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This installment of “What’s Your KCQ” is a story of gambling, gangsters, and geography. Reader William Renegar wanted to know, “Was there once a gambling establishment on Southwest Boulevard on the state line that was part in Kansas and part in Missouri?” There’s a story in his family about a relative, Fred Renegar, who supposedly ran a saloon on the state line before he was killed by the mob over an unsettled debt. His murder was never solved. William Renegar wondered if there was any truth to it. Our findings indicate: Yes, it’s all true.
The excitement at Arrowhead Stadium during the divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts got Tom Solon to wondering how the stadium got its name. “I’ve always thought it was an awesome name for a stadium,” Solon writes to KCQ, a recurring feature in which The Kansas City Star, in partnership with the Kansas City Public Library, answers readers’ questions. Read on for the back story on the naming of the stadium.
UPDATED Question: What happened to all the Christmas decorations that used to be downtown, particularly the crowns strung across the streets with garland?
In our first response to this question, I reported that the Merchants Association began displaying crowns at busy downtown intersections in 1957. Thanks to an observant reader with a special connection to the crowns, I now realize that this date is incorrect. In fact, evidence points to the crowns first being installed in 1962.
Question: What happened to all the Christmas decorations that used to be downtown, particularly the crowns strung across the streets with garland?
A timely question as we enter holiday light season in the Kansas City area. Short of digging through the attic at City Hall, my first thought was to consult Monroe Dodd’s 2001 book Christmastime in Kansas City: The Story of the Season. According to Dodd, the Christmas shopping season was a modest affair in the years before World War I. The economic boom that followed the war changed things, and beginning in 1924, a group of downtown retailers pooled their resources to festoon the streets with garland and other decorations. In 1925 they added a parade to kick off the holiday season.
The KCTV broadcast tower at 31st Street and Grand Avenue once served as a 1,042-foot tall beacon at night, visible for miles around with more than 1,300 white lights tracing its four legs. But the tower has been unlit for more than a decade. Kansas City native Todd Hembree wonders why — and if — the lights will ever return.