In The Loop: February 2023
Your connection to Downtown Kansas City
You probably know by now that The Loop is becoming a monthly publication. The next issue, Feb. 26, will be the first edition published in our new monthly format.
What changes are on the horizon? Well, first, a lot of things will stay the same. We’ll still have brief historical reminisces under the “Almanac” section, but we may go a little more in-depth at times with particularly interesting stories from the past.
The “Links” section of curated URLs will remain, but some stories that we share with you now will be replaced by our own articles that offer The Loop’s unique perspective on Downtown news and events.
Our “Archives” section will continue to feature photos, postcards, and other images from the past. We’ll continue to feature artworks with a Downtown connection under “Artful City.” And the “Downtown Lens” feature will again bring you contemporary photos from around Downtown.
The “Welcome” section, where we try to list all the major events that bring large crowds to the city, will remain, as well. However, we’ll list the entire next month’s worth of events, and will categorize them by week. As before, you will be able to click on the link for each event to learn more details.
And Becky Brown’s hilarious Downtown humor column will be exclusively published here each quarter.
So, what’s completely new? The biggest change will be a section designated for original articles about Downtown called “City Center.” Look for news stories, interviews, features, and more here.
We’ll also be adding a “read-aloud” version of each issue of The Loop. You’ll be able to access the podcast directly from kcdowntownloop.com and, in the future, we hope to add it to your favorite podcast sites.
There are a couple of other concepts we’re excited about that we’ll introduce to you as the year rolls along.
And finally, as mentioned previously, we’ll be offering limited ad space soon. Ads will be incorporated into the “Signboard Hill” section of the email newsletter and website posts. (“Signboard Hill” being a nod to the old mass of billboards that were placed on the hill where Crown Center now sits; one 1923 report stated the hill hosted 77 signs.)
At the same time, we will be seeking a Top Sponsor who will get all the love here, on the website, on our social media, and at special events. We’re still working out the details for both the sponsorship and advertising, but we’ll have that information available soon.
Thanks to everyone who reads, shares, and participates in the KC Downtown Loop community, and special thanks to our paid subscribers and Founding Members. As our friend #15 always says, “Appreciate ya!”
Reminder: This Friday, Feb. 3 (First Friday) the KC Downtown Loop is helping sponsor a night of live music at Rochester Brewing & Roasting in the Crossroads. The microbrewery and coffee shop recently upgraded its liquor license to allow full bands to perform at the establishment, and they are starting out with a bang by featuring four different performers: The Imaginaries, The Country Duo, Kristin Hamilton, and Leah Sproul. It’s a “pay as you wish” concert for all ages. Hope to see you there, beginning at 6 (and come early for dinner!).
And now, on to the The Loop….
No prizes or praises (for now), just a trivia question to test your Downtown knowledge….
Q. What was the name of Kansas City’s first professional hockey team, and where did they play beginning in January 1928?
A. See the answer below the “Signboard Hill” section of advertisers at the bottom of this issue.
Feb 13, 1920: Team owners organize the Negro National League
On Friday the 13th in February of 1920, the Negro National League was founded in Kansas City at the Paseo YMCA not far from 18th and Vine. Neither the Star nor the Times recorded any mention of the meeting of Negro team owners or the founding of the league, although the newspapers did cover our town’s entry into the league — the Kansas City Monarchs — in their sports pages.
By August of that first season, the Kansas City Sun, a Black-owned newspaper, applauded the league’s influence on the African-American community:
“Negro baseball is traveling like a star base runner, hitting all the bases, but making the greatest speed…. But there is something grander and bigger in the game itself than the mere results of the series. It is the psychological effect the organization of the league is having upon our people. Think what it means to have the bulk of the people’s minds centered on one institution … which employs so extensively and lucratively the brain and brawn of our people. It is a great thing to have Negroes to become daily enthusiastic about something their fellows are doing. It means more race pride, more solidarity.”
Four months later, in its Christmas Day edition of 1920, the Sun looked back on the inaugural Negro National League season, noting “Negro teams used to play for a keg of beer, but now they play to $5,000 gates.”
