December 19, 2014


By Joe Calton -
The Inter-City News was the only press on scene at 3:00PM Friday afternoon as divers from the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol assisted the Sugar Creek Police in an ongoing investigation at Le Benite Park at Hwy 291 and the Missouri River.

We spoke with Sugar Creek Detective Sergeant Matt Kline who informed us that they had two vehicles in the river that they believe are connected to an incident that took place in September. A tow service was en route and the Highway Patrol divers would be assisting in the extrication of the vehicles from the river at which point Sugar Creek Police would continue their investigation.  Last night police announced that one vehicle had been pulled from the river. The case continues to be under investigation by the Sugar Creek Police Department and the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office.

Sgt. Kline was unable to share any more information pending notification of family members.   We will post more information as it becomes available

November 25, 2014

Inter-City Mourns the Loss of Sugar Creek Police Chief Herb Soule

   People around the Inter-City area and well beyond are mourning the loss of Sugar Creek City Marshall and Police Chief Herb Soule, who passed away on November 14 at North Kansas City Hospital. 

   Chief Soule served the citizens of Sugar Creek in the Police Department for 48 years, becoming Chief of Police in 2001.  Last September he was named Sugar Creek Citizen of the Year by the Truman Heartland Foundation in recognition of his years of service to the community.

   Besides being the Chief of Police, Herb Soule was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jackson County Drug Task Force, he helped create Jackson County’s anti-drug COMBAT program, he founded Sugar Creek Police and Fire Explorer Post 2, he sat on the Legislative & Resolutions Committee of the Missouri Police Chief’s Association, and taught aspiring law enforcement officers at the Western Missouri Regional Police Academy.  He was also a leader in developing the State of Missouri’s Homeland Security program. Chief Soule was a member and a leader of more community organizations than space allows us to print.

Herbert M. Soule, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 11, 1944, but grew up in Sugar Creek.  He was a 1962 graduate of Van Horn High School, where he played football and basketball, and ran track.  After high school he joined the United States Army.

    Chief Soule joined the Sugar Creek Police force in 1966.  During his time as Chief of Police, he dealt with many high-profile cases, including the explosion of a tanker car following a train derailment in 2010 and the investigation of the murder of Sam and Lindsey Porter, children who were murdered by their father and buried in Sugar Creek in  2004.

   Retired Sugar Creek Detective Sergeant Steve Topi told the Inter-City News, "Herb Soule has been my friend since we were youths, and my boss for nearly 40-years.  He was a good man and a good police officer and Chief.  He will be greatly missed by myself and Sugar Creek Police and Fire employees, as well as many other departments and agencies, across the State and beyond.  My sincere condolences go out to all his family and countless friends."

Revitalizing the Truman Road Corridor

   Jackson County and the City of Independence are working with the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) to get funding for the Truman Road Gateway Implementation Plan, to develop and enhance the Truman Road corridor east of I-435. 

   Last year funding was received and work began on repairing the Stone Arch Bridge at Truman and Blue Ridge Boulevard, which was completed in May of this year.  The roadway over the bridge was replaced, the walls were reinforced, rod iron fencing was added for safety, and lights and landscaping helped beautify the refurbished bridge, which was originally built in 1906.

   The Mid-America Regional Council funded a study with federal HUD money called the Truman Road Green Gateway plan, which was completed in March of this year.  The 89-page report detailed more ways that the roadway, which bears Harry Truman’s name and leads visitors from around the world to the Truman Home and the Independence Square, could be transformed into a modern and practical corridor that is pedestrian and bike-friendly, with sustainable housing and business solutions to help bring the area into the 21st century.

     Donna Pittman is the owner of Curt’s Famous Meats and the founder of the Truman Gateway Redevelopment Committee, the force behind the Truman Road revitalization efforts.  Donna is optimistic that the solutions outlined in the study can become a reality.  She praised the efforts of Independence Mayor Eileen Weir and the Independence Chamber of Commerce in making the Truman Gateway plan a priority, and seeking the funds that would be needed to implement the project.

   The cost to implement the plan would be around $8 million, with Jackson County handling the stretch of Truman Road from the interstate to Blue Ridge Boulevard, and Independence doing the work east of Blue Ridge.  

   According to a MARC representative, getting funding for these types of proposals would depend largely on interest within the community. 

   The Truman Gateway Redevelopment Committee welcomes any member of the community who is interested in making the Truman Road Gateway plan become a reality.  If you are interested in joining this group, send an email for more information to Lindsay Browne at

Inter-City Native Writes “Tales From the Lake”

  Conley Stone McAnally, known to his friends in the Inter-City area as "Snapper", has penned his fourth book, Tales from the Lake, which picks up where an earlier work, Tales from Homer left off.   Tales from Homer consisted of eight whimsical stories happening in a town called Doodenville.  The stories are supposedly rejected submissions to The Atlantic written by the title character, the town’s jailer, Homer Storebeck.

  Snapper McAnally offered us this information:  "I lived on Crisp Lake, went to Mt Washington, then Van Horn, graduated in 1965, taught school in "Bush" Alaska, and am a retired army reserve officer. I live in Tucson now. Most of the characters I have written about, other than the two books about Alaska, are based a little on the people I knew growing up. A little bit of fact, a dab of humor, some outlandishness, and an item of fiction or two make up my stories. Many people think I make things up but everything is true to some extent."

   Besides his two books of Midwestern tales, McAnally has written two books about Alaska, Wilson Bay: Tales From an Eskimo Village and Jump, Alaska: Tales From the Interior.

   You can find all of McAnally’s books online at, and ask for them at local bookstores and libraries.

Buried at Mt. Washington: George Creel

   In the first week after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson created a government agency called the Committee on Public Information, with a mission to use the media of that era to rally support for the war and to quash dissent.  Basically  it was a propaganda machine, and at its head was a former Kansas City newspaper man, George Creel.    

   Creel's Committee on Public Information used writers, artists, actors, and every form of media available to stir up war support.  Though Creel had long been a critic of censorship, his agency was heavily involved in doing just that, helping Congress pass the widely criticized Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.  Under the Sedition Act, it became a federal crime to use "disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the United States government."

   Ten years before the war, George Creel lived in Kansas City and published a local weekly political journal called The Independent.  His paper, which championed government reform and women's rights, began publishing in 1899 and continues to this day as "The Independent: Kansas City's Journal of Society."  

   In 1909 Creel gave his paper to two women publishers and took his calls for government reform to Colorado, writing for the Denver Post. He was appointed Police Commissioner of Denver in 1912, and the reforms he made in Denver were praised nationwide. Creel was active in Woodrow Wilson's re-election campaign, and when he heard that military commanders were calling for media censorship, he  called on President Wilson and suggested a different approach, "expression, not suppression" of the press."  Thus the Committee on Public Information was created.

   After the war George Creel devoted most of his time to writing and politics. He died in San Francisco on October 2, 1953, and is buried in Mt. Washington cemetery near his mother's grave.

Mary Howe Brings Experience & Luxury to the KnowHowe Salon

   Christine's Salon at 518 North Sterling is now the KnowHowe Salon, and we welcome the new owner, Mary Howe, to the Inter-City community.  Mary has been doing hair for 25 years, mostly operating as a Master Designer and Salon Manager with the JC Penney Salons.  That's where she met Christine, her friend and district manager at JC Penney.

