Thursday, July 3, 2014

Feel OK, Only Nervous

Postmarked 3 July 1947
Kansas City, Missouri
Sold by Max Bernstein, Kansas City Missouri
Printed by "Colorpicture," Boston, Massacussettes 

Postcard Caption:
FRONT: Union Station and Skyline Kansas City, Missouri (16100)
BACK: Kansas City's impressive skyline is indicative of the industry and culture found in "The Heart of America", one of the world's richest agricultural areas. Kansas City is famous for its meat and other vital foot processing and shipping facilities, and is one f the nation's most important war industry centers. Union Station, foreground, served by 12 trunkline railway systems, is one of the busiest terminals in the nation.

Postcard Message:
Arrived in KC a little after 5. Bus leaves at 5:15. Have ---. Feel OK only nervous. Hope you are O.K. Write. / Love, G---
"View of Union Station and Downtown Kansas City by Jesper Rautell Balle
is licensed under CC-BY-3.
When an earlier train station was destroyed in the flood of 1903, railroad executives decided to rebuild on higher ground. In 1914, Kansas City's Union Station opened to great fanfare. The Interweb tells me that the building was designed in the beaux-arts architectural style popular in the United States between 1890 and 1930.

At the end of World War II, over 600,000 passengers passed through the station but by the 1970s, as train traffic declined, only 30,000 people were using the station each year. The retail and restaurants in the station closed.

To revitalize the station, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, Kansas City signed a contract with a developer. The hoped for revitalization did not emerge, and the building was empty for most of the late 1970s, 80s, and 90s as the city and development firm wrangled in court.

When the lawsuit was settled in 1994, a non-profit organization, the Union Station Assistance Corporation (USAC), was established to manage the site, and in 1996 voters in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri and Johnson County in Kansas approved a sales tax to redevelop the site and create a science museum.

Since then, Union Station has provided a home to the science museum, traveling exhibits, and a number of companies that lease office space. Amtrak started offering service from the station in 2002, after a 17 year absence. Most recently, the renovated Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre reopened to screen first run movies, documentaries, and can even accommodate live streams for conferences and special events.


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