CLOSE
Original image
iStock

25 Things You Should Know About Kansas City

Original image
iStock

There's more to the City of Fountains than just barbecue. (Although the barbecue is legendary.) Study up before your next visit to the midwestern metropolis of 467,000.

1. Kansas City spans two states: Missouri and Kansas. The international airport, baseball stadium and football stadium are all on the Missouri side. The professional soccer team and the NASCAR race track are found on the Kansas side.

2. And you can be in both states at the same time if you stand on State Line Road, which runs north-south along the border of Missouri and Kansas.

3. However, the two states have not always been on friendly terms. During the Civil War, violence erupted across Kansas between abolitionists and fighters from slave state Missouri over whether or not Kansas would allow slavery. The state during this time became known as “Bleeding Kansas.”

 

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain


4.
Much of the city’s early economy was based on the Kansas City Stock Yards, which traded cattle, hogs, sheep, horses and mules.

5. In 1899, breeders established the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show, which, at the time, was the only livestock show in the country. The event is still held annually in the city.

 


6.
Speaking of cows, Kansas City is home to some great barbecue. In 1908, Henry Perry started his stand of smoked meats that catered to workers in the Garment District. He shared his secrets with Charlie Bryant, whose brother, Arthur, took over the eponymous restaurant after Charlie’s death.

7. A more recent addition, Joe’s Kansas City, was voted the best southern barbecue in the country by readers of USA Today.

8. The city is home to 200 fountains and claims that only Rome has more. Early architects of the city are said to have wanted to create an urban landscape with “more boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome.

 

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain


9.
Notorious outlaw of the late 1800s Jesse James was born north of Kansas City and began his criminal career robbing banks, stagecoaches, and trains in the area. James and his gang once raided the Kansas City Fairgrounds.

10. In the early 20th century, the city was controlled by political boss Tom Pendergast who ran the local Democratic Party. Pendergast directed the flow of illegal alcohol during Prohibition and rigged elections to keep his friends in power, including hand-picking Harry S. Truman as the next U.S. senator from Missouri.

11. Jazz lives at 18th and Vine. The area around the intersection became popular during the 1920s for its music and nightlife.

 

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain


12.
Speaking of great jazz, Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City in 1920.

13. The area is also home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a privately-funded museum filled with memorabilia and exhibits about African-American baseball in the U.S. The roster of the Kansas City Monarchs, the Negro league's team in the city, boasted legendary players such as Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neil, and Jackie Robinson.

14. If you’re looking to go shopping in Kansas City, the place to visit is the Country Club Plaza. The fifteen-block area is filled with shops, restaurants, and a movie theater. During the Christmas season, the buildings are lined with Christmas lights that turn on at sundown every evening.

15. Walt Disney’s family moved to Kansas City when he was nine years old. While in elementary school, Disney took drawing classes on the weekend at the Kansas City Art Institute.

16. Union Station in Kansas City opened in 1914, and during WWII, an estimated one million travelers passed through the station. It was closed in the 1980s, but was renovated and reopened in 1999.

 

iStock


17.
Across from Union Station sits the Liberty Memorial, home to the only World War I museum in the United States.

18. Boulevard Brewery on Southwest Boulevard is the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.

19. As part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area, the Power and Light District, a shopping and entertainment neighborhood, was opened in 2008. Eight blocks of the area are exempt from the city’s open container laws.

20. GPS company Garmin and mobile phone provider Sprint both call the Kansas City metropolitan area home.

21. In 1998, Sprint built a massive 200-acre headquarters campus in Overland Park, Kan. At the time, it was the largest corporate headquarters in the Midwest.

22. In 2011, it was announced that Kansas City would be the first city in the country to receive Google Fiber, the company’s broadband internet service that boasts speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

23. Sporting KC, the area’s professional soccer team, was one of the founding members of the MLS (under the name the Kansas City Wiz). The team has won the MLS Cup twice. 

