History of St. Anthony's Home for Infants in Kansas City, MO
We just got back from a trip to the Mid West. One of my missions was to find the place where I was born. I was born in St. Vincent's Hospital and placed in St. Anthony's Home for Infants in Kansas City MO. The area, once a lovely old neighborhood with Victorian homes, lush trees and a big church, is now a bedraggled area which is not safe after dark as I have been told it is a crack area now. All that said, I'll shorten the long history which I got while I was there.

The home was regarded as the successor to the home for abandonded babies begun by Mrs. Richard Keith and others in 1898. Babies were being left at local hospitals and police stations so Mrs. Keith wanted to find a way to provide for these children. The auxilary Bishiop John J. Glennon warned that it would be a huge undertaking.

On 17 Aug 1899, St. Anthony's Home for Infants was established at 23rd St. between Walrond and College. This would be the site for St. Vincent's Maternity Hospital(later renamed Queen of the World). Only two days after the home was opened was the first baby received and within 3 years more than 100 babies had been admitted regardless of religion or nationality. However the home could not accomodate all the babies which were in need of care.

In 1899 the Sisters of St. Mary took over the home but they remained in KC only a few months as they were recalled to St. Louis to open a hospital for consumptives. On 21 June 1900 the "Black Cap" Sisters of Charity founded by St. Elizabeth Seaton came from Cincinnati to take charge and it was during this time that the maternity hospital was established.

In 1906 a new 60 room brick building, called St. Vincent's HOspital, was erected to replace the frame home which was then relocated to a corner of the property to serve as a nurses home.

In 1908 the Sisters of Charity withdrew as they could not provide enough personnel to run the home the way it should be run so during the interim the children were cared for by volunteers.

Children were kept there until the age of 5 after which time the boys were sent to the Kansas City Boy's Home at Westport Road and Belleview and presumably the girls were sent to the ST. Joseph Orphan Girl's Home.

In 1909 the Daughters of Charity from Emmittsburg agreed to take over the home. These sisters had been in charge of the KC Orphan Boy's home. By 1923 these sisters had cared for more than 1000 children.

In 1913 it was decided that a wing was to added on the 23rd and Walrond side and this building was opened in 1915 and could accomodate 235 children. This new wing became the exclusive home for the babies and the old wing became St. Vincent's Maternity Hospital.

For more than 40 years, while the home was located on 23rd St., the most important day of the year was the feast of the Holy Innocents, Dec 28th, when Santa Claus came with a present for each child. (I missed Santa by one day).

Over the years, changes were made to the facility. In 1951 the hospital began operating on a non -segregated basis and in that year the first black doctors were added to the staff.

In 1954 the hospital was changed into a general hospital and renamed Queen of the World Hospital. It became necessary to relocate the maternity home. In 1955 hte new home was located at 1414 E.27th St whcih was the former Fairmount Maternity Hospital. This home was used to provide medical care, education, counseling and other necessary assistance to the unwed mothers
25 of whom would be in the residence and the others on an outpatient basis.

In 1964 the home was changed due to the importance of personal contact and sensory stimulation which can only really be provided in a home situation. Babies from then on were placed in foster homes until they were adopted. The most unusual arrival of a baby at the home was a one that arrived in a suitcase which had ben left at Union Station. Others were simply left on the steps of the home. Following this change, the rooms once used for the babies etc facilities for the unwed mothers were expanded and the name was changed to St. Anthony Home.

The girls were given medical attention through St, Mary Hospital where the babies were usually born. Because of lack of personnel, in 1969 the Sisters withdrew and the home was taken over by the Catholic Family and Community SErvices.

On June 6th 1986 the property was sold to Welcome HOuse, an alcoholic rehab agency.

NOTE: If anyone goes to visit this location, do so in the daytime.As I said, the neighborhood is a rough place now after dark, I was told. Also, the street address is 3220 E. 23rd Rd and the facility is called Benilde Hall which is a place to provide additional transitional assistance to those recovering from substance abuse etc.

The only structure left is the brick building that one time housed the unwed mothers. The Hospital is gone as is the wing that was St. Anthony's Home for Infants. The grounds are quite pretty with large trees and pretty grounds in an otherwise sad neighborhood.

Just 2 weeks before I arrived there another lady was there on the same mission. The lady there gave me verbal history and sent me the detailed history of the facility. I did see the inside of th maternity home which has seen a litttle change on the first floor but the upstairs, which Idid not see due to the residents there, is unchanged. The stairs the mom's had to climb were steep!

