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									               READIN’ ‘ROUND KANSAS CITY—A Literary Ramble
- Opening—

Hackett shook his head, turning to face the rivers that joined at the flood plain below—Kansas
City, Kansas, to the west; Kansas City, Missouri, to the east.

See the inset map—

#1       WOE TO LIVE ON, Daniel Woodrell
It was in the same terrible month of July that the Federals arrested Black John’s sisters. They
were imprisoned in the upstairs of a liquor supply house at Kansas City. (Possibly the Hofman
Wholesale Liquor Supply at 319 W. 5th, “largest in the Missouri Valley since 1857”) FICTION

The Star building occupied the northeast corner of Eleventh and Grand Avenue directly across
the street east from Bullene, Moore, Emery & Co., the leading Kansas City department store.
(11th and Grand Ave.) FICTION

#3      REVOLT IN 2100, Robert Heinlein
But I went on over to the New Muehlebach by tube as casually as I could manage. (On site of
“old” Muehlebach at 12th and Baltimore?) SCIENCE FICTION

#4       EUREKA, Jim Lehrer
Sally and Otis had had only one real conversation about her stage career that never was. They
were driving alone together on the interstate back to Eureka from Kansas City, after seeing Inge’s
“The Dark at the Top of the Stairs”, which had originally starred Pat Hingle and Teresa Wright, at
the Lyric Theatre.”(1029 Central) FICTION

#5 A & B SECRETS OF THE TSIL CAFÉ, Thomas Fox Averill
 “…answering questions about Kansas City restaurants where your father’s parents had been told
to eat—the Golden Ox and the Savoy Grill. But there was no thanks giving or thanks getting.”
(1600 Genesee, A, and 219 W. 9th, B ) FICTION

#6     THE HELLBOX CHRONICLES, David Huckett
McCoy relished more tea before continuing. “Berenice usually spoke her mind in the
community…helped build St. Francis Regis Church that became Immaculate Conception Catholic
up on Broadway.” (416 W. 12th ) FICTION

#7        LAST CATTLE DRIVE, Robert Day
We were high up on the bridge. I could see the stockyards ahead and to the right. Further up in
the city I could see the statue of the golden steer that rose on a pillar a couple hundred feet
above the Cattlemen’s Association Building. The sun shot off its flanks. ( former American
Hereford Association headquarters, 715 Kirk) FICTION

#8      SWEET AND LOWDOWN, Lise McClendon,
Now what sort of pie could you get in North Kansas City that you couldn’t get here? The Hannibal
Bridge took them high over the Missouri River. (Hannibal/Broadway Bridge) MYSTERY

#9      DEADLOCKED, Goldman, Joel
When he couldn’t stand being cooped up any longer, he walked two blocks from his house and
caught a bus that took him all the way downtown and into the River Market area along the
Missouri River. He’d wander around the shops, grab lunch, sometimes taking a walk through the
River Front Park, catching a southbound bus back home, getting off if something else struck his
fancy along the way. (Berkley Riverfront Park) MYSTERY
#10      AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, Theodore Dreiser
It consisted in its entirety of one long store floor in an old and decidedly colorless and inartistic
wooden building which was situated in that part of Kansas City which lies north of Independence
Boulevard and west of Troost Avenue, the exact street or place being called Bickel … FICTION

#11     BLUE MONDAY, Harper Barnes
One January night in 1936, when John Hammond was in Chicago to produce records with Benny
Goodman and Gene Krupa and Meade Lux Lewis, he turned on his car radio and heard Count
Basie broadcasting from the Reno Club. (12th and Cherry) FICTION

#12     “KANSAS CITY”, words Mike Stoller, music Jerry Leiber.
I’m gonna be standing on the corner
On the corner of Twelfth Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine

#13     AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY, Theodore Dreiser
His mind was not on what he was doing, and several times his superior at the drug-store had to
remind him to “wake-up.” And after hours, instead of going directly home, he walked north to the
corner of 14th and Baltimore, where stood this great hotel, and looked at it. FICTION

#14    “Bryant’s: Thick, Fresh, Deep” from, I GOT DA EVER LOVIN’ KC BLUES, Larry
….more/ Bryant’s roast beef on white, the assembly line of stomach aches/ fashioned by miracle
workers /primed by minimum wage, with/all the drippy barbecue sauce/you can stuff in/
mouths so anxious/to slurp. (1727 Brooklyn) 818.6 Rochelle

