Oak Tower called the Bell Telephone Building, is a 28-story skyscraper in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Hoit, Price & Barnes, a local firm that conceived many of Kansas City's landmark structures, designed the building in association with I. R. Timlin as the headquarters of the Bell Telephone Co.'s newly consolidated Southwestern System. Ground was broken at Eleventh and Oak Streets in 1917, but due to shortages of manpower and materials during the First World War, construction was delayed and was not completed until 1920; the new building served as Southwestern Bell's general headquarters for only a year before the company moved its main office to St. Louis. Thereafter the tower served as the headquarters of Southwestern Bell's operations in Missouri; the tower was 14 stories, without any set-backs, but the fast-growing telephone company soon required more space. An addition completed in 1929 doubled the tower's height and made it the tallest building in Missouri until the Kansas City Power & Light Building surpassed it in 1931.
Oak Tower's top half was built with Haydite, the first modern structural lightweight concrete, invented and patented in Kansas City by Stephen J. Hayde; the tower's 1929 expansion was the first major project to use the new building material, it allowed the addition of fourteen new stories, six more than would have been possible using conventional concrete. The building's contractor, Swenson Construction Co. built several other landmark Kansas City buildings including the Kansas City Power & Light Building, 909 Walnut, Jackson County Courthouse, Kansas City City Hall, Kansas City Live Stock Exchange and the Western Auto Building. On January 11, 1965, during a snowstorm, a single-engine airplane crashed into the 28th story of the building at the corner facing Oak Street and 11th Street, killing all four people on board. Oak Tower's original terra-cotta facade was covered in white stucco when it was sold in 1974. Today Oak Tower is one of the key fiber transit buildings for Kansas City and houses a 9,000-square-foot Tier II data center.
In 2013, the colocation data center is carrier neutral. In September 2018, the Tier II data center, operated by Netsolus, is 11,000-square-foot and is home to several key transit and telecommunications providers including Cogent and Zayo. Netsolus operates data centers in Phoenix and Omaha. Founded in 2000, Netsolus is located in Oak Tower at Suite 1640
2345 Grand is a high-rise office building located in Kansas City, Missouri. It is listed on many sites as being the work of Mies van der Rohe; the work was done by Fujikawa Conterato Lohan & Associates. The building was built to be both the western headquarters of now defunct Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company and an IBM office. At the time, it was called both the IBM Building, it was acquired by Shorenstein Properties, who sold the building for $49.5 million in 2004 to Hines Interests Limited Partnership and GE Real Estate. In turn, they sold the structure for $75 million to Franklin Street Properties Corp in December 2007; the current principal tenant in the building is the law firm of Lathrop & Gage, which occupies nine floors of the building. It houses Missouri's Federal Immigration Court. Skycraperpage.com profile Emporis.com profile
Architecture of Kansas City
The architecture of Kansas City and the metro area includes major works by many of the world's most distinguished architects and firms, including McKim and White. The city was founded in the 1850s at the confluence of the Missouri and Kaw rivers and grew with the expansion of the railroads and meatpacking industry. Prominent citizens settled in the Quality Hill neighborhood and commissioned fine homes in Italianate Renaissance Revival style, which continued to be the major influence for new structures past the turn-of-the century. George Kessler's urban plan for Kansas City with its expansive park and boulevard system, inspired by the City Beautiful Movement, made a profound and lasting impact on the city; the core of the downtown area developed in an early 20th-century building boom that continued into the Great Depression. The city has several buildings that place it among cities with the ten best examples of art deco architecture in the United States. Municipal Auditorium, the Kansas City Power and Light Building, Jackson County Courthouse have been called "three of the nation's Art Deco treasures."
