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Chicago World's Fair: Century of progress

Posted April 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
April 9, 2014

One of the highlights of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the Firestone Singing Color Fountain.

The description on the back of the card reads: “Beneath the misty fountain domes is a battery of colored lights. As the music fills the garden, the varying sound wave lengths come in contact with a delicate mechanism, which connects the colored lights. The result is an ever-changing array of beautiful color combinations, playing upon the fountains in perfect harmony with the music. The Firestone multi-color shadow sign is constructed of shadow planes behind which are thousands of incandescent bulbs, reflecting an ever-changing combination of beautiful pastel shades of blue, green, orange and yellow.”

The Fair, entitled, “A Century of Progress” was designed to commemorate

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    A trip on the swift and far railway

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    April 2, 2014

    “One smile from you in Kansas City would transfer me to heaven.” So indicates the message on the front of this card designed to resemble a railroad ticket on the “Swift and Far RY Co.” The card was sent on October 19, 1914, to Miss Minnie Fleming of Willard, Kan.

    The message on the back was written by “F.R.” and goes: “O.K. kid, but I am sleepy and all in. Got in Topeka at 4:30.

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    Blue River once an urban oasis

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    March 26, 2014

    This real photo postcard showing the Blue River near 15th Street was published in the early 1900s by the North American Postcard Company of Kansas City, Mo. It was sent from #16 N. 15th St. in Kansas City, Kan. to Mrs. Henry D. Meyer of St. Charles, Mo. on June 26, 1912.

    The message is written in German. The river is well below normal levels – the water line along the steep banks shows just how

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    Seeing Kansas City on the Gray Line

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    March 19, 2014

    “See Kansas City and know what you’re seeing,” states the description on the back of this Curt Teich 1920s vintage postcard showing the Yellow Cab Company’s touring Parlor Coach. “An instructive, enjoyable 2 1⁄2 hour trip, thirty miles of the most interesting sections of Kansas City’s parks, boulevards, business and residential sections.”

    According to coach equipment records of the Kansas City Public Service Company, such parlor coaches were built by the American Car Company and the

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    Pendergast still watches West Bottoms

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    March 12, 2014

    Born in 1856 in the Ohio River town of Gallipolis, James Pendergast was the second of nine children. His Irish Catholic family later moved to Independence, Mo.

    Pendergast worked as a laborer and had an affinity for horse racing. After a single trip to the track, he won enough money on a horse named “Climax” to open a saloon in the rough-and-tumble West Bottoms area, Kansas City’s First Ward. Pendergast was

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    A Kansas City beauty spot

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    March 5, 2014

    Spring Valley Park, located between 28th Street at Woodland Avenue and 29th Street at Brooklyn Avenue, lies in a natural canyon carved out during a previous ice age that exposed the natural limestone shelf and a small cave.

    Once the site of a rock quarry, the 33-acre, irregularly shaped tract was taken over by the city’s Park Board in 1902.

    Like the natural springs along Cliff Drive, as many as six

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    Benton Boulevard looks different today

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    February 26, 2014

    By 1912, Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards system had a budget of a little over $7 million per year. The Kessler designed system of parks connected by wide, tree lined boulevards was a big hit with the citizenry.

    It, however, had detractors, one of whom was a powerful land owner and enigmatic real estate developer from Independence, Mo. Thomas Swope came to Kansas City in the mid 1850′s and began amassing huge tracts of land; land

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    1978 fire still deadliest in city history

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    February 5, 2014

    Thirty six years ago on Jan. 28, 1978, as hotel guests slept in their roughly $1.75 per night beds, fire broke out in the historic Coates House Hotel. It would be almost four hours until the Kansas City Fire Department brought the tragic fire under control in the frigid January temperatures.

    The scene resembled a stark palace of ice, smoking ashes and a makeshift morgue nearby where the victims were brought. When all was said and done, 20 people lost their lives and the Salvation Army

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    Pickwick Nite Coach luxury bus tour

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    January 29, 2014

    Pickwick Lines Nite Coach service made its debut at the Pacific Southwest Exposition in Long Beach, Calif., during the summer of 1928. Movie legend Clara Bow was pictured with one of the glistening new coast-to-coast coaches and that picture ran in newspapers nationwide, all heralding the arrival of luxury coast-to-coast bus service.

    An excerpt from the Aug. 14, 1928, Madison Wisconsin Capital Times reads: “Newest Motor Coach Is Veritable Hotel on Wheels Has Dining Rooms,

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    El Tovar Hotel – life on the rim

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    January 22, 2014

    “The El Tovar Hotel, On the rim, Grand Canyon Arizona. A familiar scene along the walk from the Lookout Studio or the Bright Angel Lodge. The El Tovar looms up on the edge of a sheer precipice from which one may look down a mile to the bottom of its dizzy depth. The rim in the distance is 14 miles away.”

    Such is the description on the back of this linen era postcard published by

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