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 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”

Midwest Research Institute’s Early Technology – A Photo Essay

(originally published 7/16/20) Last week, I shared some of Midwest Research Institute’s early history. A hallmark of those early days was the struggle to stay current with, or even just acquire, the high-dollar, over-sized equipment that was necessary for “hard” science research. The whole field of instrumentation was evolving. The market for that equipment wasContinue reading “Midwest Research Institute’s Early Technology – A Photo Essay”

The Early History of Midwest Research Institute:“…a lighthouse on the prairie”

(originally published 7/9/20) When I scheduled a post on the history of Midwest Research Institute for this year, I truly didn’t realize (or perhaps remember?) that the story of MRI begins where the previous three posts ended – ongoing opportunities presented by Kansas City’s WWII-era defense production plants. Serendipitous, yes, but that fact is justContinue reading “The Early History of Midwest Research Institute:“…a lighthouse on the prairie””

KC in WWII: The Sunflower Ordnance Plant, the Olathe Naval Air Base, and the Darby Shipyards

Part 3 of 3 (originally published 6/25/20) Last week, we looked at three plants that dominated the Kansas City area’s defense plant industry. This week’s offerings are no less important to the war effort, but less familiary to many and in some ways, hidden in plain sight. SUNFLOWER ORDNANCE WORKS – DeSoto, Kansas Location: WhatContinue reading “KC in WWII: The Sunflower Ordnance Plant, the Olathe Naval Air Base, and the Darby Shipyards”

KC in WWII: The Fairfax, Pratt and Whitney and Lake City Defense Plants

Part 2 of 3 (originally published 6/18/20) Last week the first in a 3-part series of Kansas City’s WWII experience laid the background on why the Kansas City area was able to land so many important defense plant contracts, considering the long tradition of military production plants located predominantly on the coasts. For this weekContinue reading “KC in WWII: The Fairfax, Pratt and Whitney and Lake City Defense Plants”

KC in WWII: Defense Plants Come to the Heartland

Part 1 of 3 (originally published 6/11/20) In July 1940, J.C. Nichols, Kansas City’s nationally renowned real estate developer, arrived in Washington D.C., with World War II still just beyond the horizon. At the request of his government, Nichols had agreed to join the ranks of the “dollar-a-year” men – notable corporate and institutional leadersContinue reading “KC in WWII: Defense Plants Come to the Heartland”

The Magazine for Kansas City’s Ice Age

(Originally published 4/16/20) “Every product – every industry – every modern industrial development – has its “story.” The pages may not have been turned back so that he who runs may read and be interested, but the story is there. Perhaps some of our greatest untold romances concern those taken-for-granted commodities which the public sees,Continue reading “The Magazine for Kansas City’s Ice Age”