In The Loop: August 14, 2022
Your connection to Downtown Kansas City
Downtown Launch Party Recap
It was a beautiful night for The Downtown Loop Launch Party at Rochester Brewing and Roasting Co. in the Crossroads Friday night. A good crowd was on hand, and great connections—and reconnections—were made by people enthusiastic about Downtown Kansas City and The Loop. Thanks to everyone who attended; it was great to see you or meet you, and we look forward to catching up with you again at the next Downtown Loop event.
To see all of the images from Friday’s Downtown Loop Launch Party, go to the Launch Party Photo Gallery.
The Great Heat Wave of 1936
It was on this day in 1936 that Kansas City recorded its hottest day ever: 113 degrees. (Official records were kept beginning in 1893.) In total, there were 53 days that reached 100 degrees or more that summer—16 of them scorching Kansas City on consecutive days. Air conditioning was virtually unheard of in 1936, although a few movie theaters and businesses had it, including at least some of the Wolferman’s grocery stores in town. Another source for air conditioning? The railroads.
Frisco ad promoting air-conditioned trains during the Great Heat Wave of 1936. Kansas City Star, August 17, 1936
Kansas City residents seeking a cooler (although not cool) night’s sleep converged on public parks, spreading out at Penn Valley Park, the Liberty Memorial grounds, and Swope Park, among other public spaces. The Missouri River, then averaging a stage reading of 15.2 feet, was only 6.8 feet for the previous month of July. By August 14, the river stage was as low as 4.1 feet.
The evening Kansas City Star’s recap graphic of the city’s hottest day, August 14, 1936.
More businesses promoted air conditioning in the August 15, 1936, Kansas City Star, including the Mainstreet Theater Downtown and the Trocadero nightclub in Midtown.
Charles Lindbergh helps dedicate new Municipal Airport
This Wednesday marks the date in 1927 when 25,000 Kansas Citians—along with famed pilot Charles Lindbergh—gathered to dedicate the city’s new airport on undeveloped ground just north of Downtown.
“I like the accessibility of the field,” he said. “It is nearer the heart of the city than any I know of except those in Brussels and Paris. It has wonderful possibilities.”
Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in August 1927 on the undeveloped grounds that would become Kansas City's Municipal Airport almost two years later. Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
You might assume it was a no-brainer for a city to want an airport, but in reality, flying wasn’t completely accepted as a legitimate business at the time. Aircraft were often considered novelties—toys for daredevils and thrill-seekers or tools for the military—and were still considered unreliable and dangerous to many. In fact, Mayor Henry F. McElroy was initially skeptical about the need for an airport, and city leaders were not interested in such a development until a few things changed their minds.
First, KC Chamber of Commerce president Lou Holland, a visionary when it came to air travel, foresaw aviation lending itself to shipping goods and transporting people, and developing into a major industry that could be a boost to the city and the region. He worked to champion the cause of aviation—and a new airport—in Kansas City.
Second, the U.S. Army, which had had aviation operations in the KC area but was considering leaving due to the quality of facilities at Richards Field in Raytown, recommended that the land just north of Downtown be used for a new airport.
And finally, recognizing that his Ready Mixed Concrete Company would benefit from a huge amount of work on a Downtown airport and runways, Boss Tom Pendergast was definitely on board with the idea.
The airport was completed in June 1929. Informally known as either "New Richards Field" or "Peninsula Field,” it would be officially named “Municipal Airport.” Two years after opening, Lindbergh’s prediction that Kansas City could become the center of American aviation came true—partly because he recommended our city to Transcontinental and Western Air when the airline was seeking a new headquarters. In 1931, TWA moved to Kansas City.
So, yeah, Charles Lindbergh played a role in bringing our “hometown airline” to KC.
Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc. (TWA) airport hanger, right, and the terminal building at Municipal Airport, center, with TWA planes nearby. Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
Altman’s Kansas City released August 16, 1996
Tuesday marks the date that Robert Altman’s film about his hometown Kansas City was released nationwide to theaters. A gala premier in Kansas City—which I was inexplicably lucky enough to attend—was held at the Midland Theater on July 27 of that year. IMDB.com summarizes the plot as “A pair of kidnappings expose the complex power dynamics within the corrupt and unpredictable workings of 1930s Kansas City,” but many people were more intrigued by the jazz soundtrack than by the story itself—as evidenced by less-than-favorable reviews and low ticket sales.
Despite the relative failure of the film, one good thing (besides the soundtrack) may have been influenced by Altman’s flick: The same year the film was released, bi-state voters in KC approved a tax that would eventually save and restore Union Station. Although the old station was abandoned and deteriorating when filming was happening, the film crew spiffed up portions of the landmark for scenes in the film, and Kansas Citians seemingly took note of the grandeur and history of the structure when going to the polls.
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2nd-ever Kansas City Balloon Glow August 20
Rows of tethered hot air balloons will fire up their burners to create a magnificent, colorful display. Beginning at 5 p.m. the public is invited to gather on the National Word War I Museum and Memorial grounds to listen to live music, go on a tethered balloon ride, and grab a bite to eat from among 20 local food trucks and picnic.The Great Balloon Glow, in partnership with Cumulus Radio, will begin around 8:30 p.m. and last for over an hour. Free to the public.
816 Day is this week
816 Day is the annual, city-proclaimed celebration of all things Kansas City. On this day, community connectedness is strengthened by local business and resident pride. Here is how you can participate:
In case you missed it: Union Station among the world’s greats
The brainchild of Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt, KC’s Union Station opened to the public in 1914 and was met with instant admiration.
Sports Bar opens in cellar of the Ebenezer Building
CitySceneKC reports that Downtown’s newest sports bar has opened at 311 Delaware in the River Market.
Detail of the top portion of the Ebenezer Building, c. 1980s, from Missouri Valley Special Collections
Summit Street looking north from West Pennway on Downtown’s West Side. Click here to see the view today. Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
Artful City: One weekly selection with a Downtown connection
Benjamin Parks, Vic, 2021. 72″ x 48″ acrylic on canvas.
Quick Clip: The city in motion—just a few seconds at a time
Cafe Cà Phê held its grand opening Saturday, August 13, 2022, in the Columbus Park neighborhood of Downtown Kansas City. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was officiated by Mayor Quinton Lucas along with cafe owner Jackie Nguyen. A traditional Vietnamese Lion & Dragon dance followed to bless the cafe on Fifth Street. Video by @ghost_inthecity on Instagram and @ghostin_thecity on Twitter.
Downtown Lens: A single image depicting the urban aesthetic
A bicyclist traverses 11th Street approaching Broadway on August 11, 2022. The Loop
Who are all these people?
Answering the question “Who are all these people and where are they going?”, The Loop brings you a list of some of the biggest events happening Downtown each week. Please give a friendly Downtown-Kansas City welcome to audiences and attendees of….
THURSDAY the 18th
Miller Lite Hot Country Nights at KC Live! Block in P&L
FRIDAY the 19th
Carin Leon at the Midland
Boz Scaggs with The Robert Cray Band and Jeff LeBlanc - Out of The Blues Tour at the Kauffman Center
Cowardly Lions at KC Live! Block in P&L
For a more exhaustive list of everything happening Downtown, go to the VisitKC events page and use the “regions” function to search for Downtown, Westside/Southwest Blvd, West Bottoms, River Market, Power & Light, Crown Center, Crossroads, 18th & Vine—or anywhere you want to go in the KC Metro
Until next week—enjoy the city!
Got a tip or question about Downtown KC?
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact The Loop via social media
Kevin Worley, Co-Publisher/Editorial
Joe Nichols, Co-Publisher/Business
Hannah Schuh, Intern
107 W. Ninth Street, Suite 210
Kansas City, MO 64105
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