  It was always Mary's dream, though, to have her own Salon, and Christine was delighted to offer her the chance to make that happen.

    Besides the experience she gained working with hair design, managing the JC Penny salons, and teaching cosmetology at KCCC, she also brings to the KnowHowe Salon four talented and experienced stylists, nail techs, and estheticians certified in Dermalogica® skin treatment, the only Dermalogica suppliers this side of the state line.  Her salon has expertise in the current designs, styles, and trends, as well as more traditional styling methods.

   Whether it's manicures, pedicures, waxing, facials, Gelish nails, or men's cuts, KnowHowe, can provide what you need.  They also carry a wide variety of take-home products for sale, including Paul Mitchell, Redken, Dermalogica, and more.

KnowHowe Salon offers mobile and on-site services for those unable to visit the salon, or for special events. 

  As the daughter of a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Mary was born in Montgomery, Alabama and lived in cities around the country and world, mostly growing up in Spain. All of her children are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Ask about Military Discount! Call (816) 252-0383 for an appointment.

Go Sugar Creek Helps Henry Street Homeowner

   Members of "Go Sugar Creek," a volunteer organization, working with the Sugar Creek Community Development Corporation has just completed its fourth civic project of the year. Chuck and Sandy Mikulich, Stan Salva, John McAvoy, Matt Williams along with Carolyn and Bill Haman worked to rehab the exterior at a home on Henry Street in Sugar Creek. The project required power washing, scraping, priming and finish painting of the home. There was also some fairly extensive repair of windows and doors.

   "Go Sugar Creek" has built two handicapped ramps, painted two houses and developed the Sugar Creek Community Garden this year.

 Homeowners in Sugar Creek with limited resources can make application at the Sugar Creek police station for assistance with exterior projects. Applications can be obtained at the police station. Applicants will be screened to determine if they meet income and other requirements.

    The organization welcomes new members to help with future projects to assist our neighbors in need. Tax deductible financial contributions to help support these efforts can be made to the Sugar Creek CDC. Our goal is to improve the quality of live for residents of Sugar Creek. We will again be sponsoring the garden in 2015. For more information or questions, please contact Bill Haman at either 816-254-8935 or
Bill Haman

Wayne City Landing Days Audit Shows Nearly $50,000 Loss

   Controversy is brewing in Sugar Creek over the expense of the city’s Wayne City Landing Days celebration in August.

   According to an audit provided by the city, proceeds from the event amounted to $11,226.60, falling more than $47,000 short of covering the $59,000 it cost city taxpayers to put on the event.  All the same, the city has allocated another $50,000 in next year’s budget for another Wayne City Landing Days event to be held in  2015.

   Community activist Bill Haman complains of several issues surrounding the planning and expenditures involved with this year’s festival.  In a mass email to Sugar Creek residents and business owners, Haman raised issues ranging from the timing of the event to the cost bringing entertainment in from out of town rather than showcasing our local talent.

  In an email, he posed a number of questions:

   "Why did we not obtain a beer and soft drink sponsor? Those sponsors should normally cover entertainment expenses.

   "The city hall estimate of 5,000 attendees was excessive. No more than 3,000 people attended. Assuming 1,000 attendees per day the math is $50,000 divided by 3,000 total attendees equals $16 per person.  That is 16 taxpayer dollars wasted for each person that came to the festival.

   "Why was the entertainment in a location that was hidden from most attendees by the carnival trucks?  The entertainment should be the focal point of the entire event, not a stepchild.  Why did we spend so much money on acts?  There are numerous qualified bands here in KC that would have played the shows for much less money and had a larger following than the booked bands.   

   "Why was a band from Springfield booked instead of a local band?  The booking agent, the bands and the sound crew are the only ones involved that came out with plenty of money.

   "Why did we spend so much for a stage when modular stages can be rented for a third of what we paid?  $3,293 rental and towing for four bands is $823 per band.   Why did we pay for a hotel and meals for the sound crew?  I have been involved with many festival productions and have never paid for these items.  If the sound crew was from out of town why was a local vendor not hired?   $2,750 for four bands is $687 per band.  If you add in the meals and lodging for the crew that would be $3,367 for four bands or $841 per band.

   "The total for entertainment items listed is $12,100.  To put that in layman’s terms, someone cut a fat hog on the taxpayers of Sugar Creek.

   "In summary, it is time for Sugar Creek to move away from the festival business and understand that this event was not successful.  The mayor was presented with a flawed blueprint for a festival and blindly moved forward with a festival that was doomed to fail. Even after it became clear that the festival would not be successful the mayor could not admit that the event was failing.  He cast the deciding vote in a council meeting several months prior to the event that would have killed the event and saved the taxpayers $50,000.  The vote was not in the best interest of the citizens and was clearly made out of his self-interest. Aldermen Doyle and Kenney also cast votes to continue the event. Aldermen Sagehorn and Ray voted to stop funding for the festival. No more of Sugar Creek’s treasure should be used to support another Wayne City Event."

   Mr. Haman intended to ask these questions at the Sugar Creek Board of Aldermen Study Session, but Mayor Mallinson would not allow comments from the floor about the issue.

CSL's Christmas Assistance Program

   The Community Services League is working to provide Christmas presents and meal baskets to Inter-City families in need this holiday season.  If you need help, please apply at any of the CSL offices (locations on Page 8) before November 26.  Please bring identification, proof of residence, Social Security cards for all adults and children in the home, and proof of income.

   If you would like to help a family this year, please donate new, unwrapped presents and food items (including perishables… frozen turkeys, Cool Whip, butter, etc.) at any of the CSL offices, preferably by Monday, December 8.  For more information call the Community Services League at (816) 254-4100 or visit them online at

Inter-City Election 2014 Winners and Losers

Most of Sugar Creek and the area east of Sterling and north of 24 Highway in Independence will be getting a new State Representative for the 20th District.  Republican Bill Kidd beat the incumbent Democrat, John Mayfield, by 672 votes, according to the unofficial results posted by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

   Kidd, a Christian minister, ran on a pro-life, 2nd Amendment platform, and promised to “…work to eliminate burdensome government regulations that stand in the way of small businesses.”
   Ira Anders and Brandon Ellington, representing the 21st and 22nd Districts respectively, ran unopposed.  Ellington, who was first elected in 2011, will serve as the chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus.

   Dennis Waits was re-elected to his eighth four-year term on the Jackson County Legislature, making his the Legislator holding that position the longest.  The staff of the Inter-City News is hoping he will start using some of this seniority to start calling for improvements in the economically neglected area he has been representing for the better part of three decades. 

   Frank White easily won the 1st District At Large Legislative seat being vacated by outgoing Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz, who is running for City Council in Kansas City.

   Congressman Emanuel Cleaver beat Republican Jacob Turk for the fifth time in a row.  Both candidates were approached by the Inter-City News to make a statement to our readers.  Only Congressman Cleaver responded.  His message to voters of the Inter-City, posted on our website before the election, can be found on page 6.

