Storied & Scandalous Kansas City: A History of Corruption, Mischief and a Whole Lot of Booze
As Kansas City grew in the 19th century, so did the business of sin. Noting the pervasiveness of vice and debauchery, a visitor in 1888 described it as “the best town this side of Hell.”
In a discussion of her new book Storied & Scandalous Kansas City, author Karla Deel examines that early culture of iniquity—from red-light districts to burlesque houses, jazz joints, and saloons. She recalls the madams, entertainers, and mobsters who brought the party to the Plains in the 1920s and ’30s; identifies the city’s most notorious establishments; and makes note of Boss Tom Pendergast’s prominent hand in it all.
Deel is the founder and editor of SqueezeBox City, an online magazine dedicated to the history and culture of Kansas City.