Cara McClain / KCUR

Blanche Thomas wants neighbors. She has been living in the Ivanhoe neighborhood at 34th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., since 1956.

Back then, there was a grocery store and dry cleaners across the street. Houses stood on either side of hers. But now, the block looks different.

“It has changed 100 percent because in the block that I live in there are no houses,” Thomas says. “There are no people living on my block, only my son and I.”

The two apartment buildings across the street stand empty. Thomas bought the two lots on either side of her house.

Esther Honig

If you’ve ever driven around the historic 18th & Vine neighborhood in downtown Kansas City, Mo., you might have noticed what looks like a castle. It appears as though it housed Missouri royalty, but in fact this four-story structure, chiseled out of yellow limestone, was originally designed as the city jail.

Built in 1897 with the title of “workhouse castle,” it held mostly petty offenders, vagrants and debtors. As a part of their sentence these inmates were required to work. Female prisoners sewed prison uniforms and the men labored for the city’s Public Works Department.

Work began on the Kansas Capitol in October 1866 when the cornerstone was laid for the east wing. Thirty-seven years later, it was finished. The cost? $3,200,588.92.

Fast forward to today.  After 13 years and nearly $330 million, the statehouse, with its French Renaissance architecture and Corinthian details,  has undergone a renovation. 

Sheffield Cemetery

The Sheffield Cemetery is the second largest Jewish cemetery in the Kansas City area and certainly one of the oldest, but until recently, it didn't look like such an area of prestige.