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.

About Danni 116 Articles
Join me on my genealogical journey where I hope my experiences, discoveries, mistakes, and successes will help you on your journey. We'll throw in some bits of history for a little flavor and that is what makes up Talking Box Genealogy.