More than 700,000 fans attended Negro National League games that first year, and the Sun claimed Kansas City to be the best baseball city in the league, adding “One hundred thousand White and Negro fans attended the Monarch games at Association Park the past season without the least bit of friction.”
After Jackie Robinson (a former Kansas City Monarch) broke the Major League Baseball color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, the Negro League teams lost a number of their best players and, after the 1948 season, the league folded.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the 18th & Vine District of Downtown Kansas City is “the world’s only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the rich history of African-American baseball and its impact on the social advancement of America.”
Feb 1, 1932: KC’s twin-towered skyscraper opens
The 35-story Fidelity National Bank & Trust Building opened in 1932 as a beautiful example of Art Deco architecture, and as a symbol of financial stature in, and beyond, our city. However, the bank did not survive the Great Depression, and folded in 1933.
From 1946 to 1995 the building was known as the Federal Office Building, and today it is the 909 Walnut Apartments residential tower.
The building’s original address was 911 Walnut, but around the time that the building changed hands in 2001 — following the aftermath of 9/11 — the street number was changed to 909.
For some cool images and a video of the building from just a few years ago when KC Scaffold played a role in refurbishing one of the two towers, click here.
February 28, 1990: Final edition of The Kansas City Times
Founded in 1867 by John C. Moore (who previously had served as the first-ever mayor of Denver, Colo.) and John Newman Edwards (whose writing catapulted Jesse James to folk hero status), the Kansas City Times was purchased in 1901 by Kansas City Star publisher William Rockhill Nelson. After Nelson’s last remaining heir died in 1926, the Times (and the Star) became employee owned, per instructions set forth in his will.
In 1977, the newspapers — the morning Times and the evening Star — again changed hands when Capital Cities Communications (later Capital Cities/ABC) bought the pair.
On Wednesday morning, Feb. 28, 1990, the last edition of the Kansas City Times was published. The remaining Kansas City Star took the morning slot the next day, and has been published as the sole major, traditional newspaper for the city ever since.
Twitter: More evidence of East Village stadium?
The Kansas City Defender: Dine at these Black-owned businesses
Among the Downtown establishments listed by the Defender are Sauced Urban Burger Stand at 1881-B Main, Smaxx Gourmet Food at 1827 Vine St., Soiree Steak & Oyster House at 1512 E 18th St., KC Blues Juke House at 1700 E. 18th St., Ruby Jean’s Juicery at 3000 Troost, Blue Nile Cafe at 20 E. 5th St., KC Daiquiri Shop on Grand, and Devoured Pizza Pop Up at 3119 Terrace St. For the full list with details and URLs for these restaurants and others, click the link:
LINK: 2023 Guide to the Best Black-Owned Restaurants in Kansas City
Northeast News: CP asks for help with illegal short-term rental units
Columbus Park is being overrun by unregistered short-term rentals, neighbors say. Now, the city is working on solutions that could have STR property owners paying their fair share.
LINK: Columbus Park fights Airbnb takeover
CitySceneKC: WallStreet Tower space to get entertainment concept
The “basement” of the Wallstreet Tower condominium complex, previously occupied by The Clubhouse Experience before that establishment closed during the pandemic, will have a new entertainment-themed tenant soon.
LINK: Larks Landing Downtown, New ‘Active’ Entertainment Franchise
2000 Vine: See area's past and present in 150-year-old buildings
Experience the rich culture and history of Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz District at the 2000 Vine open house event on Feb. 3. Taste beer from Vine Street Brewing Co., try foods from The Prospect KC, admire tattoos by Keno G, and witness live painting by artist Warren Harvey. Free for all ages.
LINK: 2000 Vine First Friday Open House
You can Venmo a one-time gift of any amount to @kcdowntownloop, or use the QR code below. There are no benefits to making this gift, but you still have access to the free monthly emails and online content — along with our never-ending gratitude.
(FYI, Pure Missouri is a sister business to The Loop. I’m trying to change the display name to “The Loop,” but Venmo won’t allow the change currently.)
In honor of our new KCI opening as early as next month, here’s a mid-century postcard of Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, known then simply as Kansas City Municipal Airport. Because of its proximity to Quality Hall and the Downtown skyscrapers, not to mention the river bluffs just north of the airfield, it was supposedly regarded by the FAA as “the most dangerous major airport in the country” in the 1960s. Kansas City International Airport opened in 1972. The new KCI is scheduled to open early March, but rumors have it opening as early as Feb. 28.