  The biggest loser this election day was the effort by the City of Sugar Creek to annex 2,700 acres of land to the east, near Atherton.  Voters in the proposed annexation area unanimously rejected the proposal.  There were approximately three times as many “Vote No on Annexation” signs in the area as there were voters.  Residents we spoke to before the election insisted that the move would raise their taxes and provide them with fewer services, in spite of Sugar Creek’s promises in its newsletter to the contrary.  None of the residents we spoke with in the proposed annexation area said that anyone from Sugar Creek had made contact with them to try and persuade them to vote yes on the issue.  58 per cent of the voters living inside Sugar Creek city limits approved of the plan.

Fairmount Community Center Arrow Rock Trip

The See the city of Arrow Rock decorated for the holidays with the Fairmount Community Center. Visit the old-time Country Store, the town's tiny post office and the interesting period shops on Main Street, better known to locals as "The Boardwalk."

Other highlights include the J. Huston Tavern, the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. Cost includes motor coach transportation and ticket to Lyceum Premiere Charles Dickens play "A Christmas Carol." Lunch is on your own. Sack lunches can be purchased from the center with 24 hour notice for an extra $3.

Cost: $60 per person
Registration Deadline: December 5th
Call the Fairmount Community Center
816-254-8334 For Reservations

Sugar Creek VFW Post 3976

 From The Inter-City News: Thursday, June 29, 1967

    On January 12, 1945, a charter was issued to the Sooter-Clemens Post No. 3976, Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW, of the United States,  of Sugar Creek Missouri.  The Ladies Auxilliary was chartered May 11, 1945.  The post had 77 charter members and the Aux. 38 members.

   Initiation and installation of officers took place in the Sugar Creek school, now used for defense purposes.

   The post was named for Cecil Sooter and Frank Clemens, the first men from Sugar Creek to lose their lives in WWII; Cecil, as a Navy pilot in Panama, on a training flight, and Frank soon after D-Day, with the Army in France.  The name was changed to the Sugar Creek Memorial Post in 1966.

   Herbert Killion, was the first Post Commander, and his wife, Alice Killion, the first Auxiliary president.  A handful of veterans from WWII, including Mr. Killion, Walter P. Kenney, William G. Linnell, Tom Sooter, William Buford, William Buford, Sr., Lloyd Gibbons, William T. Krudop, Ferdinand J. Fischl, and Earl Evinger, organized the post while many of the other charter members were still on active duty.

   In 1946 when Walter Kenney was commander, the Veteran's Memorial was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, and May 30, 1958, a plaque on the new swimming pool was dedicated to the memory of our local veterans.

   Each year at 11 o'clock May 30, VFW Memorial services are held at this monument with the whole community participating.  In the fall of 1961 a disastrous fire destroyed the VFW hall on the second floor of what is now Sterling Hall, 514 N Sterling, Sugar Creek, and nearly took the lives of Mr. and Mrs. William Linnell in their adjacent apartment (they were saved by their neighbor, Mike A. Benkovich). Practically all the property of the post and Auxiliary was destroyed, and for the next few years the organization suffered a setback and many of the community activities were curtailed.

A few local members continued to function and in 1962 the post and aux made a fresh start and continues to grow and prosper and carryout its VFW community service projects in Sugar Creek.  Mrs. Charlotte Kenney and Mrs. Patricia Kenney Train are the only charter members of the Auxiliary holding office in the Auxiliary.

Fritzanna Lyke Takes Time to Help Out

After Fritzanna Lyke retired from The Groves at the age of 67 she wanted to stay active.  Many years earlier she had taught Sunday School at the First Baptist Church, and after retirement, just by chance, she ran into one of the children she had taught there.  Her former student was all grown up and teaching First Grade at Fairmount Elementary School, and thought that Fritzanna would make a wonderful teacher’s aid. For the past four years Friztanna has been volunteering at the school, helping Kindergartners and First Graders learn how to master basic skills.

    She’s famous at the Fairmount School for the crocheted headbands she makes for her students – custom made for each student in their favorite colors.  Every Kindergartner gets a headband.

   Three days a week she volunteers at the school, and for the past three years she has spent two days a week she helping out at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store at 505 North Dodgion in Independence, where her husband James is also a volunteer.   James, who Fritzanna married 37 years ago, is also retired and devotes his time to helping others.  "We call it volunteering," he jokes, "but other people might call it ‘Community Service.’"  James spends his summers on his riding lawnmower (he calls it a tractor) cutting grass for homeowners who are unable to.

   Every Sunday the Lykes work with children at Northeast Baptist Church, 9412 E Independence Avenue, where five vans bring 65 children from Independence and Kansas City for Sunday School.  The children are fed lunch before an afternoon session, when they are encouraged to bring their school homework. Fritzanna and the other volunteers are able to help them complete their assignments and master any skills they may need help with.

    Fritzanna and James decided this year to start a community garden in a vacant lot they bought on Independence Avenue.  This year they had ten planters growing vegetables, and hope to expand on that in 2015.  

     Our community appreciates their service!

November 15, 2014

Sugar Creek Police Chief Herb Soule Dies from Illness

News release from the Sugar Creek Police Department:
"Chief Herbert M. Soule, Chief of the Sugar Creek, MO Police Department, passed away from complications of an illness at the North Kansas City Hospital at 3:40 P.M. Friday, November 14, 2014.

  "Chief Soule served with the Sugar Creek Police Department for 48 years and was Chief since April, 2001."
 The staff of the Inter-City News offers condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Chief Soule, and to the citizens of Sugar Creek and Jackson County for the loss of this devoted public servant.   Details on his memorial service will be upcoming.

November 3, 2014

Congressman Cleaver Speaks to Inter-City News

Note: We asked the candidates for Congress in the Fifth District to address the readers of the Inter-City News.   Jacob Turk did not respond to our repeated requests, but Congressman Emanuel Cleaver sent us the following:

Often times our democracy produces mixed results. I strive in Congress to produce positive results for the constituents of Missouri’s 5th District which I have the privilege or representing.  My district is very diverse stretching from the urban areas of our community to the rural areas of our State.  The needs are many and the resources limited, but know that each day I am fighting to bring federal resources home to our community.

I understand the challenges each of us face at work and the struggles our families face providing a better life for our children and grandchildren. As your voice in Congress, I am willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to build consensus in a civil manner to help Americans. Fighting for the working men and women is not a hobby for me - it is in my DNA.

Specifically, I strongly believe it is critically important to invest and provide incentives to revitalize those parts of our community that have fallen victim to blight and neglect.  Throughout my congressional career I have been a stalwart advocate for attracting federal dollars to the Blue River including flood control, mitigation efforts and environmental restoration.  My support will remain unwavering. I also believe the 24 Highway gateway to our "Favorite Son," President Harry S Truman’s, Presidential Library & Museum is a prime candidate for infrastructure investment. I fully support the passage of a six (6) years highway and transportation bill, the unfortunate reality is that appears unlikely in the near future.

I envision the success which was demonstrated in the Green Impact Zone through leveraging all levels of governments’ capital expenditures into a targeted area with a strategic focus will be replicated throughout our community and our country. This model can and should be utilized for the 24 Highway corridor. 

Additionally, incentives to assist small businesses with their start-up, expansion, and growth are a vital component to enhance the area.  Couple these efforts with enhancing and improving the housing stock adjacent to these community assets and you have a formula for victory like our Home Town Boys in Blue – the Kansas City Royals.

