The downtown has a nice preserved historic district. It is show in the attached. The city is the first in Kansas founded in 1854. It was used as a fort outpost for years, and the fort is still active today. The fort was erected in 1827, and they used to provide goods and drop off point for settlers going west. It also was a staging fort for fighting the Plains Indians for 30 years. A large cemetery was established in 1862 by Lincoln, as a memorial to the Civil War. The fort is on 5,634 acres.
You hear it said the hottest and brightest flames die out quickly. That might be a partial explanation for the early passing of the innovative and legendary jazz artist Charlie Parker. Of course, his years of hard living and habitual drug use were major factors as well. In his brief lifetime, however, Parker gained world fame for his saxophone chops, and in the words of Wikipedia "played a leading role in the development of bebop, a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos, virtuoso technique, and improvisation based on harmonic structure. Parker's innovative approaches to melody, rhythm, and harmony exercised enormous influence on his contemporaries." See Wikipedia article for more info.
Parker did not wish to be buried in his native Kansas City, but in New York City where he felt more appreciated. Thanks to his mistress, his remains lay at rest in a secluded and somewhat neglected Lincoln Cemetery, Blue Summit, Missouri. (Some sources call this Kansas City - a cruel irony, I suppose. The website listed below includes a map to find this out-of-the-say cemetery.
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This is a large, but quite lake close to KC. It has been a tradition for people to buy small weekend homes there and fishing is the primary reason to visit, besides the peaceful and quite surroundings. Not much is in the area, and you may want to bring your own "viddles" food because convenience store items get old soon. Beer and chewing tobacco.
KC is 136 miles to the north
During a May 07 trip to Kansas City, I spotted an abandoned but fascinating looking building at 20th and Vine near the railroad tracks. I figured it was the former castle of a rich person. It is far from that! Some research on the Kansas City Library's online history pages yielded..."The building is known as the Vine Street Workhouse. It was designed by Wallace Love and built with the help of prisoners between 1895 and 1897. Prisoners also helped quarry the native limestone used in the structure. Until 1911, the castle-like building served as a municipal prison complete with dungeons in the basement to house the toughest offenders."
The internet also tells that when the Workhouse was built, "The Paseo [which runs parallel to Vine] was the home of the Jewish gentry of Kansas City, who were largely barred from Scarritt and some of the other then fashionable areas of KC. Also nearby was the Millionaires Row of Troost where even one of the partners with the Rockefeller's in Standard Oil lived. At the time Independence Avenue was another affluent address and of course the gentry passed here often as it fed off of the north end of Paseo. So I suppose to have stuck an unglamorous public works building here would have been unthinkable, so big brother chose a very nice castle instead." As late as 1969, the structure housed the city's sewer maintenance offices. It certainly has a varied history.
The historical Barker Temple is just around the corner from the Jazz and Negro Baseball League museums at 17th and Highland. The cornerstone says it was built in 1925 (during the heydays of the jazz district). It is still in use today as the Memorial Missionary Baptist Church.
There is an interesting building with covered parking on the northeast corner of Linwood Blvd. and Troost Avenue (Linwood is essentially 32nd). It opened in 1930 as a Firestone Store designed by the architect, Charles A. Smith and a little later survived a large fire.
Before that, the location (which was on the corner north of the Elesmere family hotel) was also near the site of the fine home of Alexander G. Sutherland, which was listed in the 1905 city directory as 3125 Troost. Now it is the home of Best Deal and in the summertime, it hosts the Troost Community Market which combines fresh produce, crafts, and activities with fashion shows and music.
The 3125 Troost address had had a prestigous owner before. He was the richest man ever to live in Kansas City, Lamon Harkness or L. V. Harkness, who lived in Kansas City from 1888 to 1891 in "a brownstone mansion on Linwood Boulevard east of Troost Avenue. Upon his death in 1915 he left an estate of $150 million dollars, garnered from Standard Oil money." There are many neat old buildings in this area of Kansas City, if they could only tell us what they know.
I originally called this tip, "Funky Buildings Near Troost and Linwood Blvd." and said "I wonder who built the building with its blue front and round windows on the side. Now it is the home of ASAP Bail Bonds, a great name I must say. For sure I would want my bail bond as soon as possible. It's located at Linwood and Forest, one block east of Troost." Little did I know what the building had been. The blue front and round windows just happened to catch my eye.
It turns out in trying to determine what the Troost Community Market building used to be, I found out that the RSC stands for Russell Stover Candies! This was one of its early locations in Kansas City. Take a look at the 1989 picture in the Kansas City Public Library collection. It may have also been the location of Russell's Restaurant.
