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TitleConvention Hall, Interior
DescriptionTwo postcards of the Convention Hall and its interior.
Historical ArticleThese post cards were among dozens made of the new fireproof Convention Hall, built in 90 days after fire had leveled the first Convention Hall April 6, 1900. The interior view shows the arena floor with tables set for a dinner of more that 1,000 persons.

The interior of the new hall was different from that which had been destroyed. The old had wooden floors and wooden balcony supports. The new one had floors of concrete, supports of steel and a roof of tile.

The new hall was the site of a wide variety of events. To prepare for a horse show, 500 tons of clay were placed on the floor and rolled with a steam roller. At the conclusion of the show, the clay was plowed up and carted away.

For dancing and roller skating a hard maple floor made in 6- by 14-foot sections was set in place.

Sixty-four boxes encircled the oval floor space. On the first balcony were 5,000 opera chairs and on the second balcony 2,500 more. Higher up was a floor known as the roof garden which could accommodate 3,000 more persons.

The stage, also made in sections, was used for dramatic and musical presentations. Dressing rooms had space for 300 persons. When the stage was erected and the hall arranged for an operatic or dramatic performance, the seating capacity was reduced. The absence of posts left an unobstructed view of the stage.

Adelina Patti sang to an audience which completely filled the building and Paderewski played to his largest audience. Mme. Pavlova, Russian ballerina, and her large troupe of dancers, performed in the '20s. The Lindsborg, Kan., choral group singing the Messiah by Handel packed the hall. The list of celebrities is long and impressive.

Two national political parties chose the hall for conventions to nominate presidential candidates--the Democrats in 1900 when William Jennings Bryan was chosen and the Republicans in 1928 when Herbert Hoover was selected. The hall was built--in 90 days--to meet the deadline for the former, which had been scheduled in the hall that burned.

The great society and public balls of the annual Priests of Pallas fall festival were held at the hall.

In the flood of 1903, when the hall was opened as a place of refuge for those driven from their homes by rising waters, 1,500 people were temporarily fed and quartered there. All that summer, household goods and clothing were distributed by relief committees, using the hall as headquarters.

The cost of the building, including furnishings, was $500,000. The hall was razed when the Municipal Auditorium, one block south at 13th and Wyandotte, was completed in 1935. Convention Hall's site is now the Auditorium Plaza Garage.

Kansas City Times
January 12, 1974

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray's Postcard Collection (SC58)
http://www.kclibrary.org/localhistory/collections.cfm?collID=18
LocationSC58
Local SubjectBuildings
Convention Hall (second)
Digital FormatJPEG
Barcode20000280; 20000282
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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