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….
Warriors Don’t Cry Folly Kids Series at the Folly
Last day of Shen Yun at Kauffman Center
Kansas City Symphony presents Philharmonia Fantastique at Kauffman Center
TUESDAY the 31st
Flood, Jan. 31 - Feb. 19 at the KC Rep’s Copaken Stage
Only One Day A Year, Jan. 31 - Mar. 5 at The Coterie Theatre, Crown Center
1st - 5th
The Folk Alliance International Conference, Feb. 1-5 at Westin Crown Center
Kansas City Symphony Happy Hour Concert at Kauffman Center
The Judds, Feb. 3 at T-Mobile Center
Störling Dance Theater’s Underground, Feb. 3-4 at Kauffman Center
Kansas City Symphony presents Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin, Feb. 3-5 at Kauffman Center
First Friday, Feb. 3 in the Crossroads Arts District
First Friday Weekend, Feb. 2-5 in the Tower East KC neighborhood
First Friday Weekend, Feb. 3-5 in the West Bottoms district
KC Remodel + Garden Show, Feb. 3-5 at Hale Arena
The International Erosion Control Association Annual Conference & Expo + Advanced Textile Association Geosynthetics Conference, Feb. 5-8 at Bartle Hall
6th - 12th
Death Cab for Cutie, Feb. 6 at the Midland
Bush, Feb. 7 at the Midland
PNC Broadway in Kansas City presents My Fair Lady, Feb. 7-12 at Kauffman Center
PACEshow 2023, the petroleum and convenience expo, Feb. 9-10 at Bartle Hall
Sensatia L'Amour, Feb. 10-14 at Grand Theater, Crown Center
Adam Sandler, Feb. 11 at T-Mobile Center
Kansas City Symphony presents Ruth Reinhardt Conducts Sibelius, Feb. 10-12 at Kauffman Center
Spirit Sports Cheer & Dance Kansas City Nationals, Feb. 11-12 at Municipal Auditorium,
13th - 19th
The Kansas City Ballet, presenting Cinderella Feb. 17-26 at Kauffman Center
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Feb. 18 at T-Mobile Center
14th Annual Mardi Gras Party, Feb. 18 at Kansas City Live!
Hermon Mehari Quartet, Feb. 18 at the Folly
Triple Crown Volleyball NIT, Feb. 18-20 at Bartle Hall
20th - 26th
International Anime Music Festival, Feb. 21 at the Midland
Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate, Feb. 23-26 at T-Mobile Center
Kansas City Jazz Orchestra presents The Future feat. Lee Langston & Eboni Fondren, Feb. 24 at Kauffman Center
Harriman-Jewell Series presents Kodo, Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble, Feb. 25 at Kauffman Center
GEAPS (Grain Elevator and Processing Society) Exchange 2023, Feb. 25-28 at Bartle Hall
Harriman-Jewell Series presents Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Riccardo Muti and Violinist Julia Fischer, Feb. 26 at Kauffman Center
27th - 28th
Six: The Musical, Feb. 28 - Mar. 5 at the Music Hall
Sensatia, Cirque Cabaret, through Feb. 4 at the Grand Theater, Crown Center
Crown Center Ice Terrace 2022-2023 Season, through March 12
Maya: The Exhibition, extended through March 12 at Union Station
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
For live Kansas City Jazz performances, visit LiveJazzKC.com
Q. What was the name of Kansas City’s first professional hockey team, and where did they play beginning in January 1928?
A. The Kansas City Pla-Mors hockey team of the American Hockey Association began play in 1927, but only played road games until the Pla-Mor Ice Palace at 32nd and Wyandotte opened on Jan. 2, 1928. Around 4,000 spectators watched the Pla-Mors defeat the Winnipeg Maroons, 2-1.
Did you see this week’s question, quiz, or poll? If not, your chance to chime in is here.
Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact The Loop via social media
Kevin Worley, Co-Publisher/Editorial
Joe Nichols, Co-Publisher/Business
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