Meet the Past Series Continues with Kansas City Southern Visionary Arthur Stilwell

For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2009
Contact: Steven Woolfolk
Meet the Past Series Continues with Kansas City Southern Visionary Arthur Stilwell

Kansas City Public Library Director Crosby Kemper III interviews Arthur Stilwell, portrayed by Pete Hansen, as part of the Library’s Meet the Past series on Tuesday, June 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.


A dreamer and a visionary whose crowning achievement was the railroad that became the Kansas City Southern, Stilwell arrived in Kansas City in 1886. He found a city much like himself: ambitious, brimming with optimism, and possessed of a sense of destiny.  From all accounts, he had a rare ability to inspire people to believe in him and to share his hopes.  He persuaded a generation of Kansas City business leaders to invest in his visions, and many a fortune was founded on them. 


There was a reason Stilwell believed so devoutly in his dreams: he thought they came from the spirit world.  He made no bones about the fact, either, speaking freely of the “brownies” that whispered in his ear and sent him forth to build empires.


Peter A. Hansen is a nationally-known historian, lecturer, and writer, specializing in the railroad industry and its impact on American life.  He is a correspondent for Trains magazine, and the editor of Railroad History, a scholarly journal.


Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the filming. Call 816.701.3407 to indicate your interest in attending or you may RSVP online. Free parking is available in the Library District Parking Garage located at 10th and Baltimore.



The series will air in a regular prime-time timeslot on KCPT (channel 19) during the 2009-10 season.


Meet the Past features Kemper interviewing prominent historical figures (as portrayed by veteran Chautauqua performers) with Kansas City-area connections.


Major funding for Meet the Past has been provided by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Kansas City Public Library Beta