A set of human bones found this week in downtown Kansas City probably had been there for decades, according to the developer of the property.
The bones were found beneath the concrete foundation of a vacant building at 18th and McGee streets. The building is being renovated by developer Vince Bryant with 3D Development.
Bryant said the bones probably were buried before the current structure, at 215 E. 18th St., was built. According to a National Register of Historic Places registration form, the structure was built in 1950.
“The history of the area, it was all residential housing,” he said. “(Authorities) think someone just buried someone out back.”
Bryant said the bones were being assessed to determine age. Kansas City police said there were no new developments to report Wednesday.
Historical records offer snapshots of the area. An article in The Kansas City Times referred to the area just south of the building as the McClure Flats. The article, which ran in February 1910, announced the Flats could soon be torn down.
A caption of an undated file photo from The Star called the Flats slums where immigrants lived in “small brick caves.”
Decades later, in 1940, photos taken for tax assessment purposes reveal the lot where the bones were found was the site of a small gas station as well as a walk-up restaurant called “Hamburger Bens.”
In 1950, the existing building at 215 E. 18th St. was built. This photo dated May 18, 1952, shows it occupying the lot. The Interstate Securities Co. operated out of the building.
The building changed ownership a number of times through the years, according to the Missouri Valley Special Collections room of the Kansas City Public Library. In the ’50s, the Old Security Life Insurance Co. and later the Interstate Securities Co. owned the building.
In the ’60s and ’70s, Winius Brandon Co., Topsy’s International and The Kansas City Star owned it for short periods of time.