Kansas City History | KCUR

Kansas City History

Segment 1: Art isn't just fun and games.

To some, art seems more like a hobby rather than ‘real work.’ But, for many artists, that’s far from the truth. We visit with a Kansas Citian about what they discovered after being an artist for a year.

Segment 2, beginning at 23:03: How World War I sparked a lasting friendship between the United States and Australia.

Segment 1: Big development shifts in Kansas City's East Bottoms.

There's been a lot of economic buzz in the East Bottoms lately. A local distillery looks to expand operations to the historic Heim Brewery bottling plant, while a well-known meat shop moves out to a new location in the River Market. On this episode, we discuss the past, present, and future of the East Bottoms.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Business partners Ryan Maybee and Andy Rieger of J. Rieger & Co. announced Tuesday they are expanding their East Bottoms operations to the historic building next door. 

The Kansas City distilling company purchased the Ferd Heim Brewery Co. bottling facility last October, a building on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1901, that long stood empty after Prohibition.

Courtesy of Cris Medina

With professional teams like Sporting KC and the Kansas City Comets, soccer is clearly a popular sport in Kansas City. And there are tons of recreational leagues for adults and kids. But that was not always the case.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Most people agree access to pre-K needs to be expanded. Not everyone agrees on how to pay for and oversee it.

Days after Kansas City Mayor Sly James made public the particulars of his plan to fund expanded early childhood education, opposition to the proposal is piping up. Today, we heard educators and community organizers explain why they think the mayor's scheme to get more 4-year-olds into pre-K needs work.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Twenty-five years after the "Great Flood of 1993," is Kansas City any safer?

Image of a Kay Barnes, a woman with white hair, against a dark background.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's first female mayor might only vaguely remember her first day on the job, but she does remember knowing people had some doubts about her because she was a woman.

“I knew that there were comments behind my back about, 'Well, she might be OK as mayor in some ways, but she's not going to be able to do much with economic development,'” former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes told Steve Kraske, host of KCUR's Up To Date.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Former Kansas City mayor reflects on the impact of downtown development.

Much of the credit for Kansas City's current downtown boom can be placed at the feet of former Mayor Kay Barnes, whose efforts culminated in the creation of the Power and Light District and the construction of the Sprint Center. Nevertheless, parts of town east of Troost still struggle for invesment and redevelopment. We spoke with Barnes about her legacy and the community-building work that's left to be done.

Trevor Hook / KCUR 89.3

Brown and Loe is an upscale bistro in the heart of the River Market, with a large, open interior with checkered black-and-white floors. They carry high-dollar wines and cocktails, but something on the non-alcoholic side of the menu jumps out: their phosphates.

Before I was assigned to this story, I had absolutely no idea what a phosphate was. Josh Eaton, assistant general manager at Brown and Loe, explained it me.

Courtesy photo / Bruce Matthews

Elmwood Cemetery covers 43 acres shaded by centuries-old trees at the corner of Van Brunt Boulevard and Truman Road in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood. Anywhere from 35,000 to 38,000 people are buried there, including mayors, local pioneers and scions of Kansas City's business and civic communites.

A black and white aerial photo from 1945. It shows a swimming pool filled with people and a parking lot filled with cars.
Missouri Valley Special Collections

When the director of Open Spaces, the upcoming city-wide arts festival, came to Kansas City to explore the selected hub location, all he saw was something “spectacular”: A large piece of land that lived up to its designation as the “crown jewel” of Kansas City’s park system.

Warren K. Leffler / United States Library of Congress

Segment 1: Kansas City, Kansas, Public Safety and Neighborhood Infrastructure Sales Tax up for renewal.

A three-eighth-cent sales tax that passed with 70 percent of the vote in 2010 has collected more than $50 million devoted to public safety and neighborhood projects in Wyandotte County. This August, voters there get to decide if the sales tax has been worth the money. The levy is set to expire in 2020 unless it is approved for renewal. Today, we discussed the projects that the tax has benefitted and if it's still the best option for the Unified Government.

Google Earth

Segment 1: Some residents say big, new homes on small, old lots are changing the nature of the Kansas suburb.

Home teardowns are not a new problem in Prairie Village, but the issue is receiving a lot of new attention. Today, we asked city leadership how they would strike a balance between property owners' ability to build what they want on their own land, and preserving the look and feel of what's long been known as a modest, affordable community.

Segment 1: A talk with Kevin Willmott about his new film.

"BlacKkKlansman" just won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. It's based on the true story of a black cop who infiltrated the KKK in the 1970s. We catch up with the KU professor who collaborated on the film with Spike Lee.

Segment 2, beginning at 17:09: Looking back at the filming of "Kansas City."

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: From 2001 to 2013, more than 1,300 phone calls to attorneys from prisoners at a Leavenworth detention facility were improperly recorded.

Considered a bedrock of the American justice system, KCUR reporting has uncovered what appears to be repeated attorney-client privilege violations at a privately-run detention facility in Leavenworth, Kansas. Today, we discussed the ongoing investigation into the improperly recorded phone calls, some of which were shared with federal prosecutors, and considered the implications of the alleged breaches.

Italian Food In Kansas City (R)

Jun 4, 2018

Hear the story behind a classic Kansas City restaurant, then visit a new cafe that's located inside an antique mall. Plus: we revisit our Food Critics' search for the best Italian food in and around KC, from beloved old-school favorites to interesting new takes on the cuisine.

Guests:

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

TIMELINE: Sprint's 120 Years In Kansas City

May 11, 2018
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Sprint campus in Overland Park, Kansas, was inaugurated in the late 1990s. It's a collegial brick complex surrounded by lawns and trees, and built to house about 14,000 employees. Today, more than 6,000 Sprint workers occupy the company's headquarters, and some of the space is leased to other businesses.

Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Segment 1: Douglas County voters are deciding on a contentious tax increase for jail and mental health services.

Image from the National Register of Historic Places application.

First off, breathe easy Kansas City history buffs.

The inner sanctum of the Savoy Grill, that 1903 time-capsule of dark oak woodwork, terrazzo floor, Old West murals and Harry Truman’s Booth No. 4, returns when the $47.5 million renovation of the Savoy Hotel is completed this summer.

Yes, the adjoining dining room — a 1960s addition, by the way — is getting a contemporary upgrade, although the original columns, ceiling and floor will remain.

Tim Amundson / Turkey Creek Institute for Phenomenology

The Central Avenue Bridge, erected a century ago, is only 22 feet wide. The level that remains open to traffic sits in the shadow of the deck above, another 22 feet away. Driving across it, from Missouri into Kansas or Kansas into Missouri, feels like an act of loud levitation.

Paul Sableman / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Schools in the Shawnee Mission district have been accused of stifling expression during student demonstration.

During last Friday's national school walkout, parents and students at several Shawnee Mission schools reported that administrators attempted to curate and censor student speech. These complaints have spurred an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas. Today, we asked what happened during the demonstrations, and how the school district is responding.

Segment 1: How people in the Midwest cope when they have a fear of storms.

Spring in the Midwest means blooming flowers and warmer weather ... and also tornado siren tests and scary storms. What is it like for someone with a phobia of severe weather?

Meet a Leawood fifth grader who is one of five finalists in a nationwide contest for her invention, The Storm Sleeper. However, kids aren't the only ones afraid of storms; we hear about astraphobia and the adults who suffer from it.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

When Alvin Brooks told his father that he wanted to be a police officer, his dad’s first response was, “Why do you want to get into that mess? You know how they treat us.”

Brooks was determined. He became one of Kansas City's few black officers in 1954.

Carolina Hidalgo / File/St. Louis Public Radio

Segment 1: The processes threatening, and protecting, Missouri's governor.

Tensions are high in Jefferson City as lawmakers continue calls for Eric Greitens' resignation but, as the governor faces possibly career-ending felony charges, ensuring fairness is paramount. Today, a veteran journalist discusses the systems in place to guarantee justice for the governor, and for the state of Missouri.

Segment 1: The National School Walkout In North Kansas City.

A check-in with our reporter, who covered today's National School Walkout from Oak Park High School.

Segment 2, beginning at 5:41: A Portrait Session with Alvin Brooks.

The Old Quindaro Township in Kansas City, Kansas, finally may be getting the recognition it deserves.

Between 1857 and 1862, Quindaro was a busy commercial port on the Missouri River. It was a mecca for abolitionists and settlers and considered a melting pot of Indians, European-Americans and freed slaves.  New England progressives came in the hopes of making Kansas an anti-slave state. It's best known as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of KCUR — and we're celebrating by sharing the story of how our station came to be. From humble beginnings in a house to the nationally-respected news outlet we are today, we pause to remember all the interesting quirks, bizarre oddities and colorful characters that comprise our station's history.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

On April 9, 1968, five days after the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil unrest in response to long-standing racial tension broke out in Kansas City. But what really happened 50 years ago? Last week, KCUR hosted the panel "Reaction or Riot?: Understanding 1968 in Kansas City" for community members to share their own experiences and recollections. Today, we revisited that conversation about the ways our city has — and hasn't — changed in the last half century.

Segment 1: A new art exhibit encourages people to write down their wishes.

A group of local artists has created a public altar at the Kansas City Public Library, where visitors are invited to write down their wishes and leave objects of personal significance. One of the artists behind this project shares his vision for it.

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