18th and Vine

Credit Neil Nakahodo for KCUR

  

In this ongoing series, KCUR 89.3 explores the past, present and future of the historic 18th and Vine District. 

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

For years, the old YMCA building was an eyesore at the entrance of the 18th and Vine District. But over the last few years, the façade has been restored and the windows replaced. And, on the south wall, a giant mural has gone up of the legendary baseball player, coach and keeper of the Negro Leagues flame Buck O’Neil. 

The Negro Leagues got their start in Kansas City, when eight independent black baseball teams met at the Paseo YMCA in 1920. Buck O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and had a major role in opening the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

For more than eighty years, the small two-story building at 1823 Highland Avenue has been the heart of Kansas City jazz. 

Singer Myra Taylor was one of the last living links to Kansas City's jazz heyday of the 1930s. Taylor died Friday, December 9, 2011 at the age of 94.

According to The Kansas City Star:

Taylor had been under hospice care at the Swope Ridge Geriatric Center, 5900 Swope Parkway, for more than three months, said her manager, Dawayne Gilley. Her final performance was July 24 at Jardine’s, 4536 Main St., where she performed with the Wild Women of Kansas City, a jazz vocal quartet.

    

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