Here is the second half of my list of top 10 Kansas City landmarks. To see the first half, visit www.unews.com.
6. Art Deco architecture
Kansas City is known for its art deco architecture, characterized by its clean, angular lines, functionality and elegance. The 30-story Kansas City Power & Light Building, (1330 Baltimore Ave.), exemplifies the 1920s-1930s art deco style with its limestone façade, simple-yet-elegant detailing and crowning shaft at the top, with prismatic cut-glass panels that emit changing-colored lights at night.
Other buildings downtown with art deco styling include City Hall, the former Jackson County Courthouse and the 909 Walnut Tower, which features two twin spires at the top of the building. These buildings, like most skyscrapers of the time, employ limestone façades and a series of tiered setback,s which give the buildings a unique geometric form.
7. Antebellum architecture
Several buildings in Kansas City predate the Civil War. Several are in Westport, which was incorporated in 1857, with a population of 5,000, prior to annexation by Kansas City in 1897.
Several buildings from the 1850s remain standing in Westport today. These include the building that houses Kelly’s Westport Inn, at 500 Westport Road, several buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue and the former John Harris residence at 4000 Baltimore Ave., now the Westport Historical Society.
Other pre-Civil War buildings include the John Wornall House Museum (6115 Wornall Road) and the Alexander Majors House (8145 State Line Road). For more information, visit www.westporthistorical.com, www.wornallhouse.org and www.alexandermajors.com.
8. The Boley Building
Built in 1909, the Boley Building combines elaborate Arts Nouveaux decorations with bold, visionary design. Its architect, Louis Curtiss, is considered the Frank Lloyd Wright of Kansas City by architectural historians. “Light and plenty of it” was a phrase Curtiss stressed during the planning of the building, which is one of the first in the world to employ a metal and glass “curtain-wall” façade, a style not widely used until after World War II.
9. Liberty Memorial
In 1921, five Allied Forces commanders spoke to a crowd of more than 100,000 people at the Liberty Memorial’s dedication. The 217-foot limestone and reinforced concrete tower, which is flanked by two exhibit hall wings on either side, is built on top of a deck overlooking the Kansas City skyline. The top of the tower is illuminated by a large gas-fed flame at night. In 1994, the tower was blocked off due to deterioration, but in 1998, a sales tax referendum passed to restore the memorial and construct the on-site National World War I Museum.
10. Janssen Place
Janssen Place, located off East 36th Street in Hyde Park, is one of the first examples of a planned residential neighborhood in Kansas City. It is also the first private street in Kansas City, and was home to many wealthy lumber barons at the turn of the century. A decorative, Neo-Classical gateway facing 36th Street marks the neighborhood’s entrance. The homes on Janssen Place are built in a number of styles, including Italianate, Shingle, Queen Anne, Jacobean, Georgian and Beaux Arts.