#15      BLUE MONDAY, Harper Barnes
Centennial M.E. was the silk-stocking church of Negro Kansas City, an institution of deeply
polished woods, high chandeliers of crystal and gold and a pervading sense of bourgeois
rectitude. (1834 Woodland Ave.) FICTION

#16     SUCH SWEET THUNDER, Vincent O. Carter
“Didn’ your daddy tell you just now? We’re goin’ to the Thanksgivin’ dance.” “How far is it?”
“Eighteenth an’ Vine.” FICTION

#17       BLUE MONDAY, Harper Barnes
“Bennie Moten, 38 years old, 2125 Prospect Avenue, widely known Negro orchestra leader, died
today at Wheatley-Provident Hospital of a heart attack during an operation for removal of his
tonsils.” (Kansas City’s African American Hospital, 1826 Forest) FICTION

#18     “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen”, COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF ERNEST
In those days the distances were all very different, the dirt blew off the hills that now have been
cut down, and Kansas City was very like Constantinople…I was walking from the Woolf Brothers’
saloon …, toward the city hospital which was on a high hill that overlooked the smoke, the
buildings and the streets of the town. (Hospital Hill area, 22nd, and Oak) FICTION

#19      FLYING CROWS, Jim Lehrer
As a kid, Randy’s idea of heaven was to go to Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays to watch
the trains and have a root beer float at the Harvey House soda fountain. ( 30 W Pershing Rd)

#20     AFTER THE DANCING DAYS by Margaret Rostkowski
“’Plans for the War Memorial Proceed,’” she read. “’The Reverend Dr. Bingham of Valley
Presbyterian Church and Father Moncrief of St. Mary’s Catholic Church announced today that
five thousand dollars has been raised for the memorial to those who died in the Great War and
that the drawing of the memorial has been completed…’” (WWI Liberty Memorial, Pershing

#21     THE GHOST DANCERS, G.P. Schultz
In March of 1940 Boss Tom had been released from prison. He was forbidden by the courts to
use his political office at 1908 Main. Ann Callahan had followed him to his business office at the
Ready Mix Concrete Company. (908 W. 25th St.) FICTION

The World Series of Barbeque was going to be held in the same place the famous American
Royal Barbeque Contest was held, the West Bottoms. MYSTERY

#23      GULLY TOWN, G.P. Schultz
Memorial Day, 1903. The Kaw River, flowing out of Kansas, had been on the rise for three days.
It met the already swollen Missouri River at Kansas City. Out of control, the two rivers left their
banks and flooded into the West Bottoms. FICTION

#24 THE TRAGIC FLAW, Che Parker
For years, like many American cities, Kansas City’s design was that of segregation. Certain
streets were and still are well known as racial barriers. Twelfth Street to the north, Twenty-
Seventh Street to the south. Indiana to the east, and The Paseo to the west. Crossing them
could mean jail time, beatings, or filed missing persons reports. FICTION

#25       “Flag Day at Union Cemetery”, Gloria Vando, from KANSAS CITY VOICES: A
periodical of KC writing and art, November 2004.
…and each spun form/ would freeze at a command, / breath and laughter chiseled/
into pillars, like the headstones here— (28th and Warwick Boulevard) 809.89778 Kansas 2004

#26     IN COLD BLOOD, Truman Capote
Approximately four hundred miles east of where Arthur Clutter then stood, two young men were
sharing a booth in the Eagle Buffet, a Kansas City diner. (3015 Main) 364.152

#27       DEADLOCKED, Joel Goldman
Linwood Boulevard is an east-west commercial artery that would have been called Thirty-third
Street if the city hadn’t named it after Mr. Linwood. Main Street runs north and south from the
Missouri River through midtown, an entrepreneurial stretch that dwindles into a residential track
south of the County Club Plaza. MYSTERY

#28      TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE, Robert Heinlein
Mr. Theodore Bronson ne Woodrow Wilson Smith aka Lazarus Long, left his apartment on
Armour Boulevard and drove his car, a Ford landaulet, to a corner on Thirty-first Street, where he
parked it in a shed behind a pawnshop—as he took a dim view of leaving an automobile on the
street at night. SCIENCE FICTION

See the large area map—

#29     SECRETS OF THE TSIL CAFÉ, Thomas Fox Averill,
The Tsil Café was located in a two-story brick building on 39th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

