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A recent What’s Your KC Q? submission asked us to explain the odd, seemingly arbitrary state line between Kansas and Missouri as it passes through the West Bottoms. The asker describes himself as a geography nerd with an interest in maps who’s always wondered why the Missouri border doesn’t extend to the Kansas River. When you look at it, the line does seem strange. Just to the north, the state line begins following the more obvious Missouri River. Why not just push the line a few hundred yards west to make things nice and neat? Seems like a no-brainer.
The excitement at Arrowhead Stadium during the divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts got Tom Solon to wondering how the stadium got its name. “I’ve always thought it was an awesome name for a stadium,” Solon writes to KCQ, a recurring feature in which The Kansas City Star, in partnership with the Kansas City Public Library, answers readers’ questions. Read on for the back story on the naming of the stadium.
The name River Quay (pronounced “key”) harkens back to the settlement of fur trader François Chouteau, who established a landing post in the 1820s near today’s River Market. Quay, a word of Old French origin meaning “loading platform” or “wharf,” was used to describe the natural rock ledge that served as a landing place for steamboats delivering cargo to the burgeoning towns of Westport and Independence.
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.
The Library is thinking of offering a new free service which provides more than 1,000 videos that teach you arts & crafts, design, cooking, painting, and more. We need you to test drive it, and all you need is your library card!
Question: How did “Union Station” get its name and why do so many other older railroad stations have that name?
It’s true that Kansas City’s Union Station doesn’t have a unique name. In fact, I found a similar question had been addressed by The Smithsonian Magazine in November 2017. The author explains that the term “union station” was used in the 19th and 20th centuries to indicate a hub in which multiple railroad companies operated. For example, you could enter a union station via a train on a small regional line and then switch to a larger national line to continue your journey. By today’s standards, it would be like changing airlines during a layover at an airport.
The KCTV broadcast tower at 31st Street and Grand Avenue once served as a 1,042-foot tall beacon at night, visible for miles around with more than 1,300 white lights tracing its four legs. But the tower has been unlit for more than a decade. Kansas City native Todd Hembree wonders why — and if — the lights will ever return.
The Library is currently migrating its large collection of digital historic images to a new software platform. An unfortunate consequence of our data migration is that we need to take the entire collection offline for about two months while the work is completed.
Question: What happened to the really cool looking city hall at 5th and Main?
Answer by Michael Wells, Missouri Valley Special Collections Librarian
Really cool looking is definitely an accurate description of Kansas City’s second City Hall building. To gain a better sense of what’s so cool about it, I began by consulting architectural historian George Ehrlich’s Kansas City, Missouri: An Architectural History, 1826-1990.
Since The Library launched “What’s Your KC Q?” with the Kansas City Star, we’ve received dozens of questions about Kansas City from curious readers. We’ve answered questions about Kansas City street signs, the possibility of a downtown Royals stadium and the history of Kansas City’s name. We’ve explained how to find answers on your own. Now, we’re opening our first voting round with three reader-submitted questions.
This voting round is currently closed
Self-proclaimed grammar nerd Don Beggs of Brookside reached out to The Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Public Library “What’s Your KC Q?” team to ask about the city’s street signs.
The city seems to be lacking style, Beggs said. More specifically, it appears the city doesn’t follow a stylebook when it comes to abbreviating or capitalizing street labels.