J. C. Nichols, a prominent developer of commercial and residential real estate developed the Country Club Plaza, was active in the promotion of lasting architectural landmarks such as Liberty Memorial, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. A second period of building growth occurred from the 1960s through the 1980s. During this time, Kansas City, Missouri gained much of its modern skyline, including One Kansas City Place, the tallest building in Missouri at 623 feet. Suburban growth spread into Kansas with new homes and mid-rise office buildings. After a period of significant decline, downtown Kansas City has been revived by several major new works of architectural design. Sprint Center arena, the Power & Light District entertainment development, the Block Building addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, H&R Block World Headquarters, 2555 Grand, Charles Evans Whittaker Federal Courthouse, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, American Century Towers, Bartle Hall Convention Center expansion, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research are among the most prominent and recognizable.
The first skyscraper/highrise in Kansas City was the New York Life Insurance Building, completed in 1890. It stands twelve floors tall at a height of 180 feet and was the first local building with elevators. After the New York Life Building was completed, Kansas City followed the national trend of constructing a plethora of buildings above ten stories. Within fifty years of the building's construction, over fifty buildings over ten floors were built in and around downtown. Louis Curtiss, among Kansas City's most innovative architects, designed the Boley Clothing Company Building, renowned as "one of the first glass curtain wall structures in the world." The six-story building features cantilever floor slabs, cast iron structural detailing, terra cotta decorative elements. Kansas City underwent an early skyscraper boom between 1920 and 1940. During this time, notable skyscrapers such as the Power and Light Building, Oak Tower, City Hall, the Jackson County Court House, the Bryant Building, the Fidelity National Bank building were constructed.
Today, many of these buildings are being renovated for various uses, from residential lofts to office spaces. Oak Tower was once a building filled with gothic architecture. In an effort to modernize the then-40-year-old building in the 1970s, Southwestern Bell tore down and placed cladding over its gargoyles. Frank Lloyd Wright designed three buildings that stand in the Kansas City area: the Frank Bott Residence, the Clarence Sondern House, Community Christian Church; this Frank Lloyd Wright building sits across from the Country Club Plaza's main shopping district, located on Main at East 46th Street. In April 1940, Community Christian Church came to Wright and asked him to design a new building for them after a fire had destroyed their last church. Wright based his design on a parallelogram including some features conceived for his last building for Johnson Wax Company, along with one additional unique feature: a spire of light. Due to high building costs, the scale of the church was reduced during construction.
The auditorium was cut back from a planned 1,200 seats to 900 seats, many details were eliminated, the building was sheathed in gunite, a form of lightweight concrete, over Wright's objections. The spire of light could not be built and illuminated due to technical limitations of the times. However, the church was served the congregation well. In 1994, the Spire of Light was completed as planned; the components are housed on the church roof inside of a perforated dome on the building's northwestern corner. The spire is created by four 16" xenon bulbs ignited by 40,000 volts of electricity in combination with a parabolic reflector, produces 300 million candela of illumination in a near perfect column; the spire can be seen for miles around Kansas City, can be spotted 10 miles north of the Plaza, depending on conditions. It has been calculated to stop at least 3 miles up above the earth, about half the maximum height at which jet airplanes fly; the spire of light is lit regularly
Kansas City jazz
Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri during the 1920s and 1930s, which marked the transition from the structured big band style to the musical improvisation style of Bebop. The hard-swinging, bluesy transition style is bracketed by Count Basie who in 1929 signed with the Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra and Kansas City native Charlie Parker who ushered in the Bebop style in America. "While New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz, America's music grew up in Kansas City". Kansas City is known as one of the most popular "cradles of jazz". Other cities include New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and New York City. Kansas City was known for the organized musicians of the Local 627 A. F. M. which controlled a number of venues in the city. The first band from Kansas City to acquire a national reputation was the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, a white group which broadcast nationally in the 1920s. However, the Kansas City jazz school is identified with the black bands of the 1920s and 1930s, including bands led by Bennie Moten, Andy Kirk, Harlan Leonard, George E. Lee, William "Count" Basie, Jay McShann.
