Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday Photograph - Path Past

Courtesy Johnson County Museum

Parade, 1954
Johnson Drive

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Old Shawnee Days

Is this weekend, the 31st to the 3rd. Too many things to do and see. Highlights are the parade, baby contest, historical recreations such as the Civil War surgeon, and surely the Rhinestone Ropers:

Old Shawnee Days website

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sam Rose, Evangelist - Path Present

Sam Rose has pitched his revival tent at 4901 Truman Road. From May 20 until June 10 he will hold nightly revivals at 7:00 pm. Sam is a second generation evangelist, his wife Julia is third generation. They have been living on the road, traveling in their bus doing tent revivals for over 20 years. When Sam sets up the tent by himself, like he did here, it takes a full day. Each support spike requires 8 blows with a sledge hammer to set it deep enough so the wind can't collapse the tent.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Photograph - Path Past

Courtesy Johnson County Museum

House Moving, 1955
5328 Johnson Drive, Mission Kansas

Downtown Shawnee

Mike and I visited Joseph Lino on Monday and toured his SPECTACULAR condo on Johnson Drive in downtown Shawnee. This is the first new building in downtown since 1986 and he is preparing for another project on the same block that will house 26,000 square feet of commercial and residential space.

Joe and others are now moving quickly to improve the downtown area as Shawnee moves ever westward. In 2002 the city initiated downtown partnership aiming to reinvent the environment and improve its specific economy. Here are the design guidelines.

Additionally, the new downtown pool, Splash Cove opens this weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tamales to Go

I think Ryan and I may have found the place to get food for the event... we ate lunch yesterday at Coyoacan on Merriam Drive. As the sign says, they have Tamales to Go!, and we can buy them by the dozen. I have to give Josh credit for the recommendation (and I think Josh heard about it from Mike)... so maybe Mike really deserves all the credit.

Ryan and I can voutch for the quality of the tamales, and it's hard to find food packaging more sustainable than corn husk.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guest Photographer - Laura Spencer

A couple of week ago Laura Spencer from KCUR radio came out with me to photograph along the path (thanks, Laura!). Here are Laura's pictures of the first place we stopped, the remarkable alligator house on Independence Avenue. I learned about it years ago when I found a copy of Kansas City, A Place in Time, a guidebook published by the Landmarks Commission in 1977. Whenever I'm in that area I drive by, and what's remarkable is how little it has changed over the years. I was sorry to see the alligators had recently been painted a bright green, but I guess one shouldn't be a purist about vernacular architecture.

Here's what the guide had to say...

"A rustic cottage, deceivingly constructed with alligators flanking the front steps, came from the imagination of the builder and owner, William C. Howard. The house was remodeled in this manner in 1918 to include the simulation of logs in the upper level."

I have 3 guidebooks about Kansas City architecture, A Place In Time is the oldest (and the only one that listed the alligator house). Two years later in 1979 the Kansas City AIA published a guide simply called Kansas City, which had the oddly chosen cover photo of a prairie landscape probably taken 100 miles from here. In 2000, KC AIA published a much expanded guide based on the '79 book. It also included a survey of local public art and had a chapter called the People's Choice Awards that gave the results of Kansas Citians' vote for their favorite landmarks. Interesting that just like the recent national AIA's America's Favorite Architecture you voted from a pre-selected list. Perhaps they wanted to make sure the new, gaudy casinos that had popped up in recent years didn't win.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Meet the Panelists

The first KC Snapshot event entitled "Time to Live" is coming up on May 30.
This event is intended to be a public conversation about how we live in Kansas City today - specifically, how the character and composition of our homes and our neighborhoods can and does influence our daily lives.

We will be joined by a small panel of local, regional and national professionals who will lead the conversation. Below are brief biographies of our invited guests which include links to their own websites.

Karrie Jacobs, the founding editor of Dwell magazine, who has recently turned her attention to writing piquant commentary about architecture and the way we all live in our homes and cities. She is a regular contributor to Metropolis and is the author of The Perfect $100,000 House.

Robert Bruegmann, chair of the Department of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Robert also teaches in the School of Architecture and the Program in Urban Planning. He is the author of Sprawl: A Compact History, a compelling look that rises above the rhetoric surrounding sprawl and evaluates the history of city growth and its true impacts.

Dan Rockhill is the principal of the Architecture firm Rockhill and Associates and is a professor at the University of Kansas School of Architecture. He is the progenitor of the graduate design school Studio 804 and is responsible for several contemporary residential designs in and around Lawrence, Kansas and the Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

Cyd Millstein has published numerous articles, both locally and nationally, on architectural and preservation-oriented issues. She has also served as assistant editor for the Society of Architectural Historians Newsletter, editor of the SAH Missouri Valley Chapter's Newsletter and architecture critic for The Kansas City Business Journal. Ms. Millstein's firm, Architectural & Historical Research, LLC, was founded in 1983. From 1997-2000, she was a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Association for Olmsted Parks. In 1995-1996, she served as president of the Missouri Valley Chapter Society of Architectural Historians.

The Birds of the Turkey Creek Festival

Hesse and I attended the annual Merriam Turkey Creek Festival this last weekend while he was in town. We were graciously hosted by Irene B. French, the former mayor of Merriam, who gave us a tour of the fesival and introduced us to several residents including current council members and the current mayor, Carl Wilkes.

Living up to it's name, upon entering the grounds we immediately encountered turkey... that is, a turkey sandwich being eaten by rather large, very colorful bird.
We also found a boy scout troop selling turkey legs. Needless to say, Hesse and I both got one. We will have to settle for a photo of the legs in the tray, but the photo I wish I had was of the carcass that was left once Hesse got done cleaning every piece of meat from his.
Hesse was able to make several good contacts along the way that were interested in the project and talking with him.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Turkey Creek Festival

This saturday is Merriam's annual Turkey Creek Festival. It is at Antioch Park, running all day. Park at the Irene B. French Community Center, City Hall, Merriam Town Center (Johnson Drive & Antioch) or Shawnee Mission Medical Center and take a free shuttle to the Antioch Park. Events include pancake breakfast, 5k run, arts and crafts show, concerts, pony rides and petting zoo, kids inflatable games and a large parade. Fun for all.

Friday Photograph - Path Past

Plaza Tennis Courts - 1950
From the collection of the Kansas City Missouri Public Library

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time To Live - Panelists

Dan Rockhill has agreed to be our fourth panelist for the "Time to Live" forum. One of his concerns which I thought was a good one had to do with placing the panelist's into a context for the forum. Given that we are looking for Dan to provide his insight into residential architecture with both, his experiences in practice and his experience with leading Studio 804 , how do get the public that are attending the forum up to speed on Dan's work so that they are engaged in the dialogue. The answer I believe is to allow each of the panelist's five minutes to introduce themselves and to place themselves in the context of the discussion. For Dan this would include some images of his and Studio 804's work, we need to ask what Karrie, Robert and Cyd would like to include for themselves. Would also be beneficial to get them a list of potential questions or discussion topics prior to the forum, so they are prepared and maybe even able to provide graphic examples that we could have available for them to use.

P.S. Studio 804 is having an open house for the latest house this Saturday from 10 - 2. Check out for the address.

Satchel Paige, Aunt Freda and Woody Allen

When I started thinking about photographing along the KC Snapshot path (get a path map here) I made a list of pictures I wanted to take. First was a picture of the house I grew up in. And second was the Satchel Paige Memorial Stadium. As a kid I was a huge baseball fan. I learned to love the game from my Aunt Freda. Whenever I stayed at her house during the summer we'd sit out on her screened-in porch and listen to our team, the Kansas City Athletics, on the radio. I'd drink coke and she'd have her can of Schlitz beer that she poured into a small juice glass. She and my Uncle would tell me baseball stories, and the ones about Satchel Paige were favorites--his pitching styles, his rules to live by.
Woody Allen, a hero of mine, named one of his children Satchel after Satchel Paige, and has written eloquently about his memories of the famous pitcher:

'Satchel Paige was a hero of mine. I was a great baseball fan and it was fun when Satchel Paige emerged into the big leagues. By then he was way, way past his prime. But all that prejudice, and all that racial bigotry in the United States, which has been one of the hallmarks of our country since its inception, robbed America of seeing an athlete who may have been comparable to Michael Jordan in his time. So we only got to enjoy Satchel Paige in the last years of his professional career, when he got into the big leagues, because in the Negro Leagues you wouldn't have heard of him. But if we hadn't had such a thing as a Negro League, and if black players had always been in sports, sports would have been much, much richer and we would have seen Satchel Paige in his prime. It's our loss.'

Satchel Paige died June 8, 1982 in Kansas City and is buried here in Forest Park Cemetery.

Mike Sinclair

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

KC Snapshot kick off

This site is intended as a public record of the activity and content of the year-long experiment we are undertaking: The Kansas City SNAPSHOT project.