Founded by Dr. David Waldo, a leading figure on the Santa Fe Trail, Kansas City's Waldo neighborhood survived the Civil War and adapted to a changing economic, urban, and political landscape to remain a vibrant and attractive place to live and work.
LaDene Morton, author of The Waldo Story: The Home of Friendly Merchants, examines the neighborhood's history in The Road to Waldo on Wednesday, July 18, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Morton's book charts the 170-year history of the Waldo district in south Kansas City through the perspective of the business and community influences that formed it.
Waldo's story includes the district's founding on the open prairie south of the Town of Kansas, the Civil War, the coming of the railroad, and Waldo's key role in the Kansas City housing boom, when it emerged as a desirable residential area and saw the raising of the Waldo Tower and the Gillis Home.
Following World War II, the Waldo area coped with local and national changes in public policy that put its future in jeopardy. But the ever-adaptable Waldo seemed always to find ways to keep modern, with the formation of a community improvement district bringing some closure to the neighborhood's economic and planning uncertainties.
Even bad news seems to have an upside in Waldo. The remarkable response to the 2007 loss of the Waldo Theatre building to fire resulted in the creation of one of the more unique structures in Kansas City.
Morton is a former researcher and policy analyst at Midwest Research Institute, past vice president of the Applied Urban Research Institute. She runs the consulting firm I/O & Company providingsupport services to small businesses and non-profits. She is the author of The Brookside Story: Shops of Every Necessary Character.
Admission is free.strong>RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.
Major funding for programs at the Kansas City Public Library is provided by a generous grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.