Historic Northeast

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

A storefront on the corner of Brooklyn and Lexington, across the street from a Caribbean restaurant and a convenience store in Kansas City's Historic Northeast, might be an unexpected location for an art gallery. But The Source Fine Art owner Bill Heineken, who hosts his second art opening on Friday, says more artists are coming to the neighborhood.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

We've been hearing a lot about Kansas City's program to demolish or sell off dilapidated homes. Around 800 properties are on the "dangerous buildings" list and thousands more are vacant or abandoned.

The large amount of blighted homes in Kansas City has a lot to do with the housing crisis, and a lingering question is whether outside investors have been part of the problem or part of the solution.

A local contractor seeking local buyer

Cody Newill / KCUR

The city has announced plans to demolish the Royale Inn -- known to neighbors and leaders as a dangerous, crime-ridden place, not to mention a less-than-welcoming gateway to downtown when driving from the interstate onto Paseo. But while demolition may solve problems for the neighborhood, does it address underlying issues of poverty and crime, or just relocate them?


Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

For 115 years, a time capsule once stored in the cornerstone of the Thacher School in Kansas City's Historic Northeast laid dormant. But a team of historians with the Kansas City Museum opened the memento Saturday morning, finding a treasure trove of documents.

The historic school was named after Civil War major Louin Kennedy Thacher in May, 1900 and was closed by the Kansas City Public Schools in 2009. The school building was demolished last August.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

When 50 kids play a concert at the Plaza Library this weekend, it'll be one of the first public performances of a new program that provides free music education to low-income kids in hopes of improving their long-term academic performance.

The lion's share of the Sunday's Kansas City Star was devoted to a report on the Oct. 12 fire that killed two firefighters and seriously injured two others.

The headline: "Firefighters killed in alley shouldn't have been there."

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The preliminary hearing for Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of setting a fire that killed two firefighters earlier this year, has been pushed to next week.

Nguyen appeared briefly in court Thursday afternoon. Her attorney, William Shull, requested more time to prepare a request to reduce her bond of $2 million.  Jackson County Associate Circuit Judge Jalilah Otto agreed to give him more time.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The 18 employees of Snyder’s grocery store at 2620 Independence Avenue in Kansas City's Historic Northeast got paychecks this week, even though they haven’t been to work for over a month.

The family owned business just east of Paseo has been there for 48 years, and the James family has run it for the last 28.

The building sits directly east of where a deadly fire killed two firefighters on Oct. 12. The west walls of  Snyder's were totally blown out, and their entire inventory destroyed.

Aguilar Hernandez

On a sunny day, two workers had a big job ahead of them — removing the 7-foot bars that for years covered the front windows of El Paso del Norte, a bakery and taqueria on Independence Avenue in northeast Kansas City.

Mike Iniguez and his brothers run the restaurant. He says the neighborhood was “kind of sad” when his father opened the business in 1998.

It was a working class area, and many of the homes and businesses there were rundown. But low home prices drew Latinos and other immigrants to the historic neighborhood.

Esther Honig / KCUR


Standing on the corner of Armour Boulevard and Troost Avenue in Kansas City, 21 year-old Troy Robertson holds a sign that says: “My life Matters. Honk if your life matters.”

The DLC/Flickr -- CC

As one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City, the Historic Northeast has been home to immigrants, the wealthy and the white collar and blue collar communities. A longtime resident, a newspaper publisher (and co-curator of an exhibit about the Historic Northeast) and an urban design expert discuss the history and legacy of this neighborhood — as well as some upcoming changes on Independence Avenue.


Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

The notion of handguns and hookers so often linked to Independence Avenue in Kansas City, Mo. is fading. Replacing it is a lively, friendly neighborhood where a diverse population of residents and business owners are changing things altogether.


Julia Szabo / KCUR

Name: Susana Ozaeta
Number of years teaching: 1
Grade: 6th
School: Gladstone Elementary, Kansas City Public Schools

"Their eyes lit up when they knew I was from the neighborhood." 

Susana Ozaeta grew up in Northeast Kansas City. As a child of immigrants she saw how uncomfortable her Spanish-speaking mother felt at her school.

Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

Cara McClain / KCUR

Rebecca Koop stood by Saturday watching as workers carted away the boards painted with images of gigantic playing cards. The artwork had covered the windows and doors of an abandoned apartment building at 702 Indiana in Kansas City's Historic Northeast neighborhood.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

An updated computer lab at the Mattie Rhodes Center in the Historic Northeast will help Kansas City's Latino community access the technology they need for work and school.

The League of United Latin America Citizens, or LULAC, runs the Empower Hispanic America technology center housed at Mattie Rhodes, 148 N. Topping Ave, Kansas City, Missouri. AT&T donated $200,000 to LULAC to update seven of its community technology centers.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Kansas City, Mo.,  has seen a lot of development in the last few decades — downtown has a new entertainment district, a new arena and performing arts center, and the Crossroads has flourished with boutiques, restaurants, art studios and businesses.

But as the rest of Kansas City grows, the east side remains plagued by crumbling and abandoned homes, crime, and lack of access to grocery and retail.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

When national news editors review the top stories of 2014, Ebola, Isis and the World Cup might top the list.

But when we talk to editors of some hyper-local Kansas City papers, very different stories emerge.

Joe Jarosz, managing editor, Northeast News:

The Story Behind Kansas City's House Of Cards

Jul 9, 2014
Cara McClain / KCUR

Have you ever driven through the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., and seen a building with playing cards instead of windows? 

That's the house of cards, an abandoned apartment building at 7th and Indiana streets, that community members used to create public art. After a couple of years of dormancy, there's now some renewed interest to continue the effort.

Here's the story of how that project began: 

A couple years back, the Historic Northeast neighborhood in Kansas City, Mo., had a problem.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A rusted metal "No Trespassing" sign hangs on a post outside the boarded-up Thacher School in the Historic Northeast in Kansas City, Mo.

On the other side of the tall fence, the grass is neatly trimmed and the empty parking lot is litter-free. The brick exterior, once a popular canvas for graffiti artists, has been scrubbed mostly clean. A single blue doodle is the only evidence of vandalism neighbors say was once common at the vacant school.

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library / Kansas City, Mo.

Cliff Drive in Kansas City, Mo., hugs the limestone bluffs that separate the stately turn-of-the-century mansions in the Historic Northeast neighborhood from the industry and train tracks of the Missouri River bottoms.

The road was purchased from the estate of Reverend Nathan Scarritt around 1900.

Scarritt and his family were early settlers in Illinois, and moved to Missouri in the mid-1820s as pioneers.

Charvex / Wikimedia Commons

As part of KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series, Central Standard met with a handful of residents of Kansas City's historic Northeast to hear about the people and projects shaping the future of that part of town. In particular, artist Hector Casanova told us about his project working with students to transform a boarded-up old school building in the neighborhood by treating its surfaces as a giant canvas.

Russell Mondy / Flickr-CC

This year, KCUR is embarking on a project called "Beyond Our Borders," an attempt to take a closer look at the cultural and geographical borders in Kansas City.

The first border we are examining is Troost Avenue, which acts as a racial and socioeconomic dividing line in Kansas City's urban core. 

Sources affiliated with Saint Paul School of Theology say the school has negotiated a contract to sell its Truman Road campus to a prominent local social service agency. The seminary is negotiating with the Guadalupe Center’s Inc. to move into their old building.

The future of the Truman Road campus had become controversial after the  leader of a Washington D.C. coalition of social service agencies known as KC CASE filed for zoning changes in order to move into the seminary.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

When St. Paul’s School of Theology moved to Johnson County, Kansas last year, it left a beautiful, 19-acre campus in Northeast Kansas City, Mo. vacant. Now, the campus could become home to recovering prostitutes, drug and alcohol addicts, and at-risk boys. 

The city would have to rezone the area, and some neighbors aren’t happy. They believe a proposal to put a group of social service agencies on the campus will damage the neighborhood’s image and possibly jeopardize their safety.

Corner To Corner Pt. II - The Northeast

Jan 3, 2013

Getting to know Kansas City, one neighborhood at a time.