On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered one of the most significant speeches of the 20th century on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The famous “Sinews of Peace” speech, with its reference to Europe’s “iron curtain,” is still remembered 65 years later. But the trip proved costly for the former British prime minister – on the eve of his speech, Churchill nearly lost his shirt to President Harry S. Truman in a poker game.
In the years before the Civil War, Kansas was a battleground. As Free State forces clashed with pro-slavery marauders from Missouri, a 40-something mother of four from Vermont waged a war of her own. As “Bleeding Kansas” raged around her, Clarina Howard Nichols came into her own as a champion of equal rights for women and blacks.
As winter storm season arrives in Kansas City, we can take a look at winters past to see how the blizzards of today compare with the legendary snowstorms of yesteryear. Photographs and newspapers on microfilm in the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Central Library tell stories of a city blanketed by snow and ice, trains slowed to a halt, and the cold weather taking its toll on the nerves and bodies of Kansas Citians.
In 1997, 84-year-old former freewheeling photographer Jack Wally told the Kansas City Star what it was like shooting for the scrappy, provocative Kansas City Journal-Post in the 1930s: “In those days, you had to decide whether you wanted the prestige of The Star or the fun of working for the Journal.”
Kansas City has its fair share of spooky lore and urban legends, many of which are associated with beloved historic buildings. These images and tales from the Missouri Valley Special Collections touch on a few of the more renowned hauntings in the Kansas City area. Whether fact or fantasy, these stories reflect the unique histories of the Kansas City buildings and personalities they involve.