24. The Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL team, has only won the Super Bowl once, but that didn’t keep fans of the team from breaking the world record for loudest NFL stadium by creating 142.2 decibels of noise at a game in September 2014.

25. The number one rival of the Kansas City Royals baseball team is the cross-state St. Louis Cardinals. The team not only made the World Series finals for the first time in 29 years in 2014, but singer Lorde is said to have been inspired to write her single “Royals” after seeing a photo of the team’s former third baseman George Brett

 

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

 

Original image
iStock
arrow
politics
Why America Has So Many Empty Parking Spaces
Original image
iStock

When you’re driving around looking for a spot to park on tight downtown streets, you’re probably not cursing city planners for mandating too much parking space. (You’re probably thinking the opposite.) But while some areas, depending on the time of day, are inundated with more cars than spaces, for the most part Americans lead lives of parking privilege, surrounded by empty spaces they don’t need to use. By one estimate, there are eight parking spots for every car in the U.S. (Others say it's more like three, which is still a lot considering that number doesn't take into account home parking.)

Why does the U.S. have so much extra parking? A new video explainer from Vox (spotted by Arch Daily) has the answer. It’s because laws mandate it.

In the video, Will Chilton and Paul Mackie of the transportation research initiative Mobility Lab explain the rise of the parking meter, which was invented in the 1930s, and the regulations that soon followed, called mandatory parking minimums. These city laws require that those building an apartment complex or shopping center or store have to provide a minimum number of spaces in off-street parking for customers to use. The cost of providing this service is carried by building developers—giving the city a free way to get new parking without having to manage their street parking situation closely. Go to any suburb in America, and the parking lots you leave your car in are probably the result of these parking minimum rules.

The ease of parking in America isn’t a good thing—though it may feel like it when you slide into an open spot right in front of the grocery store. Experts have been calling for an end to zoning laws like these for years, arguing that excess parking encourages unnecessary driving (why take the bus or carpool if it’s easy to drive yourself and park for free?) while simultaneously making it harder to walk around a city, since parking takes up a ton of land that’s difficult to traverse on foot, interrupting the urban fabric.

These parking minimum regulations take very specific forms by building type, including number of spaces required per hole at a golf course, per gallons of water in a public pool, and per beds in a nursing home. Before you cheer for free, plentiful parking, let the experts at Vox explain just why this is a problem for cities:

[h/t Arch Daily]

Original image
David McNew/Getty Images
arrow
environment
Teen Inspires Law Requiring Solar Panels on New South Miami Houses
Original image
David McNew/Getty Images

In South Miami, Florida, all new houses built after September 2017 will need to to come equipped with rooftop solar panels, thanks to a local teenager. As Inhabitat spotted from the Miami Herald, the recently passed city measure was originally the brainchild of Delaney Reynolds, a teenager who began writing mayors in her area about the idea in early 2016.

After seeing that a similar city ordinance had passed in San Francisco, the then 16-year-old Reynolds wrote to South Miami mayor Philip Stoddard proposing that he craft legislation requiring solar panels in new construction. In response, he asked her to help write the law with him.

The newly passed legislation requires that all new home construction or large-scale home renovations include solar panels. All houses must have either 175 square feet of solar panels per 1000 square feet of sunlit roof area, or at least enough to produce 2.75 kilowatts per 1000 square feet of living space. The solar power requirement also applies to renovations that replace or extend the structure by 75 percent. South Miami is the first city in Florida to pass this kind of mandate.

In Florida, the average solar panel system costs between $10,000 and $15,000 for a 6-kilowatt system, including the federal tax deduction, though those costs vary based on the area (states have their own tax deductions and credits for solar installation) and the type of system. But several years down the line, the investment should start paying off in the form of huge energy savings. In a sunny area like Los Angeles, for instance, homeowners are estimated to save around $90,000 over 20 years, according to the solar marketplace EnergySage.

Reynolds plans to continue to work toward making life in South Florida more sustainable in the face of climate change through her environmental nonprofit Sink or Swim, which is devoted to working against sea level rise.

[h/t Inhabitat]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios