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Central Standard

The History of Kemper Arena

Gwen's River City Images

About four and a half decades ago, in a stunningly brief period of years, Kansas City built major public structures for air travelers, conventioneers and sports fans. All survive today, but one of them, sitting in the West Bottoms, is underutilized compared to the others.

Kemper Arena has at various times been home to a national political convention, a NHL team, a NBA team, college basketball tournaments and rock and country shows. With the future of the Kemper Arena in question, on Friday's Central Standard we explored how it came to be and the impact it’s had on Kansas City's past and present.


  • Bill Haw, Sr., West Bottoms property owner, including the Live Stock Exchange Building
  • Elizabeth Rosin, Rosin Preservation LLC
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.