Thursday, March 10, 2011

SPATIAL | P2: The Poetic — Kansas City

'Crossroads of the Country'— (1865) The Missouri Pacific Railroad reached Kansas City at this time and over the next 30–40 years KC became the second largest train center in the U.S. next to Chicago. By 1914,Union Station located in the West Bottoms became outdated and was built in its current location.

'Cow Town'—(1871) Due to their locality to the trains, stockyards in the West Bottoms were increasing at a dramatic rate, and once again became second to Chicago. In 1899, the American Hereford Association hosted a cattle judging contest that later became known as the American Royal; however the stockyards were destroyed in the Great Flood of 1951 and never really recovered.

'The Pendergast Era' —(1890s–1940) Influenced the colorful flourishing of the city; the Country Club Plaza, Ward Parkway, TWA, Negro League, jazz, bbq, stockyards and train stations...

'Crossroads of the World' — Between the 1930s and 1970s Kansas City was in a stage of great progression; with the Presidency of hometown Harry Truman followed by Dwight Eisenhower. The powerhouse of the time was TWA, making Kansas City the hub of national aviation and with the established headquarters the city's plan was to make KC the gateway to the world; the dream fell short with the demise of TWA.

'Flood of 1951' — The devastation of the flood left many areas of the city in decay with very little momentum to recover; prior to this in 1950, KC attempted to break free from its 'cow town' perception by reshaping focus from rail travel to the competition happening in the automobile and jet travel industries. This gave way for a great demise of stockyards and rail yards that were considered 2nd only to Chicago.

TWA —Charles Lindbergh helped lure the newly created Transcontinental & Western Airline to locate its corporate headquarters in Kansas City because of the city's central location; was known as the hub of national aviation.

The City of Fountains — KC has over 200 fountains, 2ND to only Italy and Rome
"more boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome"


Walt Disney — Took weekend classes at KCAI, and is said to have been inspired to create Mickey Mouse after seeing one in his office, and developed his first animation at Laugh-o-gram Studios in KC.

J.C. HallFounded Hallmark Cards

William T. Kemper —Influential financial endeavors including Kemper Arena and the Kemper Museum.

William Rockhill Nelson — Founded the KC Star; and later left provisions for his house to be torn down to build the Nelson Atkins Museum after his death.

J.C. Nichols — Planned the upscale 'Country Club District' later known as the Country Club Plaza and Ward Parkway. The Plaza is the world's first shopping center specifically designed to accomodate shoppers arriving by automobile.

These personalities represent opportunity in a new land, they capitalized on what wasn't there, a blank slate, and took advantage of resources they had available to them. An idea behind Westward Expansion is economy and the development of one's own resources and I think this expansion is very clearly exemplified through these signification people, their contributions, and Kansas City. 

– 18TH & Vine
– KC Monarchs (Negro League Baseball)
– Kansas City Jazz
– KC-style BBQ
– Westport— 'Where the West begun'

'Heart of America'
'Jazz capital of the world'
'BBQ capital of the world'
'Paris of the Plains'
'Gateway to the world'

Kansas City, music, cuisine, industry & transportation *only 2ND to Chicago...

We hold the Midwestern ideal of independence, hard-working, bold, innovative.

Kansas City Public Library

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