Courting the Democrats

(KC 1900 Series: # 11) The Industrial Revolution. Reconstruction. The Gilded Age. The Progressive Era. At least four major periods of American history are packed into the last quarter of the 19th century, filled with significant and sometimes contradictory events, like the wave of European immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Act; like the 15th AmendmentContinue reading “Courting the Democrats”

Money and Real Estate

(KC 1900 Series: # 7) The last post ended the story of Nelson’s campaign for a convention hall with a reference to the headline on the day it was announced the project would go forward. “A Start On the Building,” was how it read. No need to say which building; by now, as all ofContinue reading “Money and Real Estate”

Ink by the Barrel

(KC 1900 Series: # 6) By the 1890s, the influence of the Kansas City Star had risen to the position of the dominant newspaper in the city, particularly with regard to issues that effected the city’s prosperity on a political, economic and social level. What made The Star effective in its job of creating andContinue reading “Ink by the Barrel”

The People’s Voice

(KC 1900 Series: # 5) The previous post looked at the role of the Commercial Club, one of the driving forces behind the Convention Hall project. Now we look at the man and the institution that brought the project to the people, and then pushed it forward every step of the way  – William RockhillContinue reading “The People’s Voice”

The Commercial Club

(KC 1900 Series: Post: # 4) As the 19th century moved toward its close, Kansas City had become the type of city of which its founders could have only dreamed. An increasingly important part of the national economic network, and the new gateway to the vast resources of the west. A city resilient in itsContinue reading “The Commercial Club”

Locked in a Forgotten Safe

(KC 1900 Series: # 1) TO THE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL During a recent audit and survey of the Municipal Auditorium, there came to our attention an old safe in the control room. The combination was not available and no one appeared to be familiar with its contents. It was deemed advisable toContinue reading “Locked in a Forgotten Safe”

Carrie Westlake Whitney: Mother of the Kansas City Library

(originally published 8/15/20) When I thought about a post to mark the centennial of the 19th amendment, codifying women’s’ voting rights, I saw the opening I’d been looking for to write about Carrie Westlake Whitney, the first director of Kansas City’s library system. In my admittedly limited research, I found no evidence that Whitney wasContinue reading “Carrie Westlake Whitney: Mother of the Kansas City Library”

Photo Series: The Construction of Union Station

(originally published 1/9/20) When I was a kid growing up in Lawrence, Sundays were often spent riding in the back seat of some Chrysler product looking at construction sites. My dad was in the building materials business, mostly concrete blocks, and he loved to see buildings going up, whether they had his product or not.Continue reading “Photo Series: The Construction of Union Station”