#30     THE LAST WITNESS, Joel Goldman
“I met Harry for the first time at the Nelson Art Gallery. He was sitting on a bench in the Chinese
Temple in front of the statue of the Water and Moon Bodhisattva…” MYSTERY

#31      RATTLEBONE, Maxine Clair
I relinquished my crackerjack seat and gave up my friendship with Jewel, so when we made our
annual school jaunt to the Nelson Gallery of Art in three church buses with room mothers and
teachers keeping a lid on our bubbling enthusiasm, I must have been ripe for the new taking-over
of my mind. (4525 Oak St.) FICTION

#32      WIND OF MANY COLORS, John H. Brown
Every week Maud rode her spirited mare four miles out on State Line Road south to Westport, to
where Alexander Majors was building his fine new home. Majors was the operating genius
behind the enormous transportation company that controlled the freight traffic on the Santa Fe

#33    RATTLEBONE, Maxine Clair
The Saturday-morning-only milkman who brought the new, homogenized bottles from
Armourdale… FICTION

#34      ONE O’CLOCK JUMP, Lise McClendon
They were now off the bridge, into North Kansas City, and caught in a stream of traffic heading
for the Pendergast track. (Fairfax Bridge to Riverside) MYSTERY

#35      ARE YOU AFRAID? Carla Cassidy
He focused his gaze across the room at some indefinable point, his shoulders rigidly straight as
he leaned forward on the chair in a position conducive to a quick escape. “I went and saw you
last week at that seminar you gave at Maple Woods,” he said. (Maple Woods Community
College, 2601 NE Barry Rd) FICTION

#36       FORGIVING SOLOMON LONG, Chris Well
Clutching a flyer hailing Kansas City as the ‘city of fountains’ and a set of directions printed off the
Internet, he took I-29 South/US 71 South—he wondered what the locals called it—a few exits
later, found himself on Chouteau Trafficway, exit #9. Sitting at 3815 N. Chouteau Trfy, Kansas
City, was the ‘Children’s Fountain’, erected 1995, one of several city fountains located north of
the Missouri River. FICTION

#37     BEAUFORT SISTERS, Jon Cleary
Even Harry Truman was at pains to say he came from Independence, though cynics said that
was only a play on words to show he was not Tom Pendergast’s man. Anyone passing through
the two places wasn’t sure where Kansas City ended and Independence began. FICTION

#38     THE CORNBREAD KILLER, Lou Jane Temple
…One of her little tricks was to bring new clients to Lincoln Cemetery. There, she would lead
them to Charlie Parker’s grave and they would ooh and aah and say how cool it was, almost as
cool as Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris. (8604 East Truman Rd.) MYSTERY

#39     THE PERFECT FAMILY, Carla Cassidy
“…He got up from his chair at the dining room table and padded into the kitchen, where two more
cops sat at the table drinking coffee and talking in low voices about the Kansas City Royals
baseball team.” (1 Royal Way, KCMo—I-70 and Blue Ridge Cutoff) FICTION

#40      SECRETS OF THE TSIL CAFÉ, Thomas Fox Averill
But I haven’t described my birth. “One July morning,” my father told me, “just as the sun rose
pink in the eastern sky, Weston Tito Hingler was born at Saint Luke’s Hospital.” ( 4401 Wornall )

#41     FULLER MAN, Diane Glancy
Hertess and I drove her Peugeot into the University of Kansas City campus where a woman long
ago rode a mule to the mill in the thaw of mud roads. (2400 Holmes) FICTION
Before long they pulled up in front of a large reddish-brown building with a big round window in
the front. Thomas thought he saw some huge eyes behind the glass, but he couldn’t be sure. A
lady name Jo came out to their bus to tell them about the Toy and Miniature Museum. (5235

#43      “Sitting in Churchill’s Lap”, I GOT DA EVER LOVIN’ KC BLUES, Larry Rochelle.
Late afternoon the sun followed the tree/ line down Brush Creek, and Churchill’s shadow crossed/
the street, his big head tired and leaning,/the famous jowls pugnacious while/
the child climbed onto his lap, begging him for a story: such was/the languor of the day/
and the hush before the storm. (Wornall Bridge across Brush Creek) 818.6 Rochelle

