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Rare postcards show city's early growth

Posted April 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
April 16, 2014

This panoramic post card of downtown Kansas City, MO. looking east from Broadway, was copyrighted by G.H. Otto in 1899, just a year after picture post cards became legal for personal use.

Strict postal regulations had formerly prevented the issue of private postcards to protect the sales of government cards, legalized in 1873. An act of Congress on May 4, 1898, legalized the use of personal post cards and allowed the same message privileges and rates as the government ones. They were to be approximately the same size, quality and weight and were to be inscribed “Private Mailing Card.”

Otto’s cards were labeled “Greetings From Kansas City.” They were artist’s sketches lithographed in black and white with red highlights on

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    Chicago World's Fair: Century of progress

    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

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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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    Durand's chicken dinners-nothing better

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    February 19, 2014

    This Linen era advertising postcard showcases the famous Durand’s Restaurant in Platte Woods, Mo.

    Platte Woods is not often thought of as a bastion of history given its largely rural setting and Northland location.

    The larger portion of its development came in the 1930′s when Ernie Thompson envisioned the “Garden Spot of Platte County” and began to offer residential building lots.

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    A Valentine treat from 1910

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
    Northeast News
    February 12, 2014

    Around 200 AD (CE), the Roman Emperor Claudius was busy conquering various parts of Europe and Asia, making a general nuisance of himself in a most barbaric way.

    Claudius had determined that married soldiers were of little or no good on the battlefield. To that end, Claudius banned the institution of marriage everywhere in Rome, but a Catholic bishop named Valentine would secretly marry young couples who came to him. When

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