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Kansas City Club
Kansas City Club
TitleKansas City Club
DescriptionPostcard of the Kansas City Club Building at 13th and Baltimore
Historical ArticleGentlemen who lived on old Quality Hill were sometimes scolded by their wives for smoking cigars in their homes. So a small group decided to rent a room at the Coates House, about a block away, so they could be at peace while they enjoyed their after-dinner cigars.

As the gathering place became more popular, the group expanded, and in November, 1882, rented club headquarters in a converted storebuilding at the corner of 11th and Broadway. This was the beginning of the Kansas City Club.

There were 42 charter members, among them the Coateses, Askews, Armours, Bullenes, Fosters and other representatives of old Kansas City families. Col. A. A. Tomlinson was the first president. In the beginning it was determined that political discussions should never be allowed to dominate the club life.

Lavish parties and dances were given in the old Casino Hall, directly across the street from the club. An awning would be swung across the street from the club to the hall for protection of the guests from the weather. Sometimes as many as 800 guests attended the annual grand ball that was the event of the year on Quality Hill.

The membership grew rapidly and by 1885 more commodious quarters were needed. A site at the northeast corner of 12th and Wyandotte was purchased for $42,000 and a 5-story building costing $70,000 was completed and occupied in 1887.

The old University Club, whose home was at 10th and Bluff, was absorbed by the Kansas City Club in 1892, adding 100 new members to the roster. (In 1900 the Kansas City Club was headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the time of the national convention in Kansas City.)

Shown on the old past card is the third and final home of the Kansas City Club, the 2 1/2 million-dollar building at 13th and Baltimore. Work on the 14-story steel frame of the structure was begun in April, 1919. Construction had been interrupted by World War I's restrictions on building.

The big cream terra cotta building is of English Tudor Gothic design. The architects were Smith, Rea and Lovitt. The deep excavation for foundations was blasted through solid rock.

A lengthy news story in The Star of Dec. 11, 1921, carried descriptions of the interior's handsome Gothic carved wood paneling and of damask draperies, lighting fixtures, oriental floor coverings, furniture and art objects, all selected by decorators of national reputation. These experts also selected china, glass and silver for the dining rooms. The story in the Star continued:

The main dining room seats 600 guests for banquets. There are also private dining rooms, billiard rooms, card rooms and grill, a tile swimming pool, 2-story gymnasium, handball courts, Turkish baths, mens' and womens' lockers and physical directors' rooms. Then six full floors of bedrooms and living rooms for resident and non-resident members or their guests.

Atop it all is the 14th-floor closed roof garden surrounded by an open air roof garden. From this roof a fascinating view of both Kansas Citys, the Missouri and Kaw rivers and the large undulating areas of Jackson, Clay and Johnson counties may be had.

The new Kansas City Club, as it was called at the time, formally opened with a dinner dance May 19, 1922. Fifteen hundred guests attended. P. G. Walton was president at that time.

Kansas City Times
April 20, 1974
AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectClubs
Kansas City Club Building
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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