1978 fire still deadliest in city history

Coat House Postcard

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 provided assistance for more than 100 people who were essentially homeless after the fire. It is to this day Kansas City’s deadliest fire in terms of lives lost.

The over-riding question was would what remained of the hulking north portion of the hotel be saved or would it fall victim to the wrecking ball? Fortunately, preservationists ruled the day. In July of 1979, HKCF (Historic Kansas City Foundation) purchased the hotel until a viable buyer-developer could be found. Meanwhile, cleanup began in earnest on the smoke charred timbers and scorched bricks. In 1984, St. Louis-based McCormack-Baron purchased the hotel and began one of the greatest restoration projects of the day. That development spurred the ongoing revitalization of the Quality Hill district.

Today, the Coates House is home to luxury apartments and condominiums and stands as one of the city’s greatest preservation works.

This postcard was published by the E.C. Kropp Company of Kansas City, Mo. It was sent on May 14, 1926, to Miss Dot Hill of St. Louis, Mo. The message reads: “Come up and see my hotel as it is pretty. Love, Aunt Pebble.”

Comments are closed.

  • Upscale Baltimore Hotel hosted presidents

    February 10th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Eccentric. That’s how many described noted turn-of-the-century Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss.


    Florida scene warms KC recipient’s winter

    February 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Originally sent to Miss Josephine Eakins of 3514 Forest Ave. in Kansas City on Feb.


    Airport transformed KC transportation

    January 27th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s Municipal Airport was once a swampy, 687-acre bog located in an ox-bow area along the great bend of the Missouri River.


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    January 20th, 2016
    by

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


    Hotel President still charms downtown Kansas City

    January 13th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News “The Hotel President located at 1329 Baltimore opened in January of 1926 is a magnificent fifteen-story structure incorporating therein all that is best in modern hotel construction.


  • Larrapin Lou and the Babe

    January 6th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News George Herman “Babe” Ruth and “Larrapin” Lou Gehrig played in a barnstorming game on Oct.


    Historic happy holidays

    December 30th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Happy New Year!
    Sent on Dec. 31, 1905, to Mrs. E. T. Van Winkle of Hornellsville, N.Y., this unusual New Year’s card bears a black-and-white photograph of angels in


    Holy Rosary crib tradition a holiday classic

    December 23rd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This real photo postcard of the Holy Rosary Church’s Christmas crib was taken during the 1941 holiday season.


    Beauty springs eternal on Historic Northeast’s Cliff Drive

    December 16th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Fountain and Cliff Drive, North Terrace Park, Kansas City Missouri.”
    So reads the description on this divided back, hand-colored postcard, published around 1910.


    KCK mayor creates fine architecture

    December 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The cornerstone for the Masonic Temple at 803 N. Seventh St. in Kansas City, Kan., was laid Nov.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Mardi Gras celebration

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Feb. 10, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Columbus Park’s Don Bosco Senior Center was the scene […]

    City to Speedy Cash – you’re done

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The wrecking ball has been spared once at the corner of Independence Boulevard and Prospect Avenue.

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]