Paris of the Plains: Kansas City from Doughboys to Expressways

Overview

From the end of the Great War to the final years of the 1950s, Kansas Citians lived in a manner worthy of a place called Paris of the Plains. The title did more than nod to the perfumed ladies who shopped at Harzfeld’s Parisian or the one-thousand-foot television antenna nicknamed the “Eye-full Tower.” It spoke to the character of a town that worked for Boss Tom and danced for Count Basie but transcended both the Pendergast era and the Jazz Age. Author John Simonson introduces readers to a town of vaudeville ...
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PAPERBACK Very Good 1609490622 NOT ex-library. Inscribed by author to "Cal & Sharon Some new memories of old Kansas City" on title page-tight binding, clean text, 125 pages of ... history & b&w photos, pictorial wraps with little to no shelf wear, book is in very nice condition, Purchase of this item will help support the programs and collections of the Johnson County (Kansas) Library. Read more Show Less

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Paris of the Plains: Kansas City from Doughboys to Expressways

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Overview

From the end of the Great War to the final years of the 1950s, Kansas Citians lived in a manner worthy of a place called Paris of the Plains. The title did more than nod to the perfumed ladies who shopped at Harzfeld’s Parisian or the one-thousand-foot television antenna nicknamed the “Eye-full Tower.” It spoke to the character of a town that worked for Boss Tom and danced for Count Basie but transcended both the Pendergast era and the Jazz Age. Author John Simonson introduces readers to a town of vaudeville shows and screened-in porches, where fleets of cream-and-black streetcars passed beneath a canopy of elms. This is a history that smells equally of lilacs and stockyards and bursts with the clamor of gunshots, radio baseball and the distant whistle of a night train.
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Editorial Reviews

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"I was standing in the middle of Highland Avenue last Saturday afternoon, admiring the pink-stucco façade of an old union hall, when I heard the voice of Count Basie. 'I am a union man,' the Count said, speaking across time from late January 1947. 'I will never cross a picket line to play for anyone.'" John Simonson's history of Kansas City jazz reverberates with big band style and lively prose improvisations. Readers of his "Paris of the Plains" column will enjoy its riffs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609490621
  • Publisher: History Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Simonson is an independent writer and editor. His work has appeared in local newspapers, magazines, websites, corporate publications, museum exhibits, jazz recordings and beyond. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Table of Contents

Preface 9

Acknowledgements 11

Introduction 13

1 1910s-1920s

A New Phase of Life 17

Gone West 19

Old Rose and White 21

Blackface and a Blue Chair 23

A Change of Heart 25

A Foggy Day 28

Beauty and the Billboard 30

Tonight at the Orpheum 33

A Free Man Checks In 36

Rudy's Last Layover 39

A Streetcar Named Hope 42

Washed Away 43

Independence Day 46

Here, Out West 48

Snowfall of the Ages 51

2 1930s

The Place Beneath 55

The Edge of Infinity 58

In the Valley of the Missouri 60

The Neighbors' Workday 62

No. 14,327 65

The Music of Love 67

Hard Times at Gateway Loan 69

The President Comes to Town 71

Before the Wind Shifted 73

Directed by DeMille 76

At First, the Last Time 77

3 1940s

What the Fountain Saw 81

Something Dark 83

The Day They Stopped the Presses 84

The God-Box Player 87

Eulogy on Main 90

Standing on the Corner 92

On Vacation, Out of Position 94

A Union Man Speaks Out 97

The Wisconsin "Shangri-La" 99

Fall in Petticoat Lane 102

4 1950s

Christmas 1950 105

The Last Car 108

Once Upon a Time in the Castle 111

The Bull and the Elephant 113

Waiting Near the Robert E. Lee 116

Poised Between Seasons 118

Gritty Elegance 120

Epilogue 123

About the Author 127

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