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.

  • Main Street Theater history lives on

    March 31st, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The marquee on the Max Bernstein postcard of the Main Street Theater shows the vaudeville team of Williams and Wolfus playing, as well as Lydia Barry.
    “Williams and Wolfus”


    Fort Osage serves both past and present

    March 24th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This week’s postcard is an early Chrome-type postcard published by James Tetrick of Kansas City showing historic Fort Osage near Sibley.


    The original Kansas City Hummer vehicle

    March 17th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News When you think of a Hummer these days, the first thing to probably come to mind is the monstrous SUV that began its life as a utility vehicle


    Greetings from Saint Patrick

    March 10th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Postcards such as this have long been used to convey greetings conveniently to friends and relatives afar.


    The White Company delivers innovation through history

    March 4th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Our standard has always been to build a car able to surmount any road conditions which might be encountered.


  • Postcard shows business as usual in 1909

    February 18th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Risqué postcards, like the one shown here, have been around for as long as postcards themselves.
    Prior to the advent of postcards as a private communication medium, those looking


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    February 11th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain Railway, the promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as described by the caption: “Along the Missouri River for more than 100 miles


    The early days of downtown

    February 4th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Hardly the downtown of today, this black and white lithographed postcard shows a view looking east-northeast from the Coates House Hotel at 11th Street and Broadway Boulevard.
    Published by


    Ginger Club Businesses offer Snappy Service

    January 28th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Hoping to bring more business to their block, merchants in the 300 block of East 12th Street organized a Ginger Club, using a Ginger Snap as an emblem.


    A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

    January 21st, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or special taxes, half-acre lots at the price of city lots.”
    So reads the marketing


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    The hunt for colored eggs

    Last weekend, hundreds of children from around the Northeast swarmed the Concourse grounds...

    Back Door Pottery a staple along St. John Avenue

    By Samantha Belcourt Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Back Door Pottery was originally built in the 1920’s.

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]