Plus, Kansas City remembers it's longest-serving mayor.
 
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KC’s fabulous and forgotten fashion district
KCtoday_PetticoatLane
Postcard of Christmas crowns and decorations at 11th Street and Walnut along Petticoat Lane, 1962. | Photo via Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
Petticoat Lane.

Long-time Kansas Citians may remember the name. Others might just know the bus stop.

The modern-day stretch of 11th Street between Main and Grand resembles the rest of downtown — skyscrapers housing office space and apartments galore — but it holds a glamorous history.

The inconspicuous street was once home to Kansas City’s premier shopping and fashion district, long before big-box malls and the Country Club Plaza stole its thunder.

PL02.jpg

No one is sure why it’s named Petticoat Lane, but I bet it was a pretty good place to find a petticoat back in the day.

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Photo via Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

Stroll down memory lane

In 1889, construction began on KC’s first department store, Emery, Bird, Thayer & Co. (EBT). It was a six-story mega-storefront on 11th Street featuring the turn-of-the-century’s most fashionable shopping experiences:
  • 403 windows
  • 485 decorative columns
  • 10,000 feet of counter
  • Ladies reception parlor
  • Grand staircase
  • Three elevators
  • Tea room
  • Pneumatic tube cash system
KCtoday_Harzfeld's

Harzfeld’s had a nationally marketed line of clothing named Petticoat Lane, and claims its founder, Siegmund Harzfeld, coined the name.

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Photo via Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

Soon, other stores started popping up on this small stretch of street. The Parisian Cloak Company, later known as Harzfeld’s, opened in 1891 to sell the finest ready-made women’s and children’s clothing. Hallmark also got its department store start here in 1916, creating modern-day wrapping paper.

Season’s end at Petticoat Lane

Glitz and glamour proved no match for convenience as shoppers were lured south by shorter drives and easier parking. The Country Club Plaza’s boom in the 1940s and the arrival of suburban shopping malls in the 50s were the final nails in the coffin for Petticoat Lane. EBT closed in 1968, Herzfeld’s closed in 1984 + commercial office buildings and parking lots took over the once bustling home of Kansas City fashion.

Nowadays, the history of Petticoat Lane lives on in the Kansas City Public Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collection, where you can find photographs and more from this special moment in Kansas City’s retail legacy.

Do you have memories of the former iteration of Petticoat Lane? Let us know and we might feature you in a future article.
 
Events
 
Friday, Dec. 1
  • Creative Connections Breakfast | Friday, Dec. 1 | 8-10 a.m. | Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS | $25 | Hear about the state of the arts in Johnson County over breakfast with local artists and community leaders.
  • 56th “Nutcracker Ball” Gala | Friday, Dec. 1 | 6 p.m. | Crown Center, KCMO | Put on your dancing shoes for an evening with the Kansas City Ballet Guild, with performances from KC Ballet School students + local band Kokomo.
  • Common Ground Kansas City Premiere | Friday, Dec. 1-Saturday, Dec. 2 | Times vary | Glenwood Arts Theater, 3707 95th St., Overland Park, KS | $12 | Attend the Kansas City premiere of the newest environmental documentary with a Q&A from farming experts to follow.
Saturday, Dec. 2
  • DevFest KC | Saturday, Dec. 2 | 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. | UMKC Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., KCMO | $30-$40 | Immerse yourself in the latest trends and technologies at the city’s premier tech event, featuring exciting talks, workshops, and networking opportunities.
  • Divine Nine Holiday Affair 6 | Saturday, Dec. 2 | 8 p.m.-2 a.m. | Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway Rd., KCMO | $25-$200 | Groove with KC’s alumni Greeks along with urban professionals citywide.
Sunday, Dec. 3
  • Kansas City Comets vs. St. Louis Ambush | Sunday, Dec. 3, Thursday, Dec. 28 | Times vary | Cable Dahmer Arena, Independence, MO | $20-$50 | Cheer on KC’s men’s indoor soccer team against their cross-state rival.
  • Historic Middle School Book Club | Sunday, Dec. 3 | 4:30-5:30 p.m. | Alexander Majors House Museum, 8201 State Line Rd., KCMO | Free | Middle schoolers from around the KC area will gather to discuss a historically themed book.
  • KC Game Day Experience | Sunday, Dec. 3 | Times vary | KC Live! Block, KCMO | Free | Root on the Chiefs alongside fellow fans as they face the Green Bay Packers.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Open
  • Jollof rice, samosas, shawarma — need I say more? West African food is coming to KCMO thanks to Teetasty (3711 Southwest Trafficway), open today.
Legacy
  • Kansas City’s longest-serving mayor, Richard Berkley, died on Wednesday at 92. His tenure saw steady growth in the city including $1.3 billion approved for expansion of Bartle Hall + the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium and the Jazz Hall of Fame. (KCUR)
Sports
  • The Royals tagged Joe Dillon as their newest Assistant Hitting Coach for the 2024 season. Dillon was a 7th-round draft pick for the Royals in 1997 and played for five different organizations before beginning his coaching career in 2014.
Drink
  • ICYMI — Vine Street Brewing Co. and the Kansas City Public Library teamed up to create One for the Books. The beer is part of the library’s 150th anniversary celebration. Get your own can at the official celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the library’s Plaza branch (4801 Main St.). (Flatland News)
Community
  • Summer dreaming > winter blues. Adventure Oasis (2100 Hub Dr.) is welcoming non-residents back to the popular Independence water park this summer. Day passes will be $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. (FOX4)
Coming Soon
  • Rendezvous Climbing Gym is rising to new heights as it plans to open a storefront early next year in Leawood (13124 State Line Rd.). The gym will focus on “bouldering,” a type of rock climbing that doesn’t require ropes or harnesses, and will feature a cafe, gift shop and gaming area. (Blue Valley Post)
 
 
Holiday
 
🎄 Tell me I’m ugly
Picture of a crowd of people in sweaters listening to music on stage
There’s nothing ugly about this scene. | Photo via Ramsey Mohsen
What started 19 years ago as a house party in Brookside is now the largest, longest-running ugly sweater event in the world (according to its founders + the Travel Channel).

Dust off your Rudolphs and breakout the tinsel. The Ugly Christmas Sweater Celebration is today, Dec. 1 at The Truman (601 E. Truman Rd., KCMO). Doors open at 7 p.m.

Get on Santa’s nice list by attending — 100% of sales go directly to Operation Breakthrough. The organization, which helps children experiencing poverty in KC, provides hundreds of families with a meal on Christmas and toys under the tree.

“It’s just my friends and I hustling to figure out how to promote and raise as much awareness and proceeds to Operation Breakthrough,” founder Ramsey Mohsen told us.

Expect a Merry Country Christmas with this year’s headliner, award-winning country music duo Maddie & Tae.

General admission starts at $30, with