Like the Royals’ return to the World Series, these commitments of resources will take a few years.  As long as I am in Congress you can rest assured that I will be there trying to do my best to ensure that our families and businesses are poised for greatness.

U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO-5)

September 26, 2014

Inter-City Fire Spurs Calls for Revitalization

 A fire that destroyed an apartment in the building at 8900 E. U.S. 24 has renewed calls for the revitalization of the 24 Highway corridor, which leads visitors from around the world from Interstate 435 to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. 

   Four fire trucks responded to the blaze of August 9, as flames were seen shooting six feet in the air. 
   The building, located across the street from the iconic Inter-City Bait & Tackle, began as a grocery store and in the 1960s and 1970s was run as a tavern.  An industrial garage was later added.

     “This area looks more like Detroit every day,” commented a resident, pointing out the yellow fire line tape which still surrounds the building more than a month after the blaze.  He added, “The building wasn’t much to look at before the fire,” calling it typical of the vacant and run-down commercial properties that dot this section of the highway system that Harry Truman helped create.

   In 2004, the Cities of Independence and Sugar Creek began a comprehensive study on the roadway’s potential and in 2006 issued a report called the US 24 Highway Corridor Study Plan.  

   This study identified many of the problems that were keeping this area economically depressed, and outlined several long-term solutions to revitalize the area. 

   Some of the solutions suggested in the report are in the works, such as the expansion of the 353 Tax Abatement, a program that rewards home and business owners for improving their buildings (see Page 5). Many of the report’s other suggested strategies fell by the wayside after the financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed.

   Independence Mayor Weir has promised to make the revitalization of western Independence a priority.
    The building that burned has been listed for sale with Block Real Estate Services, LLC. 

   According to a Block Real Estate representative the property remains for sale, but the price of the 5,600 square foot building and lots is undetermined at the moment, pending negotiations between the building’s owner and insurance company.   Visit the Block Real Estate website at if you are interested in purchasing this site for future development.  

Travel Back in Time at Sentimental Journey

   There are some things Sue Wiggins wants you to know about Sentimental Journey Antiques, located at 1101 W. 24 Highway in Independence.

   First of all, with 4,200 square feet of antiques and collectibles, “We’re bigger than we look,” she says.

   Sue and her husband Bob have been serious antique collectors for decades, and their storefront, as seen from 24 Highway, doesn’t do justice to the rooms of antique clocks, pop-culture memorabilia, antique car parts, ice cream scoops and memorabilia, and somewhere around 300 Aladdin Lamps that are displayed, the largest collection of Aladdin Lamps in the Metro area.  They also repair and service lamps of all kinds.

   Sue would also like you to know that it’s easier to park and to get in and out of the parking lot than it looks.  There’s a parking lot on the side of the building, offering easy access from 24 Highway and many people don’t realize this when driving by.

  Sue and Bob came to Kansas City in the early 1960s. She grew up in Arkansas, and he’s from southern Missouri. They call themselves retired; Bob retired from General Motors and Sue from the AMC Theatres.

Their love of collecting began 35 years ago, when they began collecting ice cream scoops as a hobby.     They are avid members of the Ice Screamers, an international collectors club for lovers of ice cream parlor memorabilia.  They travel all around the country to meet and “swap scoops” with other ice cream enthusiasts from around the world.

   Sentimental Journey is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., though occasionally the store may be closed due to medical appointments or jaunts out of town. 

   Someday Sue and Bob would like to truly retire in order to spend more time traveling.    They would gladly sell their building and everything in it to another collector, but for now they enjoy spending their days taking visitors on a Sentimental Journey that begins the moment you walk through the door.

Meet Inter-City News Staff Photographer Joe Calton

The Inter-City News is happy to welcome to our team local photographer and writer Joe Calton.

   Joe became hooked on photography at the age of 13 after joining the 8th grade Photography Club. His first camera was an all plastic “Diana” model from a dimestore that set him back $7.00.    

   Joe Calton has a particular love for architecture, Americana, macro photography and turning common, everyday subjects into abstract images.  With his camera in hand he travels the region and the country, capturing snapshots of beauty in sights that often go unnoticed, and locking in time breathtaking moments of nature.

   Joe grew up in Excelsior Springs, but his home is in Independence now.  He’s spent countless hours roaming around the Inter-City area, bringing us a wealth of stock photography.  He is dedicated to preserving the history of the area while helping all of us make the Inter-City area a better place to live and work.

   You can see and download more of his work by visiting his online gallery at


“Don't let them bury me in Kansas City,” Charlie Parker told his wife Chan.

   Bird got his wish. He is not buried in Kansas City, he is buried right here in Inter-City, at Lincoln Cemetery next to his mother Addie in Unincorporated Blue Summit.

   Charlie “Bird” Parker was born August 29, 1920 in Kansas City, KS. The saxophonist got his start playing Kansas City nightclubs in the late 1930's and through collaboration with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pioneered the highly improvisational form of jazz known as “bebop”. Miles Davis once said “You can sum up the history of jazz in four words. “Louis Armstrong Charlie Parker”. Charlie Parker died March 12, 1955 in New York. He was only 34 years old.

   For many years now, local musicians and jazz enthusiasts have gathered at Lincoln Cemetery on the last Sunday in August to pay tribute to Bird. Although the size of the gathering can sometimes be depressingly small, this year was different. Sponsored by KC Jazz ALIVE and in partnership with Jazz Friends, Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors and the American Jazz Museum, “A Kansas City Charlie Parker Celebration” took place at many venues in the area from August 14 through August 30, culminating with a “21 Sax Salute” in Lincoln Cemetery held on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday August 31.   

A local group called “Top of the Bottoms” which models itself after traditional, New Orleans Mardis Gras Krewes kicked off the festivities with an elaborate, colorful and moving Second Line funeral procession.

The graveside serenade was joined by local saxophonists, trumpeters, percussionists, and anyone else who wanted to participate in a rousing rendition of Bird's signature tune “Now's The Time”.

Bird's step daughter Kim Parker was in attendance and gave a short talk. She shared her memories which included her not understanding people's reaction to this large black man walking a young white girl to school in New York. She concluded by yelling “WAKE UP, BIRD!”

Poems were read, speeches were given and even some tears were shed. It was a very moving and heartfelt celebration of a short life that gave so much.

Should you find yourself on Blue Ridge Boulevard between Truman Road and Independence Avenue with some time to spare, stop by Lincoln Cemetery, leave a flower or some Mardis Gras beads, and feel free to yell “WAKE UP, BIRD!”

Les Miller Keeps Bees Busy

Les Miller of Miller’s Honey Farm in Independence will tell you that bees are smarter than humans, and that without bees there can be no life for human beings.  

   Miller’s honey, which he sells at the Independence Farmer’s Market, is organic, and his beekeeping methods are all-natural and holistic.  But like beekeepers around the world, he sees the bees dying off and disappearing at an alarming rate.

   More than 30% of the world’s bee population have disappeared in recent years, and Les says the people who depend on them to pollinate the crops of the food we eat are the very ones responsible for their disappearance.

   “People kill bees, with the poisons they use to kill weeds and other bugs, and sometimes they just kill them whenever they see them because they’re afraid of them.”