Kansas City in the 1930s was much the crossroads of the United States resulting in a mix of cultures. Transcontinental trips at the time whether by plane or train required a stop in the city; the era marked the zenith of power of political boss Tom Pendergast. Kansas City was a wide open town with liquor laws and hours ignored and was called the new Storyville. Most of the jazz musicians associated with the style were born in other places but got caught up in the friendly musical competitions among performers that could keep a single song being performed in variations for an entire night. Members of the big bands would perform at regular venues earlier in the evening and go to the jazz clubs to jam for the rest of the night. Jay McShann told the Associated Press in 2003: "You'd hear some cat play, somebody would say'This cat, he sounds like he is from Kansas City.' It was Kansas City Style. They knew it on the East Coast, they knew it on the West Coast. They knew it up North and they knew it down South."
Claude "Fiddler" Williams described the scene: Kansas City was different from all other places because we'd be jamming all night. And you come up here... playing the wrong thing, we'd straighten you out. Clubs were scattered throughout city but the most fertile area was the inner city neighborhood of 18th Street and Vine. Among the clubs were the Amos'n' Andy, Boulevard Lounge, Cherry Blossom, Chesterfield Club, Chocolate Bar, Dante's Inferno, Elk's Rest, Hawaiian Gardens, Hell's Kitchen, the Hi Hat, the Hey Hay Club, Lone Star, Old Kentucky Bar-B-Que, Paseo Ballroom, Pla-Mor Ballroom, Reno Club, Spinning Wheel, Street's Blue Room and Sunsetx. Kansas City jazz is distinguished by the following musical elements: A preference for a 4 feel over the 2 beat feel found in other jazz styles of the time; as a result, Kansas city jazz had a more relaxed, fluid sound than other jazz styles. Extended soloing. Fueled by the non-stop nightlife under political boss Tom Pendergast, Kansas City jam sessions went on well past sunrise, fostering a competitive atmosphere and a unique jazz culture in which the goal was to "say something" with one's instrument, rather than show off one's technique.
It was not uncommon for one "song" to be performed for several hours, with the best musicians soloing for dozens of choruses at a time. So-called "head arrangements"; the KC big bands played by memory and arranging the music collectively, rather than sight-reading as other big bands of the time did. This further contributed to the spontaneous Kansas City sound. A heavy blues influence, with KC songs based around a 12-bar blues structure, rather than the 32 bar AABA standard, although Moten Swing is in this AABA format. One of the most recognizable characteristics of Kansas City jazz is frequent, elaborate riffing by the different sections. Riffs were created - or improvised - collectively, took many forms: a) one section riffing alone, serving as the main focus of the music; the Count Basie signature tunes "One O'Clock Jump" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside", for example, are collections of complex riffs, memorized in a head arrangement, punctuated with solos. Glenn Miller's famous swing anthem "In the Mood" follows the Kansas City pattern of riffing sections, is a good example of the Kansas City style after it had been exported to the rest of the world.
Kansas City influence overtly transferred to the national scene in 1936 when record producer John H. Hammond cemented his career by discovering Kansas City talent, in the shape of Count Basie. Pendergast was to be convicted of income tax evasion in 1940 and the city cracked down on the clubs ending the era. Beginning in the 1970s Kansas City has attempted to celebrate the heritage by taking off the rough edges for family friendly environments. In the 1970s, the city tried to create a jazz enclave in the River Quay area on the Missouri River in the City Market neighborhood. Three of the clubs were bombed during a mob war that also led to the demise of mob influence of Las Vegas casinos, depicted in the 1995 movie Casino. In 1979, Bruce Ricker filmed The Last of the Blue Devils, a documentary starring Basie and singer Big Joe Turner, featuring many performers from the original era. In 1981 114 people died in the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse in an attempted recreation of the jazz scene during a tea dance.
