This Week in Kansas City History

All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, April 20, in observance of the Easter holiday.

Cool Operator

Elmer F. Pierson

August 27, 1896:Elmer F. Pierson, who, with brother John, will found the Vendo company, market the first reliable Coca-Cola vending machines, and dominate the vending machine industry, is born in Kansas City.


Heat Wave

Salvation Army Penny Ice truck at 1319 Broadway

August 14, 1936: Kansas City records its highest temperature ever, 113 degrees Fahrenheit, causing a summer heat wave that sends area residents to Swope or Penn Valley parks to sleep at night in order to cool off.


Burnt End

Interior view of the Exposition Building, also known as the Crystal Palace

August 5, 1901: A suspicious fire destroys Kansas City’s Crystal Palace, once a prime tourist attraction, only five days before its scheduled demolition.


The Multiplex is Born

Stanley H. Durwood

July 12, 1963: Stanley H. Durwood, chief executive of Durwood Theaters (later American Multi-Cinema and then AMC Entertainment), builds the country's first multiplex movie theater in the Ward Parkway shopping center.


Bridge to the Future

Hannibal Bridge, looking northeast from the south side of the Missouri River.

July 3, 1869: Forty thousand people gather along the banks of the Missouri to celebrate the opening of the quarter mile long Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute, which makes Kansas City a commercial hub for the railroads that are rapidly expanding to the west.