Posts Tagged ‘MO’

Second Kansas City, MO Courthouse

1892 Courthouse, Kansas City, MO

Queen Anne or second empire Victorian mansions have sooo much character in their architectural features; from grand staircases, stained glass, and turrets, to pocket doors.  The woodwork in some is incredible (not to mention no longer found in today’s homes).  The above postcard of the second Kansas City, MO courthouse (razed in 1936) isn’t a Victorian mansion, but does have a lot of character too.

Unattractive Courthouse

Kansas City’s second courthouse had symmetrical and rounded windows, cresting, turrets, and was made of native stone.  It was located at 5th and Oak Streets, and cost $200,000 in 1892.  Some people were dissatisfied with it, and demanded a more attractive and accessible building.  I don’t know why they found it unattractive.  The aforementioned features were found in many Victorian homes of the times.  Did they find their own homes unattractive?

Inaccessible Courthouse

I also wonder why they considered it inaccessible.  It can’t have been the location.  The third courthouse was built just down the street.   Maybe they considered the stairs a problem?  I don’t know why as the stairs don’t look as steep as stairs in Victorian houses.

Courthouse Razed

We may never know the whole story regarding why people were dissatisfied with their courthouse.  What we do know is the second courthouse was razed and salvaged after 43 years of use as part of Judge Harry S. Truman’s  “10 Year Plan”, starting in 1930, to transform Jackson County and Kansas City’s skyline.

Ephemera Trivia: President Harry S. Truman was elected judge of Jackson County, MO in 1926.  He therefore worked in Kansas City’s second courthouse.

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Vintage Postcard of Union Station, St. Joseph, MO published by St. Joseph Calendar and Novelty Co.

I’ve always found it fascinating to find out what famous person visited or slept at a place I’ve visited; kind of a twice removed celebrity status type thing.  In this case, the place is Missouri.  I was driving a brand new K car my Dad bought there for Mom, back to Wisconsin.  I’d just gotten my driver’s license, so it was a big deal for me.   Mom followed in the old car.

Union Station, St. Joseph, MO

The pictured old vintage postcard is of the Union Station in St. Joseph, MO.  The first railroad station (depot) there was built-in 1882, which boasted a hotel on the 2nd floor and horse-drawn taxis (courtesy of the hotel) in front.  It was considered a local attraction.  Sadly, the first railroad union station burned in 1895.

Who Slept Here?

The second depot, built-in 1896, was just as grand.  It boasted a dining room, a barbershop and a shoe shine parlor within it’s high arched ceilings, but no hotel.

Where did visiting celebrities and politicians sleep?  I don’t know about Buffalo Bill Cody (who visited once), but former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis slept in a private car there.

Presidential Trivia

Presidents William Howard Taft, Dwight Eisenhower and Woodrow Wilson also visited the second St. Joseph, MO railroad station.  President Woodrow Wilson’s visited in 1919, a couple months before suffering a stroke that made him an invalid for the rest of his life.

The second Union Station in St. Joseph, MO was demolished in 1960, victim of the increasing popularity of automobile travel.

Be sure to stop by The Best Hearts Are Crunchy for Postcard Friendship Friday.

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Ever wonder what became of the buildings on old vintage postcards?  Are you curious to know if they still stand?  In my previous blog post, I showed two historic buildings in Natchez, MO – The Briers and Arlington .  I continue my series of blog posts on “then and now” old buildings pictured on vintage postcards with the below hotels.

The Elms Hotel, Excelsior Springs, MO Then …..



1948 Linen Postcard


The Elms Hotel Now …..


The Elms Hotel was originally built in 1888, rebuilt in 1909 after a fire, and rebuilt again in 1912 after yet another fire.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic places.  Why?  One reason was due to a notoriously famous guest that stayed there during prohibition – Al Capone.  Another was because President  Harry S. Truman holed up there during his re-relection bid when it looked like he was loosing.  Wrong.  Aides entered his Elms Hotel room and informed Truman he had actually won the presidential election.  Wow.  There are of course other historical reason for The Elms Hotel being on the national register.  If you’d like to read a more comprehensive history of this hotel, visit  Legends of America, Missouri – Elms Hotel .

The Durant Hotel, Fling, MI Then …..

Durant Hotel Linen Postcard

1940 Linen Postcard

The Durant Hotel Now …..

Durant Hotel Now

The Durant Hotel was built in 1920, and named after William Durant, founder of General Motors.  It’s been vacant since 1973, but plans were announced in 2008 to turn it into a 93 unit apartment building.

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For more US State town view postcards, please visit Remember When Vintage Postcards – Bonanzle.

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