Monday, August 25, 2014

Fred Wolferman Grocery

This installment of the Fairgrounds Branch tour looks at Fred Wolferman Grocery, which was spot #354 on the 1972 Map.

Unfortunately for this modeler, it seems that this industry was no longer active in my desired target era.  According to this 1986 People Magazine article, their participation in the local Kansas City grocery market ended in 1972.  If that's the case, rail service to this location ended earlier than that as the company wound down operations.  However, this KC History source says the last store was open until 1984.  For this particular property, however, things were likely shaken up or closed down in 1974 as both this Missouri Business Record source and OpenCorporates Database source claim an end date of June 20th in that year.

This 1963 business filing record lists "Fred Wolferman Building Company" as the owner of this property (the address is actually on the east-west Karnes Blvd. that is south of the end of the Fairgrounds Branch).  I suspect that the name change was tied to an internal restructuring of operations (e.g. spinning off assets into separate wholly-owned 'companies').  It could also mean that the usage of this building changed at this time from its original grocery warehouse purposes to a nice building to rent to someone else.

1963 is right between two other references: The 1950 Sanborn map and the 1972 railroad map.  I suppose that since Fred Wolferman was still in business, the Frisco had no reason to change their maps in the ensuing nine years to read anything else, even if they were no longer spotting carloads of groceries or produce there.

With respect to my recreation of this area, a careful selection of time frame will determine if I either have the challenge of modeling an unused warehouse and a rusty siding or exercise some modelers' license and keep Fred Wolferman's alive for a few more years.

While researching this far, I came across several other tidbits of information:
  • This property record source indicates that the property was constructed in 1940.
  • Universal Color, Inc is associated with the property in 1998.
  • Kansas City Poster Display was located there as of early 1990.
    • Interestingly. this particular company was in business from 1939 to 2003, but despite the close association of that timeframe to the building's reported construction date, KCPD was located elsewhere as of 1952 so their move to this location was likely in the post-rail service era.
The State Historical Society of Missouri may have some information on the company or this building.  Their website lists a collection of documents for Fred Wolferman, Inc. (record #K0205)