The north St. Louis address of 4251 Penrose represents the height of Kitty Mom's powers as a matriarch.
In 1926, Kitty Flanagan Barrett became a widow with four young children and a retail grocery business. In 1932, after her youngest child, Kathleen (my mother), was severely burned, she decided to lease the operation of Barrett's Market to Charles and Sidonia Winther until her boys were old enough to take over the family business. Somehow, as part of this deal, she purchased the Winthers' rental property, a four-family flat on Penrose.
In 1939, when her daughter Mary settled down with Lester Hohmann, Kitty set them up in one of the second-floor apartments. They had their first two children there.
In 1942, Kitty's son Bob died in an airplane crash, no doubt heightening her matriarchal insticts.
In the late '40s, when the Hohmanns wanted a house, Kitty negotiated a trade with the Corcoran family who lived down the street from her at 5835 Ridge. In exchange for their house, the four unmarried Corcorans (Irene, Rose, Dorothy, and Mike) got the upstairs apartment on Penrose.
In June, 1947, a first-floor apartment was freed up for Kitty's youngest, Kathleen, and her new husband Walter Price. Three of their four children were born here before they moved to south St. Louis in 1959.
In April, 1949, an upstairs apartment was freed up for Kitty's son Bill and his bride Lillian Demme. Their three children were born there before they moved to Overland at the end of the '50s.
When the Prices moved out in '59, Kitty sold the building. Her work was done.
1950 census ennumeration sheet for this address:
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