Notable Kansas Citians from the Past

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"Men Who Are Making Kansas City"

Men Who Made Kansas City

Web adaptation of the book "Men Who Are Making Kansas City"
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The Trial of
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The History of Fairmount Park

 

Willard E. Winner

Willard E. Winner was born in Fairfield, Iowa, May 4, 1849.  In 1852 his parents moved to Kansas City, Kas., and in 1863 crossed the river into Kansas City, Mo.

     Mr. Winner was robbed of an education by early responsibilities, for at the age of eleven he was compelled to seek employment.  He worked as a clerk until 1866, when he was given a position in   the post office, where he remained for eleven years, and working up to the position of assistant postmaster.  He resigned in 1877 to open a real estate office, and in 1883 organized the Winner Investment Company, and then commenced to write with virile hand some of the most splendid chapters in the history of Kansas City's growth and greatness.  He did business of millions, turned barren tracts into residence districts, and originated the plan of selling houses on the installment plan.  He built the Kansas City, Independence Park Railway, the Vine Street line, and started to build a bridge at the foot of Cherry Street, which should connect his immense properties in Clay County, making that the Brooklyn to Kansas City's New York.  The great "boom" burst in 1882.  The immensity of Mr. Winners enterprises made them hard to carry, yet so well were they planned that not until four years later, at the height of the depression, was it found impossible to secure the money for their completion.

     He is now the president of the Industrial Development Company and the Leavenworth Construction Company.
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