   Miller is not afraid of any bees or any other insect, and he’s especially fond of pollinators.    He’s been raising butterflies since he was 8 years old, and as a child he watched his father raise bees and make honey.  He decided to take up the profession of beekeeping 14 years ago, after decades of being a mechanic took a toll on his back and on his health.  “One day I got stung by a bee, and my back quit hurting,” he says.  He decided to learn everything he could about bees and beekeeping, and now he earns a living doing what he’s always loved, “playing with bugs.”

   All pesticides and herbicides threaten the bee population, he says, but points out that certain chemicals called Neonicitinoids are particularly deadly. Neonicitonoids have been banned in Europe and there’s a push by U.S. environmentalists for them to be banned in the United States as well.

   Miller’s bees gather pollen and nectar from flowering trees, wildflowers, and gardens.  “Dandelions are really important for the bees. If they survive the winter, dandelions are the most plentiful source of nutrition bees have before the trees come into flower, but too many people see dandelions as a bad thing and they poison them,” he says, adding that dandelions are important to soil health as well as bee health.  “Every kind of poison you put on the ground stays in the ground, and it gets in the groundwater, and it’s killing the bees.”

   Bees find a safe-haven in Miller’s hives, though, and his pure, all-natural honey is prized by honey connoisseurs around the region. If you can’t make it to the Independence Farmers Market, call Miller’s Honey Farm at 254-3702 and place an order.

School Kids Really Need Your Help

   Teachers and staff members at the Sugar Creek and Mallinson Elementary Schools are asking the community to donate warm clothing, shoes, and food items to students whose families are struggling financially.  Office staff at both schools told us that they are frequently called upon to make emergency shoe repairs, using hot glue and duct tape. Staff at both schools spoke of kids without jackets who have outgrown their winter coats.  Children’s socks and underwear would be especially appreciated at Sugar Creek Elementary, school to about 200 kindergartners and first graders.  Both schools are in need of shoes and warm clothing.  Kids at Sugar Creek Elementary generally wear sizes 4 to 8.  Kids at Mallinson Elementary need clothing in sizes 6 to 14.

   Mallinson Elementary School is in the process of setting up a food pantry, and welcomes all donations of non-perishable food items.

   You can drop off clothing donations at either school, and food donations at the Mallinson school at 709 N. Forest Avenue, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

   Both schools also participate in the Box Tops for Education and the Labels for Education programs.  Visit and to find out which products carry the labels you can cut out and bring to the schools to help Sugar Creek kids.

Feds to Revitalize Blue River

   Kansas City’s Blue River has been chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be part of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a partnership between federal agencies and non-profit organizations with a mission to "restore waterways and their environments, boost recreation, help local economies, create jobs, and protect Americans’ health."

   The Blue River, around which the Inter-City area was created by 19th century KC real estate magnate Willard Winner, was once an active and important waterway used for transportation and recreation.  Decades of industrial misuse and the economic blight brought on by factory closures have left the river in dire need of clean-up and revitalization.  Along with the EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the Heartland Alliance, and many other agencies and non-profits will be taking part in the effort.

Arthur E. Stilwell - Father of Fairmount

Fairmount got its name from Arthur Edward Stilwell, the man who created Fairmount Park in 1892. 

    In 1891 he built a streetcar line called the “Air Line,” which ran from Kansas City to Independence.  To encourage people to ride his Air Line, Stilwell built the amusement park along the line. 

   In 1892 the park was called Cusenbary Springs.  40 acres of J. D. Cusenbary’s land had been purchased, along with the spring which was dammed to create an 18-acre lake.  That year the name was changed to Fairmount Park. It was likely named after the park in Philadelphia which had the same name, as Mr. Stilwell was actively courting investors from Pennsylvania to help finance his other projects.

   Arthur Stillwell was an entrepreneur who loved building streetcars and railroads.  The Kansas City Southern Railroad was built by Stilwell, who has several cities named after him in states from here to the Gulf of Mexico.  He created nearly 40 towns along the railroad lines he built, like Stilwell, Kansas and Port Arthur, Texas.

   Stilwell was one of Kansas City’s great civic leaders, and Fairmount Park was his playground.  Tens of thousands of people a year came on the Air Line to enjoy a beach, amusement park rides, a zoo, vaudeville, dancing, daredevils,   and it was known as the “Home of Picnics,” with some of Kansas City’s biggest companies treating their employees to a day at Fairmount Park.  It was the home of the Kansas City Horse Show, which would later evolve into the American Royal.

   Arthur Stilwell was enjoying the Horse Show at Fairmount Park on September 11, 1897, when the last railroad spike was driven in Port Arthur, TX, for his Kansas City, Pittsburg & Gulf Railway, which connected Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. The next day a hurricane would tear through Port Arthur, killing 14 people. At the same time, yellow fever quarantine kept all railroad traffic from coming south of Shreveport.

    Within two years Arthur Stilwell lost control of his railroad to the Gulf of Mexico, which was taken from him by bankers over an unpaid $44 printing bill, and renamed the Kansas City Southern Railroad.  He lost Fairmount Park in the bargain.

   Unbowed, Arthur Stilwell embarked on an even bigger project: connecting Kansas City with the Pacific Ocean.  He began building the Kansas City, Mexico, and Orient Railway in 1900. Stilwell spent the next decade laying hundreds of miles of tracks throughout the Southwest and into Mexico, when the Mexican Revolution broke out in 1912.  Once again his railroad went into receivership.  Though he would lose everything, many of his investors became millionaires several times over when oil was discovered along the tracks of the railroad to the Pacific he tried to build.  One of the biggest beneficiaries of the oil money was the Kemper family of Kansas City.

   After he lost the railroad, Arthur Stilwell spent his time living in New York City and wrote several books, poems, and hymns.  He would claim that little pixies/faeries that he called “Brownies” had given him all of his ideas and inspirations. 

   Stilwell was born in Rochester, New York on October 24, 1859. He married his childhood sweetheart, Jennie Wood, and brought her to Kansas City in 1879.  He died of a stroke on September 26, 1928 in his apartment on 74th Street in New York.  Two weeks later his despondent wife Jenny threw herself from the 14th story window of that same apartment and committed suicide.

Learn more about Arthur Stilwell at Vintage Kansas City

Buried at Mt. Washington - Jim Bridger

By Scott Randolph -

   Bordered by 24 Highway, Truman Road and Blue Ridge Boulevard is the Mount Washington Forever Cemetery. Claiming some of the highest vantage points in the area, this beautifully landscaped 200 acre cemetery is an Historic Landmark originally founded as a not-for-profit cemetery in 1900 by a group of Kansas City Philanthropists.

   Among the 60,000 graves in Mount Washington Cemetery are the final resting places of some of the Kansas City area's most notable figures, including one of Kansas City's earliest residents, James Felix Bridger, known as Jim Bridger (March17, 1804-July 17, 1881). Jim Bridger was among the elite of trappers, scouts, mountain men and guides during the early decades of the 19th century.
   Bridger was of English ancestry and could trace his family roots in North America back to the early colonial period. 

Born in Richmond, Virginia, he began his career in 1822 at the age of 18, as a member of the Upper Missouri Expedition. Bridger was among the first white men to see the geysers and other natural wonders of the Yellowstone area. In 1825, he gained national fame as the first European American to explore the Great Salt Lake in what is today the state of Utah. Due to it salinity, Bridger mistakenly believed it to be an arm of the Pacific Ocean.