I hope this has given some answers to some others from St. Anthony's Home for Infants.
St. Anthony's Kansas City History
Blue Irish Eyes,

Thank you for the history of the KC maternity home. I have been interested in all KC maternity homes since spending time in Flo Crit in 1962-63.

You are very welcome. I am glad you found the thread and found it helpful.

At the time I visited the site where St. Anthony's once stood, I was still with the CC in an active search. But when I got home, according to the CI there had been no reply at all to any of the letters she said she had sent..some regular..some certified..some to the POBox..and some to the home itself...and now I believe the case has been closed as the court was asking for it to be concluded.

At that point,visiting the site, I sort of started to feel some sense of peace about things...but I still wanted to know what happened to the bmom even if she does not want contact. And to my mind no reply is not the same as saying I don't want to hear from you,.How do I know she even got her mail?

So I finally went to a PI..a well known one and if you are interested in who, you can PM me for that. Anyway, earlier I had submitted my history as I knew it to them for an opinion as to whether or not the case could be sloved and the answer was yes and a price was quoted. It was HIGH..but on Labor Day I got a coupon from them for half off..(for the first 50 to resospond by 5 or 15 Sept.) anyway I took them up...and on Tuesday I sent by Express Mail my copies of all the adoption data I had and all the messages from the CI regarding that effort. I got an email on Thursday telling me my package had arrived and they had already made great strides in the case and on Fri I got a message in the afternoon the case is completed. So I called to make arrangements for payment and I hope to get some news today or tomorrow.They wait until checks are clear or credit cards show the charge completed.( they have been skunked by some dishonest people using stolen cards in the past). So I should at least know the circumstances this week of why I was relinquished. Hope the news is good about the people, that is to say I hope there are no jailbirds or crooks in the histroy...

If you are searching I hope and wish for you success.
St. Anthony's Home
My mother gave birth to a son and was at the home. How can I find out more info on St Anthony's Home???? She told me the name of two of the sisters that worked there. One was called Virginia, known as (gini) the other was Cecelia Marie. If this sounds familiar please email me. I am not sure of the dates but think it was 1966 or 1967. I am trying to find my brother and thought that knowing the history a little more and maybe finding people that were there with her it might help me.
What to learn about St. Anthony's Home for Infants

I went to KC, I live in CA, last June because I had to see where I was born. I did post a long history of St. Anthony's. In short, the hospital which was called St. Vinvent's, when I was born in 1946 ( two days before New Year's Day)...is now gone. It is a parking lot. And the grounds are still beautiful..the orphanage, ST. Anthony's is gone too and there is a long fence. The only building which still does stand is what once was the residence for the mom's until the infants were born... I saw that and it is a brick building... there is now a newer building there but the place, which took up a city block then, is now a sort of transition place for folks ( men) who are recovering from alcohol or drugs or have that post traumatic stress disorder...the ladies there were helpful in showing me around. If you go there, do so in the day time. The neighborhood once was a lovely place with Victorian homes andnow is a bad neighborhood..get out by sunset..it is a crack haven I was told.

Now that said, there are no records there from any adoptions. To start, I would suggest calling the court in Kansas City, MO. However, you need to be aware that MO has rather tough laws regarding searches. It is your mother who must make the effort to locate information about her son. You can't do that for her.
On the other hand, if your mom is deceased, perhaps they will consider it but what I had to do before any non id information would be released was to either have my parents persmission or if deceased, I had to produce certified copies of the death certificates. The non id information cost me $50.00. I don't know it that is the current charge or not at present.

Apart from that, what documents does your mother have in her possession regarding reliquishment of her son? She will need her paper work if she has any. It will help a lot if she gave the child a name and has his birthdate etc...that is a place to start.

On the non id info, she will get simply what she most likely already knows...her description and that of the father...but the court will not tell you where the boy is..they do not act as a search agency and they may tell you to contact the agency through which the adoption took place. I'll bet since it was St. Anthony's, Catholic Charities had something to do with placement procedures in KC.

In addition I know of a searcher who can do MO searches for you. I do not know what she charges but she is well thought of by those of us born in MO and if you want that info you should PM me. I have also another suggestion that I could share in PM as well.

And there is a member of the forums here who has the screen name Searchguru. YOu can find many of her helpful posts on the threads here. I have seen her suggestions of locations to contact for various states and that is a good step off place too.

The task of a search takes for some of us a long time....so you have to have patience. This is not easy.

