Christo: Wrapped Walkways 1978

(originally published 6/4/20) The artist Christo passed away last weekend. Many of us 50+ers will remember Christo’s connection to Kansas City – two weeks in October 1978, when the pathways in Loose Park were wrapped in gold. An improbably amazing event by an artist who was then only about 20 years into his 62 yearContinue reading “Christo: Wrapped Walkways 1978”

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”

Pastime Park: “For the Accomodation of Colored People”

(originally published 2/13/20) All of my books and most of my research have ties to the history of J.C. Nichols and the development of the Country Club District. But that single subject has sent me in a hundred directions of inquiry having little or nothing to do with Nichols. My interest in this week’s topicContinue reading “Pastime Park: “For the Accomodation of Colored People””

Kansas City Park Series – #5 (Final): Swope Park – A Park for the Whole City

(originally published 8/29/19) Kansas Citians started asking for city parks around the mid 1870s, which makes sense, considering that this was the beginning of Kansas City’s railroad, stockyard and industrial growth. The city’s population was growing, too, so much so that any sense of open space in Kansas City’s early footprint (today’s downtown and oldContinue reading “Kansas City Park Series – #5 (Final): Swope Park – A Park for the Whole City”

Kansas City Parks Series – #4: A Valedictory for Belvidere Park

(originally published 8/22/19) This week’s park tribute subject popped up during research for another topic altogether. In a book on Kansas City’s racial history(*). I’m learning me a finer grained view of Kansas City between the 1880s and the 1920s, a key period in the city’s history. In one area of town the book discusses,Continue reading “Kansas City Parks Series – #4: A Valedictory for Belvidere Park”

Kansas City Parks Series – #3: Loose Park

(originally published 8/15/19) “I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.” That quote, from Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, referred to Jackson County, Missouri. But it’s a phrase that always comes to mind when I thinkContinue reading “Kansas City Parks Series – #3: Loose Park”

Kansas City Park Series – #2: Waterway Park and Big Eleven Lake

(originally published 8/8/19) I was recently reintroduced to Waterway Park and Big Eleven Lake by my friend and long-time KCK’er, Patricia Lawson. Pat’s well known in local writing circles as an excellent poet and short story writer, but I didn’t know she had a journalist’s background until she shared with me some of her piecesContinue reading “Kansas City Park Series – #2: Waterway Park and Big Eleven Lake”

Kansas City Parks Series – #1: Waldo’s Tower Park

(originally published 8/1/2019) Tower Park in Waldo has always held a special place in my heart. Through much of the 1980s and 1990s I lived just blocks from it. Sitting on the southwest corner of 75th Street and Holmes Road, the Tower Park tower was a landmark for giving directions to my house. It wasContinue reading “Kansas City Parks Series – #1: Waldo’s Tower Park”