In 1830, Bridger, along with a business partner, opened the Rocky Mountain Fur Company to cash in on the lucrative beaver fur market. (In Europe, beaver hats had been fashionable since the 16th century. The beaver pelt was highly prized for its soft yet resilient fur. By the time of the Civil War, the beaver population in North America had been driven to near-extinction.)

   After considerable success as a fur trapper, Bridger, in 1843, established a trading post at Fort Bridger, in the southwest corner of present day Wyoming. From this location, he re-supplied Mormons traveling to the Great Salt Lake as well as pioneers heading northwest on the Oregon Trail.

   Having gained a wealth of knowledge about the country through extensive exploration, Bridger discovered what would eventually be known as Bridger's Pass in 1850. This mountain pass, through the Sierra Madre Range in Wyoming, shortened the Oregon Trail by 61 miles. Bridger Pass would later be used by the Union Pacific Railroad, and Interstate 80. In 1864, he blazed the Bridger Trail, a route from Wyoming to the gold mines in Montana. During these years, Bridger also served as a scout to the US Army in their wars against the American Natives.

   In 1868, suffering from arthritis, rheumatism and other health ailments, Jim Bridger was discharged from the US Army in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. He died on his farm just south of Kansas City, (present day 103rd Street and State Line,) in 1881, at the age of 77. Today, his final resting place at Mount Washington Forever Cemetery is marked by a towering seven foot monument of granite.
The monument faces west, befitting the trailblazer and explorer it memorializes.
Photo by Joe Calton

Camp Jackson: Fairmount Park in 1898

   In April of 1898 the United States of America declared war on Spain over Cuba.  The war lasted 112 days. 2,400 young men from the Greater Kansas City area who were members of the 3rd and 4th Regiments had been mobilized to a place called Camp Mead. Among the men went the band which had played at Fairmount Park for years.

   In September our soldiers were finally on their way home.  Finding them a place to stay while they were mustering out was a problem for the military.  Both Burge Park and Fairmount Park offered to accommodate.  Fairmount won.  A good cafĂ©, bathing in the lake and Cusenbary Spring water swayed the powers that be.

   In Camp Jackson at Fairmount Park it rained a lot.  A soldier could go home if (1) he lived locally and (2) he wasn’t in the brig.  Many were and some were fined their whole $16 a month salary.  Food wasn’t always the best or plentiful.  Some local farmers came up missing chickens, and some of the chicken thieves lost their chickens to other chicken thieves before they could cook and eat them.

   Sick Call was very popular.  A shortage of beds meant that some soldiers had to sleep on the ground, rolled up in their ponchos.

   Major Will T. Stark angered his troops when he forced them to parade by his home in Independence, a round trip of 8 miles in the rain and mud, just to impress a couple of women.
To  be continued…

Improve Your Home or Business and Pay No Real Estate Tax

  This is a great program that the city of Independence offers that some people are not aware of.
  Fairmont-Carlisle and St. Clair Park 353 tax abatement programs are open for enrollment in North West Independence areas. The Fairmont-Carlisle 353 program began in 2007, and in November of 2010 St. Clair Park opened for enrollment. To date 211 parcels are enjoying tax relief with another 165 working on their homes.

   The 353 plan offers residents an incentive to rehabilitate their homes in accordance with the guidelines of the program, and pay no real estate tax for 10 years and 50% real estate tax for the following 15 years. One still pays tax on the land.

   Every home owner should take pride in the property they invested in and keep it up.
Business owners and multi-housing are encourage to participate in this program with 10 year relief.

   For more information, please call Pat Robinson at the City of Independence, 816-325-7426, Tax Abatement Administrator, or email

By Larry Gerling, Board Member  

Free Weatherization for Home Owners

   The U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Missouri are offering free weatherization improvements to homeowners who meet certain income requirements.  Renters can also benefit from this program through cooperation with their landlords.

  Improvements can range from a tune-up of your furnace and hot water heater to a complete replacement of outdated and/or unsafe heating and cooling equipment.

   The benefits to the homeowner and the planet are immediate.  According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, a partner in the program, a home that has been weatherized can reduce fuel usage by 35 percent for the typical low income home.  They say that every $1 invested in the program returns $2.51 to the household and society through lower electric and gas bills, allowing residents to spend more money in the community.  So even if you don’t qualify for free weatherization, investments you make in updating your furnace, a/c, and hot water heater will pay off in a short period of time.
   Qualifications are based on a sliding scale, with a family of 5 with a gross income of up to $55,140 a year could benefit from this program.

   For more information contact the United Services Community Action Agency, the local non-profit agency in charge of administering the Home Weatherization Program in our area.   Their number is (816) 358-6868, or you can visit their website at

July 29, 2014

Candidates for Jackson County Legislature Debate

   The South Kansas City Alliance hosted a debate between the candidates running for  Jackson County Legislature in the 1st District At Large, which represents the Inter-City area, on July 14.

   Sherwood Smith, veteran Fire Captain, Vice President and President Emeritus of the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, and Frank White, broadcaster, T-Bones first base coach, and former second baseman for the Kansas City Royals, answered questions ranging from public transportation to Tax Increment Financing.

   Smith highlighted his experience in working with lawmakers on public safety and issues affecting first responders and their families, while White spoke of his leadership on the ball field and his work with local charitable organizations.  Read what they’ll do for the Inter-City area if elected on page 5.

Sugar Creek Asks Voters to Raise Taxes for $1.5 Million Wellness Center

   Will the residents of Sugar Creek vote to raise their property taxes by $60 a year for every $100,000 of assessed value in order to transform the old post office into a $1.5 million Wellness Center?  That’s what city officials are hoping will happen on August 5th, when Sugar Creek residents go to the polls. 

   The Wellness Center would feature exercise equipment, a group exercise room, a kitchen, child care for people working out, and restrooms with showers.  $1.5 million will only cover the cost of building the Wellness Center, but not the cost of staffing, running or maintaining it.  Those costs would be covered by membership or usage fees; the Wellness Center would not be free for Sugar Creek residents to use. 

   Citizens we spoke to were skeptical about the cost, need, and location of the proposed Wellness Center, pointing out that the city already offers free fitness classes at the gymnasium.

   Several residents we spoke to said they would gladly vote to raise taxes if Sugar Creek would bring back the municipal swimming pool, but the proposed Wellness Center does not offer swimming facilities.

   One resident, who asked not to be named, said, “Why should we give them a million and a half dollars for this, when all that land along 24 Highway is growing weeds? This was supposed to be part of the 24 Highway development we’ve already paid millions of dollars for. They tore down all those homes and businesses for a shopping center that never happened.  Now they want to raise taxes for this? Where’s the shopping center?”

Inter-City Fire Protection District

Blue Summit is the unincorporated area of Jackson County sandwiched between Independence and Kansas City.   The Inter City Fire Protection District is a small District, established in 1936, that covers that area with fire and E.M.S. coverage.    
    Chief Jeff Jewell has been the fire chief for the past eleven years and has seen his department grow and improve to and I.S.O. (Insurance Services Office ) rating of a 4.  (4 out of 10 rating)   The District covers a one square mile that overlooks Kansas City and Independence.  The Fire District built a new fire station located at 1702 Blue Ridge Blvd. in 2007, and added two ambulances in 2013. The district also started paying the Paramedics and E.M.T.s. 

