Leawood Historic Commission dedicates plaque honoring ‘the corner that kindness built’ at Somerset and Lee

Members of the Leawood Historic Commission and the Martin and Brisbois families were on hand for the dedication ceremony May 9. Photos credit Marcia Putman, city of Leawood.

The Leawood Historic Commission last week dedicated a new bronze plaque commemorating the city’s first commercial development, the Leawood Shops at Somerset and Lee Blvd.

Built in 1951 by cousins George Martin and Cliff Brisbois, the center was one of the first shopping spots built south of the Country Club Plaza, and provided families moving into the new neighborhoods in northern Leawood with a place for groceries, haircuts and dry cleaning.

The plaque now installed at the site dubs the center “The Corner that Kindness Built,” an allusion to the name Squire publisher Tom Leathers gave the center in an article in the 1990s:

George and Dorothy Martin operated the anchor grocery store at the center, Martin’s Finer Foods, which run for nearly 30 years until they retired in 1980. Among the other founding tenants for the center were Bickley’s Pharmacy, which had a soda fountain that served phosphates popular with school kids; and Jon Stoval’s Barber Shop, which offered a free first haircut to all kids.

Attendees at the ceremony included Mayor Peggy Dunn and Ward 1 City Councilman Andrew Osman.