Russell Stover was born in 1888 in a sod house in northwest Kansas. Clara Lewis was a farm girl too. She was born six years earlier in Iowa. They met at the University of Iowa and later married. It was in Omaha that a chap approached Stover with the chocolate-covered ice cream bar idea. In 1921 the Stovers introduced an edible "brainstorm" named the "I-Scream" bar, which was later called the "Eskimo Pie." It was a chocolate-covered ice cream square in a little bag. They produced and sold it for a year. After the first mad surge for the novelty, sales dropped off and the Stovers bailed out with $25,000.
They moved to Denver where they began "Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies." In 1931 they moved their by-now thriving business to Kansas City. There they barely weathered the Depression and the sugar-short World War II years that followed. However, they emerged with a multi-million dollar a year enterprise and world-wide sales. For two decades the business carried the name "Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies," but in 1943 it became "Russell Stover Candies."
Cliff Drive, established in 1900, is the only Missouri scenic byway located in an urban area, passing right through Kansas City. The 4 ½ mile historic drive is also one of the shortest scenic byways in America. Natural wonders of the drive include limestone bluffs next to steep forested slopes descending to the industrial Missouri River bottoms.
The famous Cliff Drive Spring originally served the pioneer Scaritt family, in their log cabin high on the hillside above. Long ago, these pioneers kept their milk and butter cool in the waters of the spring. In 1899, the city acquired the property from the Scarritt estate. The natural spring has been through many transformations during the years. Falling into disrepair, the fountain was restored in 1959, only to be closed in 1962 due to water contamination.
Covered by earth, the scallop-shelled fountain was discovered again in the late 1980’s by a contacting company and was restored to its state today as a beautiful waterfall.
Biking and hiking are very popular along the drive and the more adventurous explorers can be found climbing along the steep bluffs of the park.
Cliff Drive is located just northeast of the convergence of Interstates 70, 35, and 29, south of the Missouri River. The byway runs from the intersection of The Paseo and Independence Avenue, through to Indian Mound on Gladstone Boulevard at Belmont Boulevard. An easy way to access Cliff Drive is from an entrance near the Kansas City museum at Benton and Gladstone Boulevards.
Tivoli theater at 4050 Pennsylvania Avenue.
It's hidden--look at 4050 and you'll see Tizers. To the right are double glass doors that look like the entrance to an office building. The box office is right inside.
It's not stadium seating, but they get good current movies, price is $5.00 Saturday afternoon and the usher asks how you liked the movie and says goodbye when you leave.
Conception Abbey is a place I find myself returning to every couple of months. It is a Benedictine Abbey located about 75 miles north of Kansas City, set on gently rolling hills and open fields. The grounds always seem quiet and peaceful, and I always feel the presence of God in this sacred place.
The monks at the Abbey still worship with musical offices throughout the day, and it is well worth your time to plan a visit to hear Vespers at sundown.
The Abbey also runs a printing shop that makes holiday cards that you can find at many Christian bookstores. And they have rooms to rent for a very quiet "get away from it all" weekend.
Come play the hottest and fastest growing new sport in the world's First underground paintball arena at JAEGERS Subsurface Paintball. Set in one of Kansas City's oldest limestone mines, JAEGERS spacious underground fields provide plenty of year round comfort at a steady 56 degrees while offering the adventure of a fast paced game of paintball. And when the weather is perfect, you will find JAEGERS outdoor fields scenic and challenging.
After consistent flooding, on July 13, 1976, at 8:30 a.m., The Little Platte River was diverted from its normal course to permit construction of the Smithville Dam. By 1982, the lake was filled and was soon providing not only a water source for Kansas City, Missouri, but also a 7,000-acre recreational area for an estimated 1.9 million visitors each year. Smithville Lake has over 175 miles of shoreline offering excellent boating opportunities. There are two full-service marinas offering boat and slip rentals, bait, fuel, both patio and indoor dining and live entertainment. Slips, moorings and dry sail facilities may be rented through the Clay County Parks office. There are beach areas at both Little Platte and Camp Branch with plenty of room for water activities and sunbathing. Facilities include shower and changing rooms. The southern half of the lake basin is available for water skiing and innertubing on a year round basis. The fish are biting at Smithville Lake! Tiger musky, walleye, largemouth bass, crappie and several species of catfish were originally stocked.
Most people don't know that Kansas City has the most fountains in the United States--don't ask me where I picked up this fun little fact, but it's true. Just walking throughout the city and you will have to agree.
In the park behind the jazz museum is a monument to Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. The Kansas City skyline is in the background.
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