   "The District has shrunk in size over the years with the expansion of Kansas City and Independence," said Jewell "but we are still providing for our area.  Inter City had a fire station in the Fairmount area for years but moved to (Dog patch) Blue Summit back in the day.  I would love to have some of the old pictures of the Fire Station and its firefighters to hang in our new station as a reminder of how things have changed."  If you have any items or pictures you would like to donate to the Inter City Fire Protection District contact Chief Jeff Jewell 816-461-9090.

July 28, 2014

Wash House Laundry - 21st Century Laundromat

  What makes Wash House Laundry, located at 11525 E 24 Highway, different from the rest?

    "Fresh Clothes Need Clean Air," it says on the door.  Unlike other area laundromats, there is no smoking allowed at the Wash House Laundry, and that’s only one of the benefits that owners Ed and Gina Reese will tell you that set the Wash House apart.

   "Our washers and driers are brand new, state-of-the-art, stainless steel Dexter Laundry machines, made in the USA by an employee owned company that’s been around for more than 100 years." Dexter washers and dryers are energy efficient – the spin cycle at 200 g-force removes more water, cutting the drying time in half.  "It’s as green as it gets," says Ed, as he point out that many area laundries are using washers and dryers that are more than 10 and 20 years old.  "The older machines use more water, more energy, they’re not as gentle on the fabrics, and they’re just not as efficient as the Dexters.  You save money, you save time, and you protect the environment."

   The Reeses completely remodeled their 24 Highway location, which was at one time a Quick-Stop gas station and had sat vacant for years. 
   Everything is brand new, with big screen HD televisions and free Wi-Fi.

  Wash House offers drop-off laundry service for 90 cents per pound. They have double and triple load machines, and 6-load large capacity machines for washing comforters and other large items.  The high efficiency Dexter commercial dryers cost 25 cents for 10 minutes, "and your clothes will dry twice as fast, saving you time and money," says Gina.

   The Reeses explain their business model to be "the Quik-Trip of Laundromats – nice, clean, and economical."  And fast.  "Come in once and you’ll be convinced!"

   Wash House Laundry is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.  They also have a 24-hour location in Buckner, Missouri.  TheyCre offering a free wash and dry for Veterans on Veterans’s Day.


Mt. Washington Senior Apartments
The Mount Washington Elementary School building, opened in 1903 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, has been rehabilitated and transformed into beautiful, spacious apartments for seniors 55 and older.  There is a library, recreation areas, a theater, laundry facilities, and many more amenities.  Call (816) 888-1414 for more information.

 Della Lamb Charter School
414 Wallace Ave, Kansas City
The old Benjamin Harrison Elementary School on Wallace Avenue, built in 1913, is under renovation and will become the home to the Della Lamb Charter School.  Middle school classes are already underway, and K-8 education will be added shortly.  Della Lamb Community Services has been working since 1897 in Kansas City to provide low income families with a variety of educational and social services.

WILLARD E. WINNER - Father of the Inter-City

   Winner Road is named after the man who brought Independence and Kansas City together, creating the "Inter-City" district, Willard E. Winner.  His Winner Investment Co. bought thousands of acres of land around the Blue River in unincorporated areas of Jackson County, and began work connecting the two cities by streetcar.
   "Winner’s Road," which was also known as Washington Park Avenue, was a wide dirt road with a streetcar track for Winner’s Kansas City, Independence, and Park Railway, which started at 15th St. and Askew and headed east to "Washington Park," an amusement park also built by the Winner Investment Co. (now Mt. Washington Cemetery). From there the "dummy line" went on along Winner’s road into the Independence Square, following the same path that Winner Road runs today.  It was called a dummy line because the trolley, consisting of two passenger cars, was powered by a steam locomotive that was covered up with a wooden box so as not to frighten the horses in traffic.

   Along Winner’s dummy line tracks grew the areas of Maywood and Englewood.

   The Winner Investment Co. didn’t just focus on the area east of the Blue River – they bought and sold land all around it, creating the areas of Centropolis, Manchester, and Sheffield.  Willard Winner was the Kansas City pioneer of selling homes on the installment plan, and Winner’s neighborhoods sprang up all over the Blue Valley area during the real estate boom of the 1880s.  He sold tracts of land to industrial developers at "bed rock prices" (at cost) "for the benefit of Kansas City."

   In 1887 Winner persuaded an investor named James Sternberg from Reading, PA to build the "KC Bolt & Nut Co." in Sheffield.  Later it would become Sheffield Steel and, after that, Armco Steel.

   Willard Winner set his sights on the Northland, and Winner Investment Co.’s North Side Syndicate acquired thousands of acres of land in Clay and Platte Counties, trying to entice capitalists from the East to build new factories there.

  In 1891 the Winner Bridge Company was building the piers for the bridge that would span Missouri River, the Winner Depot Company was building a train station, and the Winner Building Company was laying the foundation for a 9 story office building at 7th and Delaware in Kansas City when the real estate bubble burst, and the Winner Investment Co. went broke.  Winner’s many projects would be sold and completed by other companies.  The bridge he started building in 1890 would become the ASB Bridge, opening in 1911.

   Willard E. Winner was born in Fairfield, Iowa, on May 4, 1849.  His family moved to Wyandotte in 1858 when Kansas City was in its infancy. From the age of 11 Willard worked as a clerk at the McHenry, Downs & Co. store.  His family moved to Kansas City during the Civil War. He later spent 11 years working in the post office, becoming assistant postmaster.  He left that job to go into the insurance business, and soon began to build his real estate empire.  He was married in 1872 to Myra Baker, daughter of   Dr. Peter Baker.  They are believed to have had four children.  Willard Winner died while on vacation in Texas in 1929 at the age of 80. Mrs. Winner passed away the next year.

The Blue River from 15th Street -- Then and Now

Washington Park in 1894

 From the book “Kansas City’s Fairmount Park” by John M. Olinskey

   The seventh season of Washington Park (now Mt. Washington Cemetery) was the first one with a lot of money spent on improvements. Until then, it was like a 400 acre zoo with a lake, but in 1894 things changed.

   The cars going to Fairmount Park drew more patrons.  The Fairmount and Washington Parks competitive wars began in earnest in ’94, fueled by money from the Holmes family, Washington Park’s new owners. A bathing beach and bath house were built at Washington Park, costing $10,000, and a restaurant was also added.  A wild beast show appeared in June.  Sir Charles Wombell of London brought his performing leopards, and Miss Mili Nana and her hypnotic lions thrilled the people as she entered the cage blindfolded.

   A parachute leap was also on the agenda, where a lady, in full evening attire, jumped 5,000 feet from a helium balloon.  Washington Park also emulated Fairmount Park in that the water from the spring in Washington Park was sold as Bethsaida Spring Water.  It was delivered in a 400 gallon horse-drawn wagon and sold door to door.  "For a free sample call 2536."

In addition, the park also featured Shetland ponies, boats, swings, a bowling alley and a shooting gallery.  It was 15 cents round trip from Kansas City to Washington Park on the Dummy Line.
To be continued…

Growing Up in Fairmount

By W. Fred Hendrix

I consider myself lucky to have grown up in Fairmount during the 1950's. It was a great time and a great place to be a kid. We use to take long hikes in the woods and along the Mo. River. The hills over looking the river had such things as "Look Out Point", "Dead Mans Trail" and the "Jesse James Cave."

