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Community
In Full Bloom
Kansas City’s embrace of green space dates back to the late 1800s, when famed landscape architect George Kessler laid out its system of parks and boulevards. A century later, in 1991, the local chapter of the American Society of…
Environment
Climate Change’s Serious Effects On Kansas Citians Disproportionately Affect The Poor
The discussion about climate change often centers around what increasingly extreme weather will mean for agriculture and the environment. But what about its effect on poverty? That’s certainly on the radar of Tom Jacobs, environ…
Community
Push is Underway in Kansas City to Make the 2020 Census Count
The mantra of the U.S. Census Bureau could very well be: For every vote to count, every person must be counted. That’s because the bureau carries out the constitutionally mandated population count that drives congressional repre…
History
Pondering Tom Pendergast's Complicated Legacy
Boss Tom Pendergast long ago earned a place on any list of the most influential people in Kansas City history. His legacy, though, is rather mixed. In response to a question from a Flatland reader, local historian Terence O'Malley…
Community
Kansas City Square Dance Clubs Still Kicking Up Heels
Joyce Schemmer stands in the middle of an empty hardwood floor at Vesper Hall, a senior center in Blue Springs, Missouri. She is clapping and beckoning the other participants in the room, including her husband, Marvin, to join her…
Food history
Dixon’s Famous Chili Celebrates A Century Of Beans, Meat And Loyal Customers
Vergne Dixon started selling chili out of a cart – precursor to the modern food truck - before opening his first permanent location at 15th and Olive in Kansas City. At one point, there were as many as 15 Dixon’s drawing custo…
Community
What’s Behind the Plane Behind the House Off Ward Parkway?
Driving past the stately homes along Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri, it’s common to see shrubs or fences shrouding backyards. One curious Kansas Citian, however, glimpsed something unusual. Chris Nelson saw the nose of an…
History
The Mission Link
For years, Kathy Dix, has walked her dogs on a mulch path behind the Shawnee Indian Mission, which is located in her Fairway, Kansas, neighborhood. She’s a longtime volunteer at the mission, but as a history buff, she can never …
History
Ghost (Signs) of KC's Past
The past fades, but it doesn’t disappear. The same is true of those old painted advertisements still faintly visible on buildings throughout Kansas City, including in the River Market and West Bottoms. These are the billboards o…
Religion and Hate
Keeping The Faith in Kansas City
In the best of all worlds, religion fosters a common cause for self improvement and good works. Yet, as we have seen, harmony disintegrates when some followers espouse views that seem to contradict the basic tenets of their faith.…
Country Music
When Townes Was in Town
From the jazz greats of the 1930s to The Who’s iconic performance at Shawnee Mission South, to the Beatles Municipal Stadium gig, Kansas City’s venues have hosted some of music’s most iconic legends.  In that vein, curi…
Art
What More Latinx Murals in KC Mean For Representation
For Kansas City artist Emily Alvarez, painting images of people like her and her family helps establish their place in society.  Alvarez’s works are on display in several public spaces, such as the Aquatic Center locker roo…
Infrastructure
Bridging The Gap
Bump-Bump. Bump-Bump. Bump-Bump. So goes the steady rumble of the nearly 44,000 vehicles a day traversing the U.S. highway 169 bridge in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The structure’s three steel arches make it look like a smal…
History
Does Kansas City Have Any Streets Named After Women?
Kansas City’s streets are always talking. And if you listen close enough, you’ll learn a near-forgotten history.  The city has a plethora of female street names, but the origin of these names has remained a mystery. Until…
Faith
Holding a Balance of Unity Within Diversity
Jo Shryrock likes living in Tonganoxie, Kansas. It’s a small town, with a population of little more than 5,000. The people are friendly, and it’s a great place to raise children. But she wishes there were more diversity, parti…
Art
The Halo Effect: What’s Behind the Graffiti Markings in the Crossroads?
Passersby along Southwest Boulevard may notice the graffiti that covers the Crossroads Art District. It’s everywhere: down alleyways, along buildings, across dumpsters and even on electrical equipment. Heading east, past the wel…
Infrastructure
Digging Up The Truth About Kansas City Tunnels
They say that the party is under your own feet. It turns out that for Kansas Citians, there’s a lot more under there too. curiousKC fielded a question about tunnels in the Historic Northeast neighborhood, between Ward Parkway ho…
Food history
Baking it the Ole Fashioned Way: K.C. Bakeries Established Before 1950
Flatland loves a good fluff piece. Two years ago we chronicled the history of Kansas City’s legendary Cake Box. A little while later, curiousKC fielded this question: “What were the other bakeries in Kansas City established be…
History
What Happened To The Dead Soldiers In The Battle Of Westport?
