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Robert Felix, a Kansas City native who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and now lives in Shawnee, has always known about the old cable car tunnel that runs below Eighth Street from downtown to the West Bottoms. As the new Kansas City Streetcar system gains popularity he wondered: Could the Eighth Street Tunnel/streetcar line be restored and used to link the two parts of the city?
The name of Kansas City’s Trolley Trail – a six-mile path now populated by walkers, runners, and bikers – offers some indication of its original purpose. The route is one of the last pieces of the city’s original streetcar system.
Driving around Kansas City in late December this year, you’d be hard pressed to spot any snow, let alone a humongous snowman. Yet, if you could take a step back to the winter of 1964 you would see one towering high over Gillham Park. Frosty was designed that year by Vernon Jones, the Kansas City Parks Department’s then-supervisor. Each year, Frosty, Santa, toy soldiers and other displays visited the park just south of Gillham Road and 39th Street at Christmas time as part of Santa’s Wonderland.
Since The Kansas City Public Library launched "What’s your KCQ?" last October in partnership with the Kansas City Star , we’ve answered many reader-submitted questions about Kansas City’s history, traditions and quirks.
In recent months, we’ve explored how Kansas Citians used to travel between downtown and West Bottoms, if a reader’s father did really pay a nickel to see a giant whale in Kansas City in the 1950s — Long story short, the whale’s name was Winnie. — and why Kansas City has a bridge to nowhere.
In the Kansas City region, the name "Quantrill" is largely associated with William Clarke Quantrill, the infamous Missouri guerrilla who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War and led a violent raid on the Unionist town of Lawrence, Kansas, on August 21, 1863. The Quantrill name came up in a recent What’s Your KC Q? submission by Star reader Tony Rome. Rome’s mother attended the old Benjamin Harrison School (now the Kansas City International Academy) near Interstate 435 and East Wilson Road. He recalls her mentioning a “Quantrill Park” just east of the school and asks, “Who was that Quantrill?” At the risk of reviving old border war animosities, historians in the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections searched the department’s newspaper, map, and photograph collections for the answer.
Every once in a while, the Kansas City skyline lights up in brilliant, seemingly coordinated hues — like everyone got together to make the city shine. Reader Joel Jackson was wondering just how this was possible, so he submitted this question to our "What’s Your KCQ?" series: "How does the Kansas City skyline’s lights get coordinated for special occasions, and which buildings participate?"
Conceived as a ploy to bring customers to visit the Heim Brewing Company in 1899, the original Electric Park at Chestnut and Guinotte streets grew into an attraction in its own right. Each night, the 100,000 lights that gave the park its name illuminated a roller coaster, scenic railway, carousel, skating rink, swimming pool, bowling alley, alligator farm, dime museum, theaters, dance pavilions, bandstand, penny arcade, shooting gallery, flower beds, lake, and rental boats. Most alluring were the nightly performances of costumed young women who danced to a colorful electric light show on a platform in a large fountain in the center of the lake. Sometimes known as Kansas City's Coney Island, it served as the city's greatest amusement park for nearly two decades.
In this week’s installment of “What’s Your KCQ?” — a series in which we partner with the Kansas City Star to answer reader questions — we dive into a submission from Bill Johnson. He noticed some Egyptian looking objects in some photographs of Union Station from the 1920s and wondered why they were there.
Maybe you’ve noticed the old concrete structures near the Town of Kansas Bridge in Berkley Riverfront Park. Both Kyle Romine and Joel Verhagen have, and separately raised the question to What’s Your KC Q: How were they once used?
In June we asked readers which Kansas City-centric question we should answer in our series “What’s your KCQ?” in partnership with the Kansas City Star. Westport tied for the winning question. The other top vote-getter — about the old road remnants near the Town of Kansas — will be answered soon.