Around the Town Thursday: Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building

Happy Friday eve everyone and welcome to another edition of Around the Town Thursday!  Today we’re back to exploring Kansas City and we’re highlighting the Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building.

Front of Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building


Entrance to the Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building

Originally built in 1910, the Livestock Exchange Building was the headquarters of the Kansas City stockyards.  According to the National Register of Historic Places application: “At the turn of the century the stock yards covered 207 acres with accommodations for 70,000 cattle, 40,000 hogs, 45,000 sheep and 5,000 horses and mules daily. By 1871 seven railroads were operating in the stock yards; today there are over ten miles of track inside the yards excluding acres and acres of track to the east and west.”

The stockyards themselves were originally established in 1871 in Kansas City, Kansas along the Kansas River and Missouri Pacific railroad tracks.  According to the Kansas City Kansan newspaper article “How KC became 1 of great stock markets of world”: “In the heyday year of 1923, 2,631,808 cattle were received at the Kansas City yards.”  The stockyards originally contained five acres and by 1883 another 125 acres had been added.  While there were earlier buildings erected on the grounds of the stockyards, the brick building that currently stands is considered the highlight of the period from 1871 to 1909.

Currently (after a thirteen million dollar renovation in 1991) the building serves as an office building, containing everything from restaurant facilities to a post office to a health club.  While not ornate in decor the building has beautiful original oak woodwork and a simple, yet beautiful Grecian key floor border.

This important piece of Kansas City history has withstood time, floods and the closing of the Livestock Exchange.  It’s now a part of the National Register of Historic Places, which will provide the opportunity for future generations to actually see this beautiful building.

Around the Town Thursday: Twelfth Street Viaduct Bridge

Welcome to another Around the Town Thursday!  Now I know what you’re thinking: “A bridge??  You’re writing about a bridge??”  But this isn’t just any bridge.  Today I’m highlighting the Twelfth Street Viaduct Bridge in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Missouri.

Mid-level of the Twelfth Street Viaduct Bridge

Native Kansas Citians will recognize this bridge as being down near all the popular haunted houses and the American Royal.  But the bridge has a very interesting history.  Created to be a link between the business district and the industrial district of Kansas City, Missouri, the Viaduct was created by the great minds at Waddell and Harrington (a Kansas City architecture firm) in 1915.  It is one of the earliest examples of a double-decked, reinforced concrete bridge.  The upper level goes from the Central Business District to the West Bottoms.  The lower level goes into Westside, which contains a variety of restaurants and shops.  And below the bridge…well below the bridge are the original cobblestone street farmers would travel back in the day when the bridge was still young.

View from the lower level of the Twelfth Street Viaduct Bridge
Kansas City, Missouri

Architectural & Historic Research, LLC has a fantastic piece on their website titled “An Historical Perspective of Kansas City’s Twelfth Street Trafficway Viaduct 1911-1915” (written by Cyndy Millstein) that contains a ton of great information about the history of the Viaduct and the architects that built it.  There’s also a brief history of the bridge on the Historic West Bottoms website.

A very interesting piece of information I discovered during the researching of this post: you can rent the bridge for events.  Weddings, parties, and other events can be held (for a price) either on the lower level or below the bridge on the cobblestone street.  How fun!  I’m not sure how I missed THAT venue for my wedding in June but D1 definitely had a bit of venue envy when I told him the bridge could be rented for events.  You can find rental information for the bridge here.

And just because I can, I’m going to throw a little spotlight my dear husband’s way.  In 1997, the music group U2 did a music video here in Kansas City for their song “Last Night on Earth”.  The video producers were looking for some old, run down cars for the video and D1 was (and still is) the proud owner of a 1972 Chevy Chevelle.  Said Chevelle ended up in that video as an “extra” (the music video can be viewed on Dailymotion).  At 2:33 if you look past the open truck door to the next car bumper, that bumper belongs to D1’s Chevelle. And then again at 2:40 if you look through the rear view window of the car being driven down the bridge you can see some round taillights of a car.  Those taillights belong to D1’s Chevelle as well.  It’s a memory D1 smiles about each time he tells the story.

It was fun to take a drive down the bridge for pictures for this post.  If you’re planning to go see the bridge I would strongly suggest going on a Sunday evening, around 4:00pm or so because there’s hardly any traffic at all.