Downtown dominant skyline

PC-old downtown.jpg

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News

This week’s postcard was published by the R.B. Harness Greeting Card Company of Kansas City, Mo. The view is described as the “Business Section of Kansas City” and seems to have been taken from near Truman Road and Oak Street, just south of the then-new City Hall and Jackson County Courthouse. It shows four prominent buildings completed or modified between 1928 and 1932.

At the far left is the Kansas City Power & Light building. Completed in 1931, it was for a time the tallest building in Missouri. The 31-story, pure art deco structure was capped by a 97-foot tower that at night, according to published reports, “glowed like a monstrous jewel.”

The next building is the “new” Bryant Building, another art deco tower built in 1931. The original Bryant Building was a seven-story one built in 1891 at the corner of Petticoat Lane and Grand Boulevard by Dr. John Bryant, on the site of his former home. After 40 years of use while downtown literally grew up around it, the original structure was razed for the new, 25-story art deco masterpiece that added an extra point to the growing skyline.

In the center-right of the card is the “new” Fidelity National Bank tower built in 1931 at the corner of 10th and Walnut. At the time of its completion, it was Kansas City’s second tallest building, more than 453 feet tall and only about 30 feet shorter than Power & Light. The clock, said to be the largest west of the Mississippi River, was installed in the original Fidelity Bank building in 1884. It continued to ring out the hours in the new building until 1972, when the great clock faces were dismantled and removed to prevent their plummeting to the street below – as it was feared they might.

The building on the far right is the Telephone Building at 11th and Oak. Hardly recognizable from its former self, it was built in 1920 as a 14-story structure. In 1928, 14 additional stories were added to the top, and in the late 1970s, the majestic old structure was horribly disfigured by a concrete veneer that covered its gargoyles and ornamental pediments. Preservationists throughout the city called it one of the darkest days for downtown when the new “skin” was applied to the historic structure. (This card was never mailed.)

Comments are closed.

  • A grand old flag with a grand old history

    June 21st, 2017
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News June 21, 2017 During the American Revolution, a number of patriots made flags for our […]


    Early 1900s school site is now interstate interchange

    June 14th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 14, 2017 This view of The Paseo, between 15th and 16th streets, looks north […]


    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    June 14th, 2017
    by

      Northeast News June 14, 2017


    River trade diminished near turn of century

    June 7th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News June 7, 2017 “Boats on the river at the foot of Main Street, Kansas City, […]


    From packing meat to packing heat

    May 31st, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 31, 2017 Patrick Cudahy started in the meat packing business as a carrying boy […]


  • The ‘most beautiful’ steel bridge

    May 24th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 24, 2017 In 1936, the American Institute of Steel Construction selected the Hurricane Deck […]


    Memorial an expression of gratitude

    May 17th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 17, 2017 H. Van Buren Magonigle of New York was selected from a field […]


    And the rains came

    May 10th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 10, 2017 Seems fitting with the spring rains we’re experiencing that we run a […]


    Spring has flowed for nearly a century

    May 3rd, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News May 3, 2017 People from throughout the Midwest have enjoyed drives along Cliff Drive’s rugged […]


    Aviation history took flight at Fairfax

    April 26th, 2017
    by

    By MICHAEL BUSHNELL Northeast News April 26, 2017 This 1942 Max Bernstein linen postcard depicts the Aircraft Assembly Plant, Fairfax […]


  • Follow us on Twitter

  • What’s Happening

    Northeast Newscast Episode 15 – Scarritt Renaissance and the Kansas City Museum w/ SRNA President Leslie Caplan

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 23, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This week on the Northeast Newscast, managing editor […]

    Kansas City Museum seeking input on parking solution

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 23, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The renovation and restoration of Corinthian Hall is […]

    SVN to receive another $450K in grant funds

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 22, 2017 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The good news keep rolling in for Scuola […]

  • Local Weather