A History of Thomas McGee
Thomas (Tommy) McGee was born in Brighton, a suburb of Boston, on January 28, 1859. As a boy he landed a job as a clerk in a hotel. While working there, he met a man who owned a hotel in Kansas City and was offered a job. Tommy McGee came to Kansas City and began working at the Lindell Hotel at 5th and Wyandotte in 1881.
In 1889, Tom went to work for Bernard Corrigan at the fairgrounds & racetrack located in Harlem, north of the river. A year later he resigned to become the secretary of the Board of Police Commissioners.
In 1895, Tom McGee became the personal representative of Ed Corrigan, Bernard’s brother. Ed Corrigan had one of the leading racing stables in the country. Tom spent the next 14 years with Ed Corrigan, two of these in England. He traveled the U.S. and had temporary homes in Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Ed Corrigan named one horse after Tom. The horse, named “McGee”, sired several famous race horses including “Donerail”, the 1913 winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Through his relationship with the Corrigan brothers, Tom began his career in the insurance industry. The Agency opened its doors in 1910 under the original name of Corrigan, Madden and McGee. The original office was located in the New England Building at 112 W. 9th Street in downtown Kansas City. Shortly after, Madden sold his interest so it was just Corrigan & McGee.
In 1913, Joseph J. McGee, the oldest of three sons came into the business as an employee. Three years later, Joe bought out the interest of Ed Corrigan and the firm became Thomas McGee and Son. In 1919, when second son Thomas Francis (Frank) McGee returned from WWI, he joined the firm and the name became Thomas McGee & Sons. In 1920, the youngest son, Louie, joined the firm. Louie was 18 and had just graduated from Rockhurst High School.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the West Bottoms of Kansas City was a dynamic mix of heavy industry, agriculture, and rollicking nightlife. Some of the largest stockyards in the nation were located there with 320 acres of wooden pens housing millions of cattle. The stockyards were a client of the Agency, among many other famous clients, including Harry S. Truman. The Agency was a leader in Commercial and Personal Insurance & Surety from the early years.
The company operated under the name Thomas McGee & Sons until 1995 when the firm changed to a limited liability company and became Thomas McGee, L.C., as it remains today.
The agency has always been located in downtown Kansas City and been very involved with its community. While the office has moved several times throughout its 100+ year history, it has always stayed within a six block radius of its original location. Today our firm is located at 920 Main Street in downtown Kansas City.