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As For Me…
I grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and since 1978 I’ve lived in and around the Kansas City area, in Brookside, Waldo, Midtown, but mostly in a neighborhood called Troostwood. I graduated twice from KU, with my graduate degree in Public Administration. I worked for the Kansas City Bar Association in the late 70s/early 80s, ending up Assistant Executive Director. From then to 2000, I earned my graduate degree, then worked for Midwest Research Institute, where I was a Senior Analyst researching and planning with places across the US on problems related to economic and community development. For the next five years or so I served as Vice President of the Applied Urban Research Institute, where we focused on local development and community planning.
Each and every one of these positions gave me an amazing opportunity to learn more about Kansas City, as well as heighten my interest in all communities and how they work. That curiousness very often distilled to a basic question – “What in its history created this place, and what does that history have to do with today’s challenges and opportunities?”
My writing aims to answer some of those questions. The rest are just for fun.
KC Backstories grew out of piles and piles of “leftover” research for the five books I have written on Kansas City history. Whatever the topic, when you write stories against history’s background, it’s almost inevitable to wind up with a lot of great information that just isn’t going to work as part of a book. Hence, KC Backstories.
The first iteration of KCB was a website that never quite came out of development. The second was a Facebook page, which worked well for about a year and a half – minimal maintenance, attractive, and accessible. Then, in the summer of 2020, the time it took to produce a weekly post was needed elsewhere in my life. I put the site on sabbatical.
In the spring of 2021, ready to return to KCB, I found that Facebook had eliminated the feature that made KCB’s Facebook page possible. And the remnant that was left had stripped out all the images – one of the page’s most popular features.
Thanks for nothing, Mark Zuckerberg.
Now – fingers crossed – KC Backstories has a new, permanent web presence, where all the previous posts can live in happy repose, where all the images are safe and secure, and where new posts and even more of Kansas City’s fascinating history can be shared.
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Email me here re: book sales, booking a presentation, or permission to reuse materials found on the site.
I am happy to answer questions about local history where I can, but, respectfully, I will not take on your personal research project. I’ll happily suggest sources, however, when possible.
2 thoughts on “About”
My son sent me a link to your piece on Brookside. It was an enjoyable retrospective. My first choice of reading material is History and it relevance to today.
First, my apologies for such a tardy reply. But thank you, that’s a lovely compliment. Either today or tomorrow, I’m going to start posting again. The site was a indirect casualty of COVID, like so many other things. But I spent the time putting together a collection of pieces about KC in 1900, centering around the Convention Hall fire. Your message comes as a welcome inducement to keep fighting the technology fight and get it done! I hope you’ll come back and check out other pieces, new or old, some time. Thanks again.