One of the great joys was the Byam Theater in Fairmount and the Saturday afternoon shows. The Shows were all black and white then and were for the most part old 30's and 40's reruns but we had never seen them before. Tarzan movies, and Westerns along with Flash Gordon and the Three Stooges. There would also be a serial where each week a chapter would be shown, leaving the hero or his girl in the face of death to be continued the next week.

Admission was 10 cents. My mom would give me 35 cents, so that left 25 cents to spend. With popcorn at 5 cents as well as pop and candy for 25 cents it was enough to treat myself and also buy for my "girl friend." It was great for the parents since they had a place to drop off the kids on a Saturday to keep them busy and out of the way and it was great for the kids to see the movies and to spend time with their friends outside of school.

Once a month or so the Byam would have a talent contest on Saturday afternoon. The girls would have little dance skits, boys would play drums or do a reading or comedy skit.The prizes were a box of popcorn or a Coke and first prize was a free ticket to next week's show. I entered and got second place with a much practiced and moving rendition of "Home on the Range."

The Byam closed in the mid 50's but by that time we were going to the Maywood and then later the Englewood, and going out at night.

It was a great time, little crime, no drugs, and cheap oil. I remember the gas wars when a gallon of gas was 8 cents a gallon. What a great time.

Buy This House, Please!

  This is not an advertisement; it’s a public service announcement.  We’ve been told that this blighted, abandoned house (and the lot next to it) on commercially-zoned 24 Highway, less than a mile east of I-435, will be up for auction by Jackson County on August 18 for unpaid back taxes. 

   If you’re interested in getting in on the ground floor of the revitalization of the “Road to Harry’s Library,” owning this piece of land could be a wise investment, and you could become a pioneer of the inevitable Independence Avenue Corridor Renaissance.  For information about Tax Sales in Jackson County, visit

Summer in the Inter-City

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver participated at the 4th of July Parade in Sugar Creek, giving candy to Azelle Guajardo, age 3, and Zoe Reiber, age 10, of Sugar Creek.

This summer’s Third Friday Art Walks will overlap with Englewood’s Gypsy Caravan antiques, crafts, and flea market, going on every Third Friday and Third Saturday through September in the Englewood Arts District.


The Inter-City News would like to thank the candidates who took the time to reply to our question. We hope that our readers will not only show up at the polls and be counted on Election Day, but that they will encourage their friends and relatives to vote as well. If you find a candidate that you feel will help the Inter-City, please support that candidate with your time and/or contributions, and by spreading the word!
THE INTER-CITY NEWS ASKED CANDIDATES:"If you are elected, what can and will you do for the Inter-City area with respect to economic development, public safety, and social services?"
Jackson County Legislature, 1st District At Large
Sherwood Smith
“I'm a 36 year member of the Kansas City Fire Department and a 23 year Captain, very familiar with the Inter-City area. If I am elected no area will feel as if they are forgotten. I will make it my mission to bring economic development to the area. You are probably saying…sure you will!! Let me tell you why I think this can be done. First, the unincorporated land area is under our jurisdiction and should be a priority. Second, Inter-City is an inner ring suburb, vital to the heartbeat of the region. I will see that Blue Summit has adequate police protection by the Sheriff’s Department and also assist the Fire Department you now have, and I would insist that all codes in the area are adhered to and work to add a County micro lending program to assist small business owners in the area."

Frank White, Jr.
"Too often the 1,000 or so folks (including many hard-working families and retirees) who call that area and its neighborhoods home feel they receive second class service from their local governments. I will support and try to increase efforts by the county’s public works department and our Sheriff’s office to identify and remove abandoned houses, along with making sure property owners maintain vacant lots keeping them mowed and free from trash and debris. I also hope to be involved in the legislature’s Land Use Committee and to look for ways to encourage clean, productive businesses to locate or expand in the area."

State Legislature, 22nd District
Brandon Ellington
"I will continue to work on incentives that promote small business growth as well as incentives for redevelopment of abandoned infrastructure. Example: I filed bills dealing with both issues:
1.The Economic Grant Program (HB1400)
2.Small business tax credit (HB 1403).
There are multiple factors we have to take into account when dealing with public safety, such as poverty, social status, mental health issues, community awareness, & blighted infrastructure.
So here are a few bills I've filed to deal with the above: Increase in minimum wage, 1 cent sales tax on guns dedicated to mental health services, certification and bonding of working inmates.
By providing a living wage you start to combat poverty, providing increased funding for mental health services you start to address issues that definitely effect public safety, certify and bonding inmates give them the ability to gain employment upon release which reduces the necessity to commit crime.
I will continue to fight for the perseverance of social programs however I feel that some of the policies have to change."

United States Congress, Fifth District
Bill Lindsay (R)
"I am prepared to lead and ready to provide the leadership needed in the Fifth district. I am a veteran of the Kansas Army National Guard and an urban teacher and debate coach who brings academic excellence into my teaching and success through my debate program. I am married and have three grown children. My education includes AA, BA and MA degrees.
I plan to introduce legislation that will bring manufacturing back to the Fifth district which will further lead to money being circulated, which will help support the infrastructure of our struggling communities. For public safety I will present legislation that will provide education on gun safety and proper usage. I will introduce legislation that will make mental health services readily available for those who can be considered threats to our communities as well as give local law enforcement training in identifying mental health risks and providing better enforcement of the threats from those who suffer from mental disorders."

Eric Holmes (D)
"No matter who promises what, the pork will run out soon. A professional politician will promise the federal government will come to the rescue. In reality the solution best passed for the Inter-City will be the solution to turn the whole economy around. Congress can lower the federal minimum wage so more people can work. Congress can eliminate barriers to investments and entrepreneurship. Congress can fund more enforcement of drug trafficking laws. Congress can stop the Justice Department from suing banks, which is drying up investment dollars. I had a chance to witness first hand the most dangerous place on earth becoming the safest place in Iraq. The solution was finding concerned citizens who stand up and make an impact. Local leaders who do volunteer to lead need to be heard and listened to. They will be the source of any lasting impact. I will work with anyone on any idea who comes forward and wants to make an impact in his home. The US cannot solve another nation’s problems; we can only assist local leaders. This is the lesson learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The same holds true in Missouri. Washington cannot solve local problems. Washington can only assist."

Bob Gough (D)
"Inter-City is an ideal community for Democratic candidates. The goal of every Democratic politician is to create a dependent, needy voter base, block economic development, and get reelected. Congressman Cleaver and all the Democratic state representatives don’t have to spend a dime campaigning in Inter-City area. The dependent voters of Inter-City give the Democratic politicians nearly every vote every election. The area is ignored by politicians because it would be politically dangerous to Democrats if the area became prosperous.
Prosperous communities like Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs have great economic development, public safety and social services. But they have Republican state representatives and Congressman Cleaver will have difficulty getting votes from these prosperous areas, but the solid Democratic votes from inter-City will more than make up for Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs votes.
The question on August fifth is: Which Democratic candidate should I vote for? Since I live in Lee’s Summit, I know what make[s] a prosperous community. Vote for Bob Gough on August fifth."