kansas City, Kansas, with his family as a 2-year-old. He worked as a farmworker as a teenager, and later worked for the Santa Fe and Rock Island railroad companies, and describes the work he and other Mexican workers did in those industries, including unionization in the railroad companies.

Interview with Melquiades Quiroga by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Quiroga discusses being brought to the United States by his parents in 1915 at the age of 4, and going to work in the ice plant in Argentine in 1928. He describes working 15-20 hour days, and the formation of the union in 1942. After unionizing, he reports higher wages, but also describes pay discrimination, winter work reduction and families living in uninsulated shacks, and the hard work done at the ice plant.

Interview with Vincente Vargas by Laurie Bretz as part of a project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Vargas was born in the Rosedale area of Kansas City, Kansas, in 1925. He discusses Mexican workers being recruited by railroad companies along the border, and the types of work they would do, and workers living in bunks in passenger cars until they were able to settle and obtain other housing. Vargas also describes his father taking the childred out of school in the spring for farm work in Nebraska, and returning to Mexico during the Depression.

Interview with sisters Aurora Oropeza and Trini Torrez by Laurie Bretz as part of a project to document the history of the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. The women discuss their childhoods in Kansas City, Kansas, and their brother Adolfo going to work with the railroads to support the family after the death of their father in Mexico. They also discuss racial and gender discrimination in their educational experience, and going through college during the Depression and working as a nurse.

Date: 
March 21st 1980

Interview with Francisco Ruiz, Millie Rivera, Mike Sanchez, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Amayo, Carmen Ayala and others by Robert Oppenheimer as part of a project to document the history of the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. Among the topics discussed are the local Mexican community working for the railroads, on farms, and for the meatpacking companies between the two world wars, unionization efforts, and the movement of workers and their families around the Midwest.

Interview with Juan and Pascual Madrigal by Laurie Bretz as part of the Trabajo y Cultura (Work & Culture) Project documenting the Kansas City, Kansas, Hispanic community. The men discuss coming to Kansas City in 1925 after the Mexican Revolution, attending the Clara Barton School that served the Mexican community, working for the Santa Fe railroad and the local ice plant, and unionization efforts in hopes of improving working hours and wages.

Date: 
April 29th 1980

Set of 3 hand-drawn ink-on-linen maps showing the harbor lines for the Kansas River at Kansas City, Kansas, from Turkey Creek to the Argentine Wagon Bridge, showing U. S. Harbor lines, and Kaw Valley Drainage Districts modified lines. Prepared by the Chief Engineer, Drainage Board, for the Kaw Valley Drainage District. It includes the locations of manufacturers along the river.

Date: 
January 4th 1919

Photograph of an interior view of customers and waitresses at the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company's Fred Harvey House in Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri. Over 9,000 meals were served at the restaurant in a 24-hour period.

Exterior photograph of Southern Kansas Stage Lines freight terminal and garage in Kansas City, Missouri, with unidentified employees.

Interior view of an Santa Fe Railroad Shop. Back of photograph includes a blurb that states: "Santa Fe's modern Kansas City Freight Station has seven tracks and will accomodate 113 box cars. The rail dock is 962 feet long, and from 168 to 228 fee wide. A floor conveyor system runs the length of the freight house, with one loop circling the rail dock, the other the truck dock. The freight house is 1,744 feet long, with the east portion, 80 feet by 782 feet, serving the Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company."

Map depicting locations of railroad lines in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City adjacent to the Stockyards.

This map of Wyandotte County, KS, shows the land owners on sections in townships 10-12 south, and ranges 23-25 east. It includes the towns of Quindaro, Shawnee, Kansas City, Edwardsville, and Bonner Springs. In addition, roads, railroads, electric railways, schools, churches, cemeteries, streams, and rivers are marked on the map. Railroads in the area include: Kansas City, Kaw Valley & V.R.R.R.

Date: 
December 23rd 1918

Illustration of adults and children performing tasks around the exterior of an Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad car. Railroad companies reused cars as housing for Mexican railroad workers, many of whom were recent immigrants could not find or afford more permanent housing.

KANSAS CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY | DIGITAL HISTORY
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.