They Built Kansas City: Mary Colter

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Women in Architecture

The women architects who helped shape Kansas City neighborhoods and beyond are the subject of the second season of They Built Kansas City, a series examining the work of architects responsible for some of the city’s most recognizable structures.

All programs in the series begin at 2 p.m. in the Truman Forum at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

On Sunday, June 28, Susan Richards Johnson discusses the work of Mary Colter.

Best known for her designs in the southwest United States, Colter made her mark in Kansas City through her association with the Fred Harvey Company. Beginning in 1910, Colter obtained a permanent position with the company as an architect and designer based in the Kansas City office. She frequently traveled to various sites in the Southwest.

Fred Harvey had Colter on staff to produce commercial architecture in strategic locations based on some concern for authenticity, floor plans calculated for good user experience and commercial function, as well as a playful sense of dramatic theme inside and out. She was best known in Kansas City as the designer of all of the Fred Harvey Restaurants, including the original one in Union Station. Colter died in 1958.

They Built Kansas City: Mary Colter

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