The Big Hat Stampede of 1895

(originally published 5/14/20) Kansas City has many claims to fame, but I unearthed a new one today – at least new to me. It wasn’t news to Dr. Felicia Londré, author of 2007’s The Enchanted Years of The Stage, Kansas City at the Crossroads of American Theater 1870-1930. I have her to thank for fillingContinue reading “The Big Hat Stampede of 1895”

Fairyland Park 1940

(originally published 4/9/20) I’ve written several pieces about amusement parks in Kansas City on both sides of the state line, but mostly turn-of-the-century parks, including one of the so-called Negro parks, Pastime Park. Kiddieland in Waldo is the only park I’ve written about that I imagine anyone who reads this might possibly remember. But theContinue reading “Fairyland Park 1940”

Christmas in Kansas City – More than Plaza Lights

(originally published 12/5/19) Understandably, when Kansas City pictures itself at Christmas, those pictures are often of the Country Club Plaza lights. Celebrating its 90th year of official lighting (decorating actually began informally as early as 1923), it’s considered one of “the” lighting displays in America. While the Plaza lights are a tradition to embrace, KansasContinue reading “Christmas in Kansas City – More than Plaza Lights”

Kiddieland – Waldo’s Magical Corner

(originally published 10/24/19) Much of what I use for these posts results from research into other related topics. Last spring, I posted two separate pieces, one on amusement parks, the other on the racier side of Waldo’s history, Both of those were recycled research in service of today’s post, an excerpt from The Waldo Story.Continue reading “Kiddieland – Waldo’s Magical Corner”

Building Nature: Foot Paths, Bridle Trails, and Picnic Fires in the Country Club District

(originally published 7/25/19) Two posts ago, I wrote about the public art – statues, fountains, reflecting pools, etc. – that J.C. Nichols incorporated into the Country Club District’s residential and commercial development sites. Public art was one of the “community features” he thought important for the District to achieve the status of development he envisioned.Continue reading “Building Nature: Foot Paths, Bridle Trails, and Picnic Fires in the Country Club District”

Remembering Betty Tillotson

(originally published 7/4/19 In June 2019, I posted an excerpt from The Waldo Story, a piece on Betty Tillotson, a Waldo icon. In May 2020, passed away May 19, having reached her 97th year. That’s all I know, and all I need to know. The causes of death are never as interesting as the livesContinue reading “Remembering Betty Tillotson”

Forest Park and the “Negro Fair”

(originally published 6/6/19) Though the 1950s and 60s were clearly two decades where significant efforts resulted in changes in civil rights, those efforts had been going on for decades before then. In researching the stories behind the amusement parks featured in the last post, I came across a series of newspaper accounts about one ofContinue reading “Forest Park and the “Negro Fair””

The Golden Age of Kansas City’s Amusement Parks

(originally published 5/30/19) I was born the same year Disneyland opened, and the only kind of amusement park I’ve ever experienced is in the mold of what Disney created – the theme park. Theme parks don’t just have rides and attractions. Every aspect of the experience conforms to the fantasy that each theme suggests. ThemesContinue reading “The Golden Age of Kansas City’s Amusement Parks”