Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One Ballroom, Many Lives

This downtown Kansas City building has more lives than a cat. Originally it was to be a hotel but construction was begun in 1912 but not completed. The Kansas City Athletic Club then bought the unfinished structure and completed it in 1923. It remained the club until bought by the Continental group which converted the structure to a hotel.... the Athletic Club remained in the building until the 60s or 70s when it moved to Kansas City Kansas. During the Continental period the Kansas City Playboy Club was on the 22nd floor. Purchased again the building was refurbished for office space and is now known as the Mark Twain Tower. Now under new management several new leases have been signed.

The elegant room shown below was the ballroom for all the buildings incarnations. Today it is the Sawyer Room and is popular for weddings and other events. Each of the windows in the room has a unique design/logo in the center. I'm assuming those date to the Athletic Club Days and are logos for different teams.... although if someone knows for sure help me out!

President Truman used the club regularly before, during and after his Presidency. He was very keen on physical fitness.

Remnants of the old club facilities remain and the current management hopes to restore some to their former glory.

Below is first the exterior of the building at 11th and Baltimore. Then the entryway. The Ballroom takes up the fifth and sixth floors.

More pictures later including rooftop views (if we EVER get warmer weather). The building is the 20th tallest building in Kansas City at 24 floors.

Many thanks to Daw├▒a the building manager who allowed me to photograph this treasure!


  1. you get into all the cool places

  2. I googled IAC and LAAG but came up empty. There is an Internation Association of Coaching, but I can't find out how old it is.

  3. My quick search of the Missouri Valley collection didn't turn up anything about those abbreviations either, but there is a whole file on the club in the collection. I don't have time to go down there and look at it. Maybe someone else does.

  4. I have a whole list for the next time I'm in Mo Valley Room... it certainly is easier to find stuff than to find out what it is.....