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6 Ways Kansas City Has Changed Since The Chiefs' 1970 Super Bowl Win

Jackson County (Missouri) Historical Society Archives
In 1970, the Truman Sports Complex was being constructed. Arrowhead Stadium opened in 1972, followed by now-Kauffman Stadium in 1973.

Back in 1970, Ilus Davis was the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. The mob was a force to be reckoned with. The suburbs were booming. Paul Rudd was still in diapers. And the Chiefs won a Super Bowl.

The Kansas City of 1970 had its challenges. Mob-related violence was driving people away from downtown and the city was still dealing with race relations after the 1968 uprisings following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

But the city was also experiencing tremendous growth, with big infrastructure projects and expanding suburbs. Consider this: The Truman Sports Complex was just being built. Arrowhead Stadium opened in 1972 and Royals Stadium (named Kauffman Stadium in 1993) followed soon after in 1973.

What else has changed (or not) since 1970? 

Credit Midwest Research Institute
A look at construction on one of the three terminals at Kansas City International Airport. This screenshot is from a film.

1. Kansas City International Airport was under construction. The airport opened in 1972. Fifty years later, Kansas City is beginning construction on a new, single terminal to replace the aging structure. 

Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3 file photo
KCUR 89.3 file photo
Terminal A came down in 2019.

2. A six-pack of beer: $1.68 after tax, on average. Getting a buzz during Super Bowl IV game cost far less (and sales tax was 4 cents on the dollar). Today, a six-pack can run you anywhere from $7 to $10, depending on how fancy you are (sales tax ranges from 9 to 11 cents on the dollar). 

Credit Kansas City Zoo archives
The Great Blue Whale was installed in 1967. It was made of 18,000 of concrete and reinforcement rods.

3. If you went to the Kansas City Zoo, you might have played in the big blue whale. It was installed in 1967 and removed in the early 1990s.

4. A ticket to the Super Bowl averaged $15. That's about $95 in today's money. As of Thursday, the average price of a single ticket on the resale market was more than $6,300 (with fees). 

Credit Jackson County (Mo.) Historical Society Archives
Construction of the Crown Center business complex in 1970.

5. Downtown Kansas City looked a lot different. The Crown Center, five interconnected, seven-story buildings that comprised the initial office complex, was completed in 1971. As you can see, downtown was a just cluster of skyscrapers. 

6. Some of KCUR's reporters were total nerds. (Hey, some things never change.) Community engagement reporter Laura Ziegler says she used to iron her hair to achieve that long, silky mane. 

Credit Courtesy of Dan Margolies and Laura Ziegler
KCUR editor Dan Margolies (far left) and friends in 1970; Laura Ziegler (right) in the 1970s.

It's been a long 50 years since 1970. We have hair straighteners, for one. Downtown Kansas City continues to grow and thrive. Soon, the region will have a new airport. And, maybe, possibly, a second Super Bowl title. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3.  Follow her on Twitter: @larodrig

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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