Tom Pendergast

In the wake of swirling fears about the spread of Ebola as well as Kansas cases of pertussis and measles, we look back on a pandemic that hit home for Kansas City: the Influenza pandemic of 1918. The death rate in Kansas City outpaced that in other places, and some say the city's politics and public health infrastructure were largely to blame.

1940 was a pivotal year for Kansas City. Tom Pendergast’s rule through corruption and debauchery had crumbled, leaving the new local government to reform a city hungry for jazz and liquor.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we examine how Kansas City was different in the World War II era. On the way, we take a look at how the “Paris of the Plains” changed from a den of iniquity to the city we know today.

Guest:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

City Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, turns 75 this year. It’s one of several city landmarks, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, designed by the architecture firm, Wight and Wight.

In two weeks, attorney and film maker Terence O'Malley will release his third Kansas City-centered documentary titled "Tom and Harry: The Boss and the President."