During one of her periodic walks through Loose Park on a nice day this winter, Kelly Akers came across a sign she had not noticed before about the Battle of Westport. Part of the self-guided tour of the battlefield, the marker men…
Community
Steamboat Arabia Seeks New Quay
Should I stay, or should I go? Those are lyrics from a 1980s rock song, but it also sums up the current state of affairs for the  Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. That’s because it’s unclear whether the m…
Faith
What’s The Story Behind That Shiny Spire In Independence, Missouri?
Like many Metropolitan-area residents, Valorie Wells Fenton has driven by the silver spire that corkscrews skyward in Independence, Missouri. She heard it’s the place Mormons expect Jesus to return and wondered if the site may b…
Faith & Community
Breaking Down Negative Portrayals of Muslim Women
To Melody Petet, it seemed as if popular culture mostly portrayed Muslim women as either victims or terrorists. But Petet, who lives in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, knew there had to be more to the story in rea…
History
'Who Lived in the Kansas City Museum?'
Earlier this month, Flatland announced its launch of curiousKC kids and the voting round winner. With the 49-person vote of confidence, we got busy to answer the winning question: Who lived in the mansion that is now the Kansas Ci…
History
The Story Behind Kansas City’s Oldest Church
When Mary Cheney moved to the Kansas City area, she traded farm life for the suburban life of Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband. The move came more than 50 years ago, yet Cheney has never felt she has a great handle on the r…
Infrastructure History
How Did Trails West Influence The Growth of Westport?
Gary Jenkins has always been interested in the trails that ran through town before Kansas City was even on the map. He volunteers on camping trips with teenagers from the Kansas State School for the Blind along the Oregon Trail. A…
Community
Finding Friends When You Are Over 60
Sheryl Raineri grew up in the Chicago suburbs, relocated to the warmer climes of San Antonio for almost two decades, and then found herself in Kansas City, North, of all places, nearly seven years ago. She came here for family sup…
Infrastructure
How (And Why) is Kansas City’s Kauffman Center Shaped Like That?
Accordion-like folds curve toward downtown Kansas City, Missouri — now a staple of city’s skyline. We’re talking about the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. You can’t ignore its towering structure driving along Intersta…
Faith & Community
Understanding Islam in KC
At 79 years old, Marian Thomas of Leawood, Kansas, still shares much in common with the girl who wore out her Sunday school teachers with questions. Religion has been a common thread throughout her life, whether it was serving as …
Community
Not Quite a Hat Trick | Kansas City's Two Seasons of Pro Hockey
Joe Lynch makes slow, easy circles on the Crown Center Ice Terrace testing the edge on his newly sharpened ice skates. A pair of sisters watch wide-eyed, waiting for help to tie the brown laces on their skates. I approach Lyn…
Infrastructure History
What Are the 3 Oldest Buildings in KC?
This is my first foray into answering a curiousKC question. I decided to answer (what I thought would be) a straightforward history question thrown our way by Kansas Citian Stacey McBride. “What are the top three oldest survivin…
black history month
How One Kansas City Hospital Treated Segregation in the ‘50s
During a snowstorm in early January, Carol Johnson’s power went out, so her neighbor invited her over for dinner. They started talking about Queen of the World Hospital, a now-shuttered medical facility dating back to the ‘50s…
American Graduate
‘I Just Care. They Become Family.’
Dana Steinwart is a devoted teacher. So devoted that she tears up when she considers where her students might find themselves after high school. “I just care,” she said. “They become family because I’m with them for four y…
curiousKC
Update: Waiter! There Is A Bug In My Pizza
Update: After this story was published on Jan. 16, Kansas Citians wrote to us asking if the restaurant on Independence Avenue was somehow connected to the one they knew on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas. The answer is ye…
American Graduate
Finding Equitable Access to Education and the Workforce
Kendall Riley loves to sculpt. He’s also such a technological whiz that he once disassembled — then reassembled — a Chromebook laptop. The 20-year-old is also autistic, diagnosed as a toddler by doctors at Children’s Mercy…
bess truman
Is Pie the Sweet Dessert Spirit Animal of Kansas City?
The meal is over. The dishes are in the sink. What are you serving for dessert, Kansas City? “What’s the quintessential Kansas City dessert? Something we’ve really been known for over the years,” was the #curiousKC questio…
Todd George Parkway
This Man Paved The Way For Lee’s Summit
There are two sorts of people in the world — those who are blissfully uninterested in the origin of street names, and those who are helplessly intrigued by the history behind this most basic feature of public life.When it comes …
bogdon's candy co.
