KCPT approached Local History Librarian Katie Stramel to help research some questions from their site curiousKC. The following family history is in response to a community member’s question posed to KCPT – “what is the proper pronunciation of Switzer Road?” We may not have the answer but we can tell you a little bit of history behind the famous Johnson County road.
Overland Park was developed by a great many families and one such family were the Breyfogles. Moving from Pennsylvania, Israel Breyfogle settled in Johnson County in 1866.
He was a stock breeder and farmer and married Mary Devanney. Together they had seven children and lived on the Breyfogle homestead at 7108 W 86th Street, which was built around 1890.
One of Israel’s sons, Homer, worked as a bodyguard for William Strang up until Strang’s death. He served as deputy sheriff as well and lived at 6416 W 86th Street.
Another of Breyfogle’s sons was Louis who had two sons of his own – George and Louis Breyfogle, Jr. Louis started the Overland Park State Bank in 1910 with Frank and George Hodges, William Strang, John L. Pettyjohn and five others.
John (Israel’s son) wanted to partner with his nephew George, who worked in real estate development and home building, and expand George’s business. Together with George’s wife Dorothy, brother Louis, Jr. and Louis’s wife Alma, they created the Breyfogle Partnership. They purchased some of the Strang property after it went out of business and built houses on small lots after World War II. Many of the homes were sold to veterans for a $50 down payment. The group also built commercial buildings leading to the growth of downtown Overland Park.
In an interview recorded in 1975, Dorothy Breyfogle described the properties the Partnership developed, including:
- Chandler Place at 77th and east of Metcalf (prior to World War II)
- Breyfogle Gardens from 87th and Metcalf, north to 84th, including South Lake
- Homes Crest from west of Craig to Antioch and 81st to 84th
- Valley View from east of Metcalf to Antioch and south to 86th
- Glenwood from Metcalf to Santa Fe and 72nd to 75th
She and George lived at 7700 W 83rd Street.
The Breyfogles had two roads named after them in the Shawnee-Overland Park area. These roads were eventually renamed Switzer. For more information on Switzer, check out curiousKC.
-Katie Stramel, Johnson County Library