Old Photos: A Day In Life of a Ford Dealer

Berl Berry automobile dealership organization, founded by Berl Berry in 1940 with Ford and Lincoln-Mercury automobiles, moved to two locations in 1950 at 19th and McGee Streets and 1818 Independence Boulevard.
Leaving for work:

Ford dealer Berl Berry leaving his house.

Ford dealer Berl Berry leaving his house. © Time Inc. Ed Clark

At work:

Ford dealer Berl Berry and his secretary, in his ornate office.© Time Inc. Ed Clark

Midday break:

Ford dealer Berl Berry and his wife (R) eating brunch at Saddle and Sirloin Club.© Time Inc. Ed Clark

Checking out his ranch:

Ford dealer Berl Berry, visiting his ranch outside Kansas City.

Ford dealer Berl Berry, visiting his ranch outside Kansas City.© Time Inc. Ed Clark

Relaxing at home after the long day on a giant bed:

Ford dealer Berl Berry and children lounging on giant 10 x 11 bed, in his home.© Time Inc. Ed Clark

  • Cara

    Oh my god do I want that bed. (OK, not that one in particular, but you get my point.)

  • Old Fart

    WOW. All I can say is… WOW.

  • I’m with Cara – now that I’ve seen that gigantic bed, I desperately want one!

  • This bed is 110 sq.feet, pretty much the size of my living room.

  • Cara

    From a Time Magazine article (Berl Berry ran for Mayor against the venerable H. Roe Bartle): “Bartle’s opponent was Berl Berry, who bills himself as the world’s largest Lincoln-Mercury dealer. Berry’s style of living became the main issue of the campaign. Noting that Berry was promising lower taxes, Roe Bartle roared: “I have seen his lovely master bedroom with the especially designed bed ten feet wide and ten feet long. If a man can enjoy his night’s rest in a bed of that type, he ought to be willing to pay more taxes than those of us who have to sleep in ordinary beds. If he desires to bathe in a Roman bath like the Caesars of old, he should have the opportunity of paying a few more pennies in taxes for that privilege.” In pained tones Berl Berry replied that Bartle had been a guest in his home and had abused his hospitality by taking notes on the furnishings.”

  • Grace

    I LOVE these LIFE magazine series you’re doing. This one is awesome. It reminds me of that photos you posted a while back, of a former KC Star Editor and the current. Because before the bed photo I was assuming this man and his wife were in their 60s. So then when I got to the bedroom shot I thought it was their grandchidren, but the caption says children? People did used to look older then, didn’t they? Even prosperous ones, not just the Dorothea Lange worn-down-by-the-Depression parents. I’d love to know how old this couple really were. Does it say in the article?

  • Cara

    The initiation is $4500 plus monthly dues of about $300 – for that I can buy a whole lot of steak that’s better than sirloin and have money left over for nifty Dale Evans and Roy Rogers Meet The Grand Ole Opry outfits and custom plates. I would however be missing out on the best question I’ve ever seen on a snooty-club membership application: “Is applicant a horse person?” which is a really roundabout way of asking, “Just how much of a Jew are you?”

  • There is no article really, just a blurb on the library site. If he started the dealership in 1940 he probably was over 30 then, the photos are from 1954 so I am guessing 45 or so.

  • Grace

    Cara, that quote makes it all the better. Is any of us a member of the Saddle & Sirloin? (I mean, really, why aren’t we?) I hope to g-d they still have those plates.

  • I had no idea this place still existed
    http://www.saddleandsirloin.com/

  • Horse Person

    Cara, I despair for you. You clearly don’t get it. What’s the point of nifty matching Dale Evans & Roy Rogers outfits if you have no place to wear them?

    As for the latter question, that’s why they started http://www.oakwoodcountryclub.org/

  • Cara

    Horse Person: there’s always Purim 😉

  • Cara

    Maybe my formerly-Catholic eyes are deceiving me, but that there looks like a Wise Man (not “Wiseman”) and a chunk of baby Jesus. Now I realize that Reform theology has changed a bit over the years…

  • Horse Person

    Look closely at the top photo, Cara. Isn’t that a sukkah at the extreme left?

  • I travel for JOOLS

    Imagine having to make that bed…lol

  • Horse Person

    Oh, you’re right. Well, now you know I’m not Catholic.

  • Jan Berry Rorrer

    I just came across this website with the pictures from the Life magazine we were in. It was a comparison between St Louis & Kansas City, & my father represented Kansas City. Daddy was born in 1910 so he was 44 at this time. My parents were unable to have children so they started adopting us when they were in their mid-30’s. Yes, that bed was a huge chore to make! We kept that bed until 1989! The Saddle & Sirloin Club was an equestrian club & the members rode in parades, did drills in the American Royal, & took trips for trail rides. It was a Riding Club, & the costumes were worn by all the members & decorated individually. My parents portraits were painted by Queen Elizabeth’s personal artist in one set of their costumes & are on display in a museum in England. Our house was on the corner of 65th & Ward Parkway, & every year at Christmas we had a manger scene in our yard, plus lots of other decorations, lights, santa claus, etc. I’m not sure I understand why there are references to Jews, Purim & Reform theology, but we are Episcopalians. It was fun reading some of the comments.

  • Jan, thanks for your comment, I am always fascinated when I hear from the people or relatives of people featured in these Life photos. You must have a lot of great memories from your childhood.
    The other comments are just banter between my friends.They are not directly related to the photos.
    Did you know you can now read the entire Life article here http://bit.ly/aYZlIx ?

  • I just came across this website with the pictures from the Life magazine we were in.I LOVE these LIFE magazine series you’re doing. This one is awesome
    Best Ford Dealer

  • I LOVE these LIFE magazine series you’re doing. This one is awesome. It reminds me of that photos you posted a while back, of a former KC Star Editor and the current. Because before the bed photo I was assuming this man and his wife were in their 60s. So then when I got to the bedroom shot I thought it was their grandchidren, but the caption says children? People did used to look older then, didn’t they?
    Best Ford Dealer