WHERE 200 SLEEP IN A ROOM. ~ Men and Boys Find Refuge From the Storm at a North End Mission.

January 8, 1909

Men and Boys Find Refuge From the
Storm at a North End Mission.

There is no better place in Kansas City to see and study types of humanity in varying forms then the one dingy room in the North End called the Poor Man's mission. The room is a small one, about thirty feet in width and probably fifty feet long. In this room last night there were crowded at least 200 men who had sought refuge from the cold. In this room they can sleep on chairs, and on the floor, or one another, without money, and no questions asked. Outside the building there is stretched a large banner which bears the legend: "United we stand, divided we fall." Written across a blackboard just outside the door is an invitation to all poor men who have no other place to rest, to make the Poor Man's mission their refuge. That the invitation is accepted can readily be seen by a casual observer any cold night. A look into the room through the window is sufficient for most.

Inside the unlocked doors last night were fully 200 derelicts of the North End sleeping in grotesque positions. The floor was entirely covered with men and boys, with just enough space left between the bodies of the sleepers for the legs of a few chairs and benches to be placed. They sleep in every imaginable position, arms and legs thrust out at any angle. One man uses his neighbor's chest as a pillow; another prefers to rest his head upon his own arm, and still others are unmindful of a subterfuge for a pillow and allow their heads to rest on the floor.

Among the crowd of sleeping men the professional tramp can readily be detected. He is the man who is sitting up on the floor with his back and head resting against the back and shoulder of a fellow -- so, back to back, the professional tramps sleep.

The young fellow who has just been out on the road for a year or so is a little different. He has chosen a secluded nook or corner in which he sits with head bowed down and arms encircling his knees. Leaning up against him in his corner is another individual, unkempt and unshaven.

The room has no ventilation in which those 200 men were sleeping last night. The air was stifling, heavy, poisonous. The Poor Man's mission is located at 309 Main street and it is maintained by J. C. Creighton, a street evangelist. It was from this place that the Adam God sect emanated on the day they wrought such havoc in the North End.