In February 1953 Ernest Monroe and Isabel ?Jean? Beye Fritchie with two young sons Denis and Duane, aged 4 and 3 respectively discovered a small acreage for sale northeast of the small farming town of Lee?s Summit, Missouri (pop. 2554 in 1950). Jean, a farm girl from near Haverhill, Iowa, wanted to raise her family in the country while Ernest, Kansas City born and raised, thought that ?roughing it? on the farm presented an adventurous opportunity. Upon visiting the thirty-five acres with the creek running through it, steep wooded hills, sheer bluff, deer, foxes, lynx and other wildlife present, the family fell in love and purchased the acreage. By 1958, Kent and Davin, the younger two of the four ?Fritchie boys? completed the family. The original two story A frame farm house with attached kitchen on the west side sat back from Tudor Road about 80 to 100 feet. The farmstead included a barn, hen house, feed shed, grain bin, milk house, tool shed/underground root cellar, garage shed, and privy of course.
Just out the back kitchen door (15 feet), a well, approximately 30 feet deep, 6 feet in diameter at the top and lined with native limestone from top to bottom, served as the source for drinking, cooking, bath and wash water. A reinforced cement cover about 7 feet square and 5 inches thick with classic style hand pump covered the top of the well with an entrance hole in the middle for well access. Denis and Duane experienced the thrill of getting lowered by bucket into the well during dry spells and low water table to clean the sediments accumulating in the bottom of the well, sending them up by the bucket. A cattle and livestock watering well sat on the far west edge of the property directly west of the house nearly on the line fence where lot 22 sits today. The garden occupied much of the space on lots 22 and 21 north of the well. Often water from the lower well needed transporting to the garden to save plants during dry times. The milk house stood on lot 23 closer to the road than the farm house. One favorite cow named Rosie provided milk for the family for years. The original barn stood to the east of the garden but a new barn replaced it in the early sixties with its location approximately the middle of lots 35 and 36. It held approximately 2000 bales of hay mostly for cattle raised on the farm with a loafing shed on the west side. A corral and loading shoot were added to the south side of the barn at some point in time.
The house and out buildings originally stood surrounded by many large trees, today the only trees remaining from the original grove of Oak, Walnut, Hickory Nut, Pear, Elm, Apple, Peach, and Cedar trees are two large Cedars standing next to Tudor Road today. Tudor, narrower then, existed as an oil/dirt/gravel country road leading past other farms to Prairie Lee Lake. Disking the road and reapplying oil and eventually chat happened every year until paving after Lee?s Summit annexed the rural area. The Cedars stood much farther from the road in those times until the widening of Tudor. Naturally, this assortment of trees and buildings provided the boys with lots of ?ammo? for various throwing games and good places for hide and seek. Swings, tire swings, Tarzan swings, and etc. were common on lots 24 and 25.
A major part of growing-up for all four boys included roaming barefoot on the property and wading in the creek which carved the bluff over the epochs. The Bluff proper is composed of the Bethany Falls Limestone (20 feet thick) makes up the bedrock of the creek also. Creek activities included building dams, catching tadpoles, frogs, crawdads, turtles, snakes and ?swimming? in the knee deep water holes in the creek bed on hot summer days. Some of the deepest water holes occurred naturally off the property, either upstream or downstream from the farm, depending on stream conditions and the boys kept their parents blissfully unaware of transgressing on to neighboring property to ?swim? in the creek in deeper holes.
Over time, crops of hay, wheat, and oats grew on the farm with cattle, chickens, goats, pigs, ducks and geese common farm animals. Rural water came past the property in 1962 or ?63 with water district 13 (Today the water comes from Lee?s Summit as district 13?s pipes would not carry enough water for fire protection). During the winter of 1965-66 a new brick home was built about 700 feet north of Tudor Road. The new house, located approximately where lot seventeen sits today, faced south with a deck across the back to look north toward the scenic bluff side of the house. ...