Back to contacting the court....if your mom has a reason such as something important in a medical way that needs to be shared with the adoptive family, she should make that clear and they may be able to be more helpful. I did not use the court.. I used a CI ( confidential intermederiary) ...if you read many comments around these threads, you will see some have had great results while others have not...so check them out....read all you can...and be very sure what you are doing and the reasons why. This is very serious business in the world of the triad...I can't tell you strongly enough how serious this is and there are consequences sometimes that we don't expect. This is not a lecture ...just benefit of my own experiences.

PM me for more information. There are others here who are very helpful and the group of posters here are all understanding and when things get hard..boy we support one another. It is it's own little family here and we look after one another. It is a safe place and a good place to be.

Good luck.. I hope I have helped and let me know if there is anything else I can do at least to point you towards someone who can help in ways I can't.
I am not a searcher...who knows maybe one day I will be..
Thank you for the information as I am just now starting my journey,Than you again.
Thank you for the excellent history of St. Anthony's Home for Infants! My father was born at St. Vincent's and this is the only time I've ever been able to find a location! Thank you, again!

I called the library in KC and was able to get 20 pages of newpaper articles about St. Anthony's Home For Infants. The photos were not clear. I found two pictures on the internet..one of the hospital and wing that joins it to the orphanage and one of the nursery.
when was your father born there? I was born in St. Vincent's and was a resident of the orphanage for a short time..but 4 months to a newborn is a long time with no mommy. Some had it worse.
i was not born at St. Vincent's but that is where my bparnets took me after i was born. I remember going back there for bpartys once a yr with my aparnets and abrother he too was adopted from there. the lady to get ahold of only works 2 Fir. out of the month if u want her name PM me
Photos of St. Anthony's
I have photos of the present site as well as some historical photos. My older (also adoptive but not related) sister recalls all the steps going up, and the nuns with the fantastic "Flying Nun" habits on. Is it possible to link photos to this page?

Bob Haight
Proud Alumnus of St. Anthony's Home for Infants, Ophans, Unwed Mothers and Other Social Outcasts Class of '49
Looking for any infor from KC adoption
I am new to to this post. My husband was born in 1944 and adopted in Kansas City as an infant. He has no information other than his birth date and his adoptive parents names. He has had several health issues and we are trying to get any information that we can. Any advice/references would be greatly appreciated.
St Anthony's home for Infants
Haygal said...
I am new to to this post. My husband was born in 1944 and adopted in Kansas City as an infant. He has no information other than his birth date and his adoptive parents names. He has had several health issues and we are trying to get any information that we can. Any advice/references would be greatly appreciated.

There were several orphanages in KC. That said, your husband, the court will not grant access to you, it has to be him, can request the non id information. It will cost about 50 bucks..that is what I paid in 2002. The document will give a physical description, education level etc of the Biological parents and will tell if there were brothers or sisters etc. There will be no names given or addresses. They will also provide information on what is required for them to assign a CI to search..It is worth the effort if all other efforts have failed. I ended up hiring a PI as CC in KC could get no response from my biomother. After several months of trying the court ordered the search closed.
Good luck and feel free to ping me if you have questions.
Several things to update. I have access to more photos of St. Vincent's (the maternity part) and St. Anthony's Home (the orphanage part) now. I would like to know of the newspaper articles you mentioned sometime back. And there are some new pages on the Jackson County Juvenile Court page that appear as though there might be a new judge who is wanting things clarified -
[url=http://www.family-court.org/requesting_adoption_info.htm]Requesting Adoption Information - Jackson County MO Family Court[/url]

So try those links and remember that Rosalie is a civil servant and still moves at her own pace; be polite and patient with her and she will eventually provide you with what the laws allow, but not one bit more. Also - be SURE to ask if there is anything such as a letter to the adoptee in your file - if you don't ask, she won't volunteer that information. Same thing with Catholic Charities, though they are a bit tougher.

But through getting copies of my non-ID from both CC and Jackson County, I was able to piece enough info together to locate my birth family.

Husband's Birth mother's family found
I haven't posted in a while, but wanted to post an update.
Through the EMLA (Emergency Medical Locator's for Adoptee's) and their diligince, my husband's birthmother's family has been located. All we had was his birth name and non-id information. We made first contact in January, and he has talked to one surviving aunt and a cousin, as well as exchanged letters. He has a half brother that has sent us photos, but we still have not talked to him yet. He did make a phone call but we were not home. We are planning a trip this summer to meet his family. They are about 1200 miles away. His brother is in agreement that we make the trip, but prefers not to talk over the phone, and we respect that. We were amazed though when we received the photos. The family resemblance is unbelievable. We are still hopeful that we may find out some information when we are there that may help us find his birth father's family, but the chances are pretty slim. There was not much information provided.

Thank you to everyone who has helped us in our search, and to others, don't give up.


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