Willard E. Winner was born in Fairfield, Iowa, May 4,
1849. In 1852 his parents moved to Kansas City, Kas., and in
1863 crossed the river into Kansas City, Mo.
Mr. Winner was robbed of an education by
early responsibilities, for at the age of eleven he was compelled to
seek employment. He worked as a clerk until 1866, when he was
given a position in the post office, where he remained for
eleven years, and working up to the position of assistant
postmaster. He resigned in 1877 to open a real estate office,
and in 1883 organized the Winner Investment Company, and then
commenced to write with virile hand some of the most splendid chapters
in the history of Kansas City's growth and greatness. He did
business of millions, turned barren tracts into residence districts,
and originated the plan of selling houses on the installment
plan. He built the Kansas City, Independence Park Railway, the
Vine Street line, and started to build a bridge at the foot of Cherry
Street, which should connect his immense properties in Clay County,
making that the Brooklyn to Kansas City's New York. The great
"boom" burst in 1882. The immensity of Mr. Winners
enterprises made them hard to carry, yet so well were they planned
that not until four years later, at the height of the depression, was
it found impossible to secure the money for their completion.
He is now the president of the Industrial
Development Company and the Leavenworth Construction Company.