The Four O'Clock Hill House

The Four O'Clock Hill farmhouse still stands at 512 East Santa Fe Trail, Kansas City MO. 64145, just west of Holmes Rd.

The name 4:00 Hill came from the wagons trains reaching this hill and marker of the Santa Fe Trail from Independence by 4:00 in the afternoon. This point marked a stopping point to water the oxen and horses from the large cistern and 50 ft. hand dug rock well, before traveling on one more mile to the Town of New Santa Fe on State Line and Santa Fe Trail. This was the site of the first nights camping ground. The well still stands today, after some restoration above ground by my husband in 1983, when we bought the property. The cistern we have had to fill in with dirt, as it continued to make a sink hole in the now front yard.

We own the original abstract on the property which goes back to William & Elizabeth Grey in 1844 purchasing the land (160 acres) from the Government as witnessed by President James Polk. It is believed that the home was built about 1860, and that a log home preceded it by an earlier date. Grey owned this land until 1904 when he sold it to Anna Effertz. She kept part of the land, including the home site, but sold off much of the land to various individuals.

The present house is a large cream colored clapboard farmhouse. The oldest part of the house is the front, which was one or two downstairs rooms with steps to sleeping rooms above. The clapboards on the oldest part appear to be rounded and warped as if put on over logs. The house was bought in 1924 by Mr. & Mrs. G.F. Mosher, who commissioned Edward Delk to renovate the old house and added to it to the present size. The entrance was moved from the south side to the west side. In 1946, George Cartlich bought the home and painted a mural of it above the fireplace. The mural shows the original outbuildings, barns and water tower. It is still painted above our fireplace today. The barns, and water tower were taken down in the late 1950's with the advent of the subdivision known as Red Bridge.

Over the years that we have lived here, we have unearthed many pieces of old pottery, farm tools and old bones of animals, treasures which my husband keeps in shoe boxes and some on my kitchen walls. The old root cellar is still here, with old iron meat hooks hanging from the cement ceiling. We once did a Halloween party for my daughter's class in that room, which was a big hit in the "scary" stone basement. Recently, we unearthed some old steps under the coal room. Leading to what, we don't know. This coal room is under the original part of the home. We have many lovely trees, one in particular is a Kitalba tree over 125 years old. It continues to be a favorite climbing spot for the neighborhood kids.

Although the old home is constant upkeep, we continue to enjoy it and it's history. We have had several members of the Santa Fe Trail Society visit the home with interest. A few years ago I awoke to hear horses and wagons traveling up the street in re-inactment of the travels along this stretch of the Santa Fe Trail. I felt goose bumps as I sat and watched, feeling a partof that history somehow.

Wendy Hodgden,

For more information, visit The Interactive Santa Fe Trail page and CyberTrail (SFT)