(Kansas City, Missouri) - One of the grandest experiments of American urban planning, the Country Club District, lies tucked in the heart of Kansas City. Initiated in 1905, it eventually spilled over 6,000 acres and attracted national attention to a city still forging its identity.
Author LaDene Morton takes a fresh look at this longtime source of civic pride in a discussion of her new book The Country Club District of Kansas City on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.
The Country Club District was not the first of what sometimes were called "garden suburban communities. A few came before it, most notably Roland in Baltimore. Beverly Hills, California, became more famous.
But during its peak years of development, from 1920-40, no urban planning project in the country received more recognition and praise than the Country Club District. And none of the others - Roland Park, Beverly Hills, Cleveland's Shaker Heights, Houston's River Oaks, or New York's Forest Hills - was built on such a grand scale.
Morton examines a project that required a half-century of careful development to fully fulfill the vision of founder J.C. Nichols and set national standards for residential and commercial development during the first half of the 20th century. Home today to many of the city's most exclusive residential areas and commercial properties, the district's boundaries still are unmarked - there are gateways and city limits signs indicating the names of the communities within its acreage, but nothing that marks the name of this historical district.
It is there nonetheless. And only now is the entirety of its story being told.
Morton, who runs consulting firm I/O & Company, is a former researcher and policy analyst at Midwest Research Institute and past vice president of the Applied Urban Research Institute. She also is the author of The Waldo Story: The Home of Friendly Merchants, The Brookside Story: Shops of Every Necessary Character, and What Lies West: A Novel of the American Frontier.
Admission to the event is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.