My summer got off to a strong start this year with my only proper vacation travel of the season. For the past several years my sister has invited me out to her in-laws’ Colorado cabin, and I was finally able to accept the invitation this past May. Before making the trek out to the Centennial State I went to Kansas City to spend a couple of days with my sister and her husband (on their respective birthdays, no less).
For a fun outing and activity on her birthday my sister elected for a driving tour focused on the history of racial and spatial segregation in Kansas City (finding a nice connection to my own interests). To facilitate this tour she used a custom GPS-enabled audio program from an app called VoiceMap. This program, entitled “Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City”, was produced by the Johnson County Library as part of its “Race Project KC.” The roughly 90-minute audio tour includes explanatory host narration, audio from interviews with KC residents and historians, and a backing soundtrack sourced from local musicians. The audio segments are linked to GPS coordinates and interspersed with plain-spoken navigational instructions to help facilitate the self-directed audio tour.
It was an awesome, well-produced audio tour; I learned a lot about KC’s development history while also getting to see a lot of the city. One of the stops along the route was a house where Walt Disney’s family lived. I usually imagine Disney’s trajectory as moving from Marceline, Missouri directly to Los Angeles, forgetting that Kansas City came in between.
The route for the audio tour took us along the Paseo (and we did pause the app to listen to Tech N9ne’s eponymous anthem while driving down the boulevard). I asked my sister to pull over where the Paseo intersects Linwood Boulevard because I spotted a building that looked like a Masonic lodge (I am an aficionado of Masonic architecture). It was indeed a Scottish Rite temple so I walked around and took pictures.
Another point of interest along the Paseo is the 18th and Vine Historic District. I’ve been here on previous KC trips to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
What I hadn’t realized is that just one street over from the Museum are installations commemorating the former location of Municipal Stadium, a ballpark that hosted an array of Kansas City teams in its history including the Monarchs, Royals, Athletics, and Chiefs.
After a little more Kansas City sightseeing it was time to continue onward to the mountains for the next part of trip.