“Secret Kansas City” shares some of Northeast’s hidden gems

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor


“Secret Kansas City: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure” by Anne Kniggendorf is a locals-only guide to a few of Kansas City’s best kept secrets.


“Most visitors know all about Kansas City’s barbecue, jazz and football success, but there are hidden gems and wild pieces of trivia around every turn in Missouri’s largest city,” according to the book’s description. “Is the giant Hereford bull anatomically correct? Can a seed that’s been to outer space still grow into a normal tree? And who really killed President William Henry Harrison?”


A longtime Kansas Citian, Kniggendorf has lived here most of her life. However, nearly all the history in these pages came as a surprise to her. For the freelance journalist, searching for stories has become a serious preoccupation. She has written locally for the Kansas City Star, KCUR 89.3 and Flatland Magazine. Nationally, she has bylines in the Smithsonian Magazine, National Public Radio, the Saturday Evening Post and Publishers Weekly.


Kniggendorf turned her hobby into a passion for bolstering others’ love and respect for the middle-of-the-map city. Inside the pages of this book, Kniggendorf said readers will find the answers to questions they didn’t even know they had, like why three completely unrelated groups have chosen Kansas City as the center of the world and the place you want to be when the world ends.


In the book, readers will also discover castles, a horse buried in a cul-de-sac, a ghost who likes a good laugh, and the world’s longest snake. Her thorough research also digs deeper into some frequent sights that well-traveled Kansas Citians may recognize but not know the story behind.


Kniggendorf’s locations of interest stretch nearly 50 miles away from Kansas City, but would make an interesting road trip for those already familiar with Kansas City proper’s secretive spots.


Of the dozens of secrets Kniggendorf describes, quite a few can be found in some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods in Northeast Kansas City.


A location preceding the city that doesn’t get much attention is the Indian Mound, the namesake of the Indian Mound Neighborhood. The park at Gladstone Boulevard and Wheeling Avenue has no historic marker and a mysterious history full of speculation. This week, the Northeast News is highlighting Kansas City’s only Indian mound, which is said to be a Native American burial ground.


Always entertaining to Northeast residents, the truck-eating bridge on Independence Avenue earned a spot in Kniggendorf’s book. Additional information in “Secret Kansas City” paints a picture of the 12-foot bridge’s history.


Northeast residents and bed and breakfast owners Stephan Zweifler and Carl Markus can be found in the pages of Kniggendorf’s book. The Inn at 425 Gladstone is home to the ghost of a former owner, Emeline Twiss.
What may be well-known to those who frequent the 18th and Vine District, the castle-like workhouse at 2001 Vine St., was built in 1897. Kniggendorf highlights the “prison castle” which housed female prisoners for nearly 30 years.


Just down the street, Kniggendorf paid respect to jazz great and Kansas City native Charlie Parker by noting the memorial in his likeness outside the American Jazz Museum at 1616 E. 18th. This year marks what would have been Parker’s 100th birthday.


Also in the Jazz District, paying homage to Kansas City’s rich history of the genre, the piano-shaped park at 12th and Vine is included. Although there is no intersection at 12th and Vine St., there is still a sign to honor the line in the 1952 song “Going to Kansas City.”


For those who haven’t heard about the Rector Mansion at 2000 E. 12th Street, they may be surprised that it was once home to the wealthiest Black girl in America. Sarah Rector was born in 1902 in Oklahoma and has a very unique life story, which Kniggendorf shares.


Kniggendorf is hosting a book signing and talk on September 22 at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Luncheon from 11:45 to 1 p.m. via Zoom or in person with COVID-19 precautions in place. Those who plan on attending should RSVP at nekcchamber.com.


“Secret Kansas City” was released on September 1. It is available at Kniggendorf’s website, annekniggendorf.com, where she’ll send those who purchase the book a signed copy.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • KCPD Captain pulls man from burning house

    January 20th, 2022
    by

    Some quick thinking and being in the right place at the right time may have saved a man’s life this […]


    KCPD investigates death near Independence & Gladstone Blvds.

    January 20th, 2022
    by

    Kansas City, Mo., Police Department (KCPD) officers are on the scene of a death investigation at the Olivia Apartments in […]


    Library, AmeriCorps assemble hygiene kits for unhoused

    January 19th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell On Friday, the Kansas City Public Library’s AmeriCorps VISTAs assembled hygiene kits for the city’s homeless population. […]


    Fatal fire under 1-70 bridge closes center lane indefinitely

    January 19th, 2022
    by

    By Michael Bushnell The westbound lanes of I-70 closed at 18th Street just before the Benton curve on January 13 […]


    KCMO debuts storage cart pilot program

    January 19th, 2022
    by

    By Abby Hoover Elected officials, city leaders and community partners introduced a new storage cart pilot program for houseless residents […]


    Yasmeen Café serves up traditional favorites

    January 19th, 2022
    by

    By Abby Hoover Abdul Hatimi starts his day in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for the variety of customers who will […]


    Kansas City Museum announces new board leadership, funding

    January 18th, 2022
    by

    The Kansas City Museum is excited to announce additions to board leadership, new funding & exciting next steps. Nearly three […]


    Police investigate suspicious death on Saida

    January 17th, 2022
    by

    On person is dead following a Sunday night shooting in the 5500 block of Saida. Just before 11 p.m., Kansas […]


  • Shooting victim crashes at 12th and Topping

    January 17th, 2022
    by

    This morning at 1:45 a.m., Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers were called to East 12th St. and Topping Avenue […]


    Fatal homeless camp fire shuts down I-70

    January 13th, 2022
    by

    The westbound Lanes of I-70 closed at 18th Street, just before the Benton curve, due to a fatality homeless fire […]


    Police Alert

    January 12th, 2022
    by

    UPDATE!!!!! Maryland was able to get out of the vehicle and make his way home. Officers continue to speak with […]


    Library plans service opportunity for MLK Day 2022

    January 12th, 2022
    by

    Kansas City residents have the chance to step up and serve as volunteers on the annual Martin Luther King Jr. […]


    Eagle carving takes flight

    January 12th, 2022
    by

    As you drive along where Ewing Avenue intersects with East 17th Street, you may do a double take – is […]


    Show Me KC Schools comes home to Northeast

    January 12th, 2022
    by

    Show Me KC Schools, a group helping families find the best fit for their students’ education, is relocating to Northeast […]


    LEC, RevEd support Latinx community in education

    January 12th, 2022
    by

    Latinx education professionals are working hard to change the education outcomes of Latinx students in Kansas City by increasing and […]


    MO DHSS adds COVID testing sites in KC

    January 11th, 2022
    by

    Due to the increase in demand for COVID-19 testing, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and partners have […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.