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Kansas City Dental College

Kansas City, Missouri



Mid-Continent Public Library contains the 1916-18 editions of the Molar, the K.C.D.C. yearbook.  I surely have been by the Troost Avenue location of the school. 


Kansas City Dental College, founded in 1881, was originally the dental department of Kansas City Medical College.  In 1888 K.C.D.C. filed for incorporation and in 1889 became an independent entity.  Nineteenth-century graduation lists show numbers in the 30’s and 40’s.  The 1916 Molar shows a student body of around 180, taught by a faculty of 26.  The three-year program graduated 51 students that year—most from Kansas or Missouri.


The Most distinctive of the professional fraternities at K.C.D.C. was Cabletow.  In 1916 forty K.C.D.C. students, who belonged to the masons, founded their own fraternity, hoping to bring the traditions and the mutual support of the parent organization to their careers.  Some Cabletow members were also members of one of the two national fraternities—Delta Sigma Delta and Psi Omega.  In addition to creating a network of dental brothers for professional support, these fraternities—including Cabletow—provided social opportunities for students through smokers and dinners.  Each also had its house, where many students lived together.   For social functions, K.C.D.C. also had chapters of the Elks and the Knockers.  Many students were also members of the Y.M.C.A.


With the outbreak of World War I, Dentists found themselves in considerable demand.  The Molar noted that about fifteen percent of all K.C.D.C. graduates were military dentists.  Students were being offered an accelerated path to prepare them for military service as dental officers.  In addition, the Student Army Training Corps had chapters at both K.C.D.C. and its sister college Western Dental.


After the war, the two dental colleges merged to form Kansas City-Western Dental College.  This merged entity survived independently until 1941.  At this point, pressure to become a part of an established university led to the school’s becoming the School of Dentistry of the University of Kansas City and then moving with that school into the University of Missouri system in 1963.

Bricks and Mortar

 In 1898 Kansas City Dental College moved to a building on the Northeast corner of Tenth Street and Troost Avenue.  After the merger with Western Dental College in 1919, the new entity occupied the K.C.D.C. facility.   Even after the merger with the University of Kansas City, the School of Dentistry remained at Tenth and Troost until 1970 when a new facility was completed on Hospital Hill.


The Northeast corner of Tenth and Troost is now occupied by a City Union Mission building.

The KCDC building in 1909.   Later a wing was added to the left. (Molar, Courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library)


      Colors:  The 1918 Molar shows a new pennant a student had created for                the school  in red and blue with white lettering.  These may have been              the school’s colors.

      Team name:  Newspapers invariably refer to the teams as the “Dents” or               “Dentists”


The 1917 Molar indicates some of the problems faced by athletic teams of K.C.D.C.  “One must have time and a coach.  We had neither of the two.”  


Basketball was the major intercollegiate sport.   The Dentists played in the Kansas City Inter-Collegiate Conference with Western Dental, the College of Osteopathy, Huff’s Commercial College, and the Veterinary College.  K.C.D.C. had gone undefeated in the league in 1915 but fell far behind Western Dental in 1916.


K.C.D.C. seems also to have played intercollegiate baseball.  The 1917 Molar contains a team photo, and a newspaper note shows them on the the schedule of St. Mary’s College in 1915. 


Football was pretty much an intramural sport.  Available yearbook photos are of fraternity teams.  However, the Dentists made two attempts to play intercollegiate football.  Around the turn of the century, newspapers report a victory over Manual Training School.  Then in 1918 both K.C.D.C. and Western played games against Wentworth Military Academy. 


After the merger, yearbooks make no mention of  intercollegiate sports.  

A member of the 1917 K.C.D.C. basketball team.  Note that the jersey itself appears to have a molar insignia. (Molar, courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library.)

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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