New York Life Building of Kansas City
The New York Life building is a high-rise in the Library District of Kansas City. Built in a Neo-Renaissance style between 1887-90 by famous New York City architects McKim, Mead and White, it was a symbol of Kansas City’s prosperity in the late 19th-century as well as its reliance and faith in the money coming from the East, as Kansas City stood as a gateway to the West. The New York Life building is also considered to be Kansas City’s first skyscraper. The building mirrored the potential and investment coming to the area from all over the country, and it was the first manifestation of this prosperity. Today, the New York Life building is a centerpiece of the Library District neighborhood, and in 1970, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kansas City Public Library
Located in the historic former headquarters of First National Bank, the Central Library serves as the major resource library for the Kansas City Public Library system. Offering breathtaking galleries and reading rooms, and an ingenious parking garage that looks like a bookshelf, the Central Library is consistently included in lists of the most beautiful public libraries in the United States. The former bank vault is now home to the Stanley H. Durwood film collection, while the old bank's 35-foot ceilings add grandeur to the main reading room. Located on the fifth floor of the Central Library, the Missouri Valley Room is the premiere collection of rare books and one-of-a-kind historical records related to the history of Kansas City. Patrons may use the reading room to view archival and genealogical materials that do not circulate beyond the library.
The Savoy Grill and Hotel
The Savoy Grill, located at 219 W 9th Street, was a location frequented by Harry S. Truman. He ate there so enough that they placed a plaque in booth number four, designating his favorite place to sit. Until recently, individuals were able to eat at the restaurant and view different historic items, such as a job application from Truman. The Grill has served as an important part of Kansas City’s history, both socially and economically.
Corps of Discovery Sculpture
On September 15, 1806 the Lewis and Clark expedition, on its return journey from the Pacific Ocean, arrived at this location and camped nearby for two days before continuing down the river. The leaders, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, noted that this spot, which is on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River and surrounding landscape, would be a good place for a fort. This was one of their last stops during the expedition, which concluded on September 23 in St. Louis. In April 2000 Kansas City placed a statue at West Terrace Park to commemorate the expedition's journey through the area. It depicts Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea, along with Clark's slave York and Lewis' dog Seaman.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a historic Catholic church in Kansas City. Constructed in 1883, it served as the cathedral for the Diocese of Kansas City, and today is a co-cathedral for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The cathedral stands on the site of the first permanent church in Kansas City, built by popular civic leader Father Bernard Donnelly in 1857; it was also the site of St. Francis Regis, the first church ever in Kansas City, built in 1835. The cathedral is known in the community for its iconic golden dome. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 as part of the Quality Hill Historic District. Next to the cathedral are two historical markers; one commemorates Father Bernard Donnelly, while the other commemorates the St. Francis Regis church.
Folly Theater, Kansas City
The historic Folly Theater is Kansas City’s oldest theater and entertainment venue, dating back to 1900. It still operates as a functional theater today (showing live theater, jazz performances, national touring shows, and other programs) and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although the Folly Theater is seen as a place of quality, family entertainment, the theater’s origins were based in vaudeville, burlesque, and, later, striptease performances, showcasing nationally acclaimed artists such as Gypsy Rose Lee and Tempest Storm. In the 1920s, however, the Folly Theater (then named the "Shubert's Missouri”) produced dramatic productions and even featured the Marx Brothers and a young Humphrey Bogart. After falling into disrepair in the 1970s, the KCMO community took up the cause and saved the Folly Theater, and it is now one of the most important theatrical and historical sites in the downtown area.
Barney Allis Plaza Fountain
This large fountain, almost a block long, was built in 1985 as part of a redesign effort of the Barney Allis Plaza, named after the manager of the former Muehlbach Hotel, which was located across the street; the building is now part of the Marriott Hotel. Allis managed the hotel for three decades beginning in 1931. Despite his short stature of 5 foot 3 inches, Allis had a tremendous presence and ran the hotel with an iron fist. He was a perfectionist and demanded the best from hotel employees. His leadership bolstered the hotel's reputation which compelled a number of celebrities, including the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and future President Harry Truman, to choose to stay there. The fountain is on the north end of the plaza and features 112 water jets. The plaza was first created in 1956.
From the time of its construction in 1915 to mid-century, the Muehlebach Hotel was one of the centers of Kansas City social life. The luxurious hotel was built by the son of the city's famous brewer and hosted celebrities, famous athletes, and even presidents and foreign dignitaries. The hotel is also the site of the first band performance to be broadcast over the radio, the birthplace of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and the place where Harry Truman stayed while waiting for the 1948 presidential election results. The Muehlebach, along with several other downtown hotels, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. After closing in 1986, the Muehlebach was acquired by Marriott Hotels and incorporated into the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. In 2018 it was announced that Platform Ventures will convert the historic hotel into an apartment building.
The Midland Theatre
The Midland Theatre is a historic entertainment venue in the Power & Light District of Kansas City. It first opened in 1927 as Loew’s Midland Theater; at the time it was the third-largest theater in the United States. It became well known for its opulent interior, which included features such as gold leafing, hand-cut crystal chandeliers, and other ornamentations. After the original theatre closed in 1961, it was acquired and operated by AMC for a number of years. It underwent extensive renovations and restorations in 2008. Today the theatre is sponsored by Arvest Bank, and is formally known as the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. It hosts a number of live shows and performances throughout the year. The theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
Jenkins Music Company Building
The Jenkins Music Company Building in Kansas City, Missouri, was originally constructed in 1911-1912. The building was built to serve as the general offices, retail headquarters and the wholesale division of the prominent musical instrument and music publishing firm, the Jenkins Music Company, founded in 1878 by John Wesley Jenkins, Sr. During the 1890’s, the Jenkins Company became one of the largest manufacturers of guitars and mandolins in the world and one of the most distinguished publishers of sheet music in the nation. The structure was designed by locally-based architectural firm, Smith, Rea & Lovitt, especially by the firm's senior partner, Charles A. Smith. It is a significant example of unaltered, Modernistic-style commercial architecture, combining Late Gothic Revival and Art Deco decorative elements. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Kansas City, Missouri, occupies about one-third of the College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center. This hall of fame compliments the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame by recognizing coaches, players, and teams that have made significant contributions to college basketball. Visitors can honor college basketball legends and learn about the history of the game by not just observing but by experiencing college basketball for themselves.