Strawberry Hill: Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood a hub of culture, history – Lifestyle – Jackson Newspapers – Ripley, WV

Strawberry Hill: Kansas City, Kansas, neighborhood a hub of culture, history – Lifestyle – Jackson Newspapers – Ripley, WV

While St. Louis visitors can find their thrills on Blueberry Hill, in Kansas City, Kansas (yes, the KCs in Missouri and Kansas are two different cities) visitors will find a special and unique area on Strawberry Hill.

Strawberry Hill has a history dating back to the 1800s, when immigrants from Eastern Europe settled near the Missouri River. The immigrants, a large number from Croatia, settled in an area called the “Patch.” During a 1904 flood many of the settlers’ homes were destroyed and the families moved uphill to rebuild. The area got its name as Strawberry Hill from the wild strawberry vines that grew covering the hillside.

Some of the small homes they built, at the time, were eventually turned into larger Victorian homes. But today, many of the small homes have been preserved as they were first built: single story houses and shotgun houses (narrow homes with one room behind another and a door at both ends).

Strawberry Hill history has its sad side. In 1918 the Spanish flu killed many young adults, leaving behind single parents and orphans. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church bought the Cruise-Scroggs Victorian home on Fourth Street and opened an orphanage. It continued as an orphanage until 1988 and today is the Strawberry Hill Museum and Cultural Center.

A view from the museum takes in the Missouri River and Kansas City, Missouri. Trails connect the hill area to KCM for walkers, bikers and runners.

During the museum visit, KCK travelers will get an understanding of the history of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood, with its narrow streets and unique homes, the family that built the home and the years the orphanage existed. The neighborhood of Strawberry Hill is an ethnic community, primarily Croatian but with a representation of many cultures. The museum has more than 30 rooms of exhibits that represent cultures including Lithuanian, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Russian and Dutch, each with traditional items on display from glassworks to musical instruments. A special opportunity for museum visitors is to see the bed and other items used by Pope John Paul II in his TWA Shepherd I flights to the United States in 1979, 1987 and 1995.

A beautiful little chapel was built in the home while it was an orphanage. The home itself has detailed woodwork and extraordinary fixtures. The Museum Tea Room is a very popular place and is open the first Saturday and Sunday of each month from 1 to 4 p.m. serving authentic, ethnic desserts with tea or coffee.

The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, beginning March 7. The tour guides are knowledgeable and enjoyable and are sure to find something that will pique your interest.

Visit strawberryhillmuseum.org for prices and more information.

Something not to miss while on a visit to Strawberry Hill is tasting and purchasing Povitica (poh-veh-TEET-sah), also called Potica (poh-TEET-sah). The delightful treat is a pastry of yeast dough, which is rolled or stretched to make it very thin, and a sweet or savory filling. It is then rolled up in a log or crescent shape. A traditional filling is ground walnuts sweetened with honey or sugar.

Strawberry Hill Povitica Company has polka music playing while you are on hold during a call, which certainly adds to the experience. Their tasty treats are available at strawberryhill.com.

For more information on places to stay, eat and things to do goto visitkansascityks.com.


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