Arts & Culture

Annotation added to Hemingway history

The story originally appeared in the Sunday, July 4, 1999 edition of The Kansas City Star

Ernest Hemingway's Kansas City experience was highlighted in the newspaper last week, and there is a footnote that must be addressed because it involves a correction.

It is the fiction writer's prerogative to change facts, but somewhere in the Hemingway annals a seeming fact became etched in stone, and no one noticed it was a mistake.

In writing and recollections by him and others of his work at The Kansas City Star in 1917-18, the stories always refer to Police Station No. 4 on 15th Street as being part of Hemingway's beat.

It has always been identified that way in newspaper stories, books and reference works.

But Hemingway (and the others) were wrong.

"You came to the Union Station from the Fifteenth Street Police Station across a long viaduct," Hemingway wrote in a previously unpublished manuscript fragment that was the subject of a story in The Star last Sunday.

He and other former staff members of the newspaper reiterated that address in interviews conducted as late as the 1950s.

The problem is that by October 1917, when Hemingway joined the staff of the newspaper, the station had moved from 1430 Walnut St. to 115 W. 19th St., a building that still stands.

Evidence comes from city directories and Landmarks Commission documents, as well as Star archives.

A story told how the Walnut Street and Southwest Boulevard stations were consolidating into the renovated two-story building at 19th and Baltimore: "New Police Station Opens Today," said the headline. The date: July 29, 1916.

Monroe Dodd, editor for newsroom operations, contributed to this story.