The Bogdon Candy Co. Made Sweet Treats For Three Generations
The next time you bring a gift to a wedding, you should think of Walter Bogdon. The late chocolatier first invented the reception stick -- a crunchy, chocolate-enrobed hard candy -- for a local couple about to get married more tha…
infrastructure
Jumping on e-scooters on the fly? Think twice
Exiting her daughter’s apartment building on a recent Sunday, Janet Korte spotted something that looked just like the motorless Razor scooters her children loved to ride. “So I thought, ‘This’ll be a piece of cake,’” s…
curiousKC
Do You Know Twelfth Street’s (Famous) Past?
If there’s a street that defines Kansas City, Missouri, which one would you say it is? Obvious candidates include Ward Parkway, The Paseo and Southwest Boulevard. But what would you say to the dark horse selection of 12th Street…
curiousKC
The Rise and Fall of an Overland Park Icon
Metcalf Avenue is certainly not the Champs-Élysées, but at one time, a French-themed market loomed large — like a medieval castle — above Overland Park’s main drag. This superstore, in fact, was named the French Market, an…
curiousKC
Is Kansas City’s Population Growing?
Ben Evans is a Kansas City transplant, and after he recently bought a house in Waldo, he started wondering: Are other people moving to Kansas City? And how do experts and forecasters expect the population to change in the coming y…
curiousKC
How Should Police Officers Combat Stress?
Clinical psychotherapist Pat Hinkle was a police officer for 30 years before starting his counseling practice to help other officers work through stress and trauma. During his time as an officer, Hinkle recognized that there was a…
curiousKC
Crooked Missouri
David Bonebrake describes himself as the kind of guy who likes order. If he sees a crooked picture on the wall, he wants to fix it. When Bonebrake, a Kansas native, saw an aerial picture of Kansas City from 438 miles above — a p…
American Graduate
How Do Schools Prepare Students For The Digital Economy?
Jeremy Bonneson, vice principal of Summit Technology Academy in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, asked curiousKC: “How do schools adapt to the ever-changing and disruptive nature of the workforce landscape for today's digital economy?…
curiousKC
What's In Our Tap Water?
By Lauren Langdon As the “Big Muddy” winds its way through Kansas City, it might be hard to believe that approximately 660,000 residents rely on the Missouri River for their drinking water — after it has been treated, of cou…
Affordable Housing
Where Are Those 20-Somethings Living?
Where do young Kansas Citians live? The traditional Midtown haunts? High-end urban apartments? The large rental complexes in suburbia? CuriousKC delved into the topic after receiving this inquiry: “Who ARE all these people who c…
Local History
What’s the Oldest House in the Kansas City Area?
Retired teacher Del Candler can trace her ancestors’ arrival in Jackson County to the 1840s, and wondered what structures remain from that period and Kansas City’s origins. She asked curiousKC, “What is the oldest house stil…
affordable housing
Can You Improve an Area Without Gentrifying It?
By Anne Kniggendorf As a traffic engineer, Jay Aber worries that some of the improvements he designs have the exact opposite effect of what he had hoped. “We try to improve the street for the people who live there,” Aber said.…
local history
Searching For Her Dad's Technical High School
By Jack Harvel Like so many men of his generation, Jack Harrigan was a small-town kid born early in the 20th century, weathered the Great Depression, fought in World War II, then returned home to raise a family while working a blu…
curiousKC
The Rise and Fall of a Boomtown
By Steve Everly, Paul Wenske and David Hayes  The Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 made Kansas territory the center of the conflict over the future of slavery. The act’s “popular sovereignty” provision ditched the long-held Miss…
Beyond Belief
What Are the Open Belief Centers in KC?
By Humera Lodhi Sharon Divine found faith as an adult. Or rather, she lost religion and then found faith. Divine grew up as a Christian attending Methodist, Lutheran, and Unity churches at various points in her life. The older Div…
local history
A Trip Back to a Childhood Spent in Westport Orphanage
By Tess Vrbin Joe Bessenbacher’s most vivid childhood memories include “a white triangular bonnet.” This piece of headgear is part of the habit that the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul wore. The order of nuns ran…
local history
A Sweet Memory Prompts Strawberry Hill Question
By Rachel Thomas When she was around 10 years old, Christine Rogge attended an ethnic festival in the area of Kansas City, Kansas, known as Strawberry Hill. That was decades ago, but the fond memory remains, and the south Kansas …