#44          ONCE UPON AGAIN, David Lewis
“Ice skating?”
“Why not?”
“I haven’t skated in years!”
“How long has it been since you rode a bicycle?”
“I don’t know where a rink is.”
“The Carriage Club’s rink is still open. You’re a member.”
“I don’t have any skates.”
“Rent some.”
“I’ll fall.”
“Imagine that. Would you be the first then?”
“No,” she grinned.
(Carriage Club skate lodge, 5301 State Line Rd., KCMo.) FICTION

#45     SEVENTREES, Janice Young Brooks, (with a special thanks by the author to JCL’s
Jerry Roy)
The Indian mission consisted of three main buildings, stately two-story brick structures that
seemed to defy the fact that they were in the wilderness ( Shawnee Mission Indian Mission, 53rd
and Mission Rd.) FICTION

#46     THE KING OF KINGS COUNTY, Whitney Terrell
The mayor of Lenexa, Kansas, was talking then, complimenting Prudential Bowen for his hand in
creating “Kings County’s two newest cities, Mission Hills and Prairie Village…” FICTION

#47     THE LAST WITNESS, Joel Goldman
His Aunt Claire’s house…was located in the heart of Midtown between Ward Parkway and
Wornall Road, two blocks south of Loose Park. MYSTERY

#48    MR. BRIDGE, Evan Connell
The major event of the month of May, as far as Douglas was concerned, was not the arrival of the
Snapper family but the sailboat race on Ward Parkway pond. FICTION

#49      MRS. BRIDGE, Evan Connell
In Kansas City the sun was shining and the leaves of the trees were changing color. It was a
beautiful day…The Barrons had moved into an enormous Colonial home near Meyer Circle, and
that afternoon as Mrs. Bridge and Madge Arlen drove up to the house they saw a gang of boys
playing football in the street. FICTION

#50      PAS DE DEATH, L. M. Vincent
Townsend recognized the Zip Code as belonging to the Brookside area, most likely the post
office on Sixty-third Street across from the Berbiglia liquor store. MYSTERY
 #51      THE STING OF DEATH, Caroline Giannini
Maxwell Whittaker lived in one of those million-dollar homes a few blocks east of Ward Parkway.
In fifteen minutes I was driving through the Plaza where I picked up Ward Parkway and continued
heading south. I like this road. It has six lanes with a divider in the middle and on either side are
some of the most magnificent old homes I’ve ever seen. MYSTERY

#52      RETURN TO SENDER, Ann Slegman
I went to see Flower Drum Song at Starlight a few summers ago with Gramma and Gus, and it
started raining and blowing so hard that the scenery was flying around the stage… (Swope Park,
63rd and Swope Trafficway) FICTION

#53      THE HUNTSMAN, Whitney Terrell
…Their cities newly built and newly purchased and given names befitting pioneers, Santa Fe,
Prairie Village, Overland Park, creating at State Line Road a far more imposing barrier than
Troost Street had ever been. MYSTERY

#54     THE GIRLS, Elaine Kagan
I dropped Stevie off and then I went to get the wagon filled at the Mobil on Ninety-fifth and
Mission. FICTION

#55      DEADLOCKED, Joel Goldman
Mason turned in the entrance on the south side of the Eighty-seventh Street Parkway, slowing for
a small flock of geese that had chosen to walk across the driveway rather than fly to the pond on
the other side of the road. MYSTERY

#56      HEARTBREAKER, Julie Garwood
Trinity was located in the heart of a bedroom community on the other side of the state line
separating Missouri from Kansas. McKindry jokingly referred to it as “Our Lady of the Lexus,” and
from the number of designer cars parked in the church’s lot on Sunday mornings, the label was
right on the mark.(92nd and Pflumm) FICTION

#57      WITHOUT A SOUND, Carla Cassidy
Pleasant Hill, Missouri, had once been a small farming community thirty miles north of Kansas
City. But in the last twenty years Kansas City had widened its boundaries and now knocked on
Pleasant Hill’s front door. The end result was that the small town now felt more like a suburb of
the bigger city than an entity in and of itself. FICTION

Closing --
Leaving K.C. Mo./ past Independence / past Liberty/Charlie Plymell’s memories of K.C. renewed/
The Jewel-box Review;/ white-wigged fat camps yakking about/ Georgie Washington and Harry
T./ filthier than any poetry reading I ever gave/ applauded/ by the police negro wives Mafia
subsidized. (Jewel Box, 3219 Troost)
“Kansas City to St. Louis” from COLLECTED POEMS, Allen Ginsberg 811.5

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