In 1996 Kansas City native Robert Altman re
Southwestern Bell Building
The Southwestern Bell Building is a 28-story, 121.0 m skyscraper constructed to be the headquarters of Southwestern Bell Telephone in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. At the time of its construction it was Missouri's tallest building; the building, one of the first in St. Louis to use setbacks, has 17 individual roofs, its architect was Mauran, Russell & Crowell, who designed the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis and the Railway Exchange Building. I. R. Timlin, Southwestern Bell's company architect, was associate architect on the project. B116 - Original Southwestern Bell Headquarters Building -vincestlouis.com
925 Grand is the former headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was the oldest building in active use of any Federal Reserve Bank. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. In 1913 Kansas City and St. Louis had a fierce rivalry over which city was to get a headquarters, but in the end, both cities received one. (Missouri is the only state to have multiple headquarters. Among the reasons noted for the award is that former Kansas City mayor James A. Reed, on the Senate Banking Committee, broke the deadlock to permit passage of the Federal Reserve Act; the first bank building was in the R. A. Long Building at 928 Grand, which opened on November 16, 1914, until a new $4.3 million building could be built across the street at 925 Grand, which formally opened in November 1921 in Downtown Kansas City. Shortly after it was established the bank rented space to outside tenants; the building, designed by Chicago Wrigley Building architect Graham, Probst & White was Missouri's tallest building from 1921 to 1926 and Kansas City's tallest building from 1921 to 1929.
President Harry S. Truman had his office in Room 1107 of the building from when he left the Presidency in 1953 until the Truman Library was completed in 1957. In 2008, the Federal Reserve moved to a new building off of Main Street by the Liberty Memorial designed by architect Henry N. Cobb. Townsend, Inc. of Overland Park, bought the building for $10.8 million in 2005 and the Federal Reserve continued as a tenant until its new quarters opened in 2008. In 2013, Townsend lost the building when its lender, Great Western Bank of Sioux City Falls, South Dakota, took back the property at courthouse auction. A Boston lender is providing funding to a new developer who plans to convert the building into a hotel
Kansas City Power and Light Building
The Kansas City Power and Light Building is a landmark skyscraper located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. It was constructed by Kansas City Power and Light in 1931 as a way to promote new jobs in Downtown Kansas City. Since the Art Deco building has been a prominent part of Kansas City's skyline; the structure was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River upon its completion after succeeding the Smith Tower until the completion of the Space Needle in 1962. The east façade of the building faces the Power & Light District, the building's iconic lantern appears on promotional materials and signage for the district and Kansas City as a whole; the building was designed by the Kansas City architecture firm of Hoit and Barnes, which designed Municipal Auditorium and 909 Walnut. Rumor for years said the original plans included a twin building to be paired on the immediate west side of the building, but the second tower was never built due to the effects of the Great Depression on local real estate prices.
This was debunked in 2013 by local architect Dan Hicks who reviewed plans and interviewed Clarence Kivett, a well known architect working for Hoit and Barnes at the time of the building design. The west side of the building has no windows because it was meant to be a firewall next to any building built next to it, plus the elevator shafts are along that side of the building.. The Power and Light Building, at 34 stories, was Missouri's tallest habitable structure from 1931 until the completion of One U. S. Bank Plaza in St. Louis in 1976; the building remains the tallest residential building in the State of Missouri. Kansas City Power & Light Co. left the building in 1991. In 2010 Kansas City selected the area adjacent to the Power and Light Building as a potential location for a hotel and convention center, to fulfill a need for the city. However, the city only received two proposals from property developers for a convention hotel at the site; the city considered the two proposals it received in 2011 as lackluster and were considering reopening the bidding process for a different downtown location.
The building lost its last tenant, BNIM, a Kansas City-based architecture and planning firm, on September 2, 2014. The 36-story Power & Light building began a conversion into an apartment tower in October 2014; the project, led by NorthPoint Development of Riverside, which has now been completed includes 210 apartments in the historic tower, with an additional 81 units constructed wrapping around and built above a new 500 stall parking garage serving the building. The building lobby was converted into a premier event space holding up to 500 guests; the Kansas City Power and Light Building is crowned by an ornate Art Deco lantern, which features prismatic glass panels concealing red-orange lights that glow each evening at sunset. Each recessed setback of the building held multicolor flickering flood lights that dazzled nighttime viewers with the impression of blazing flames. Today, LED floodlights rotate through an abundance of colors and dazzle onlookers. One U. S. Bank Plaza General Building Information Google Earth Info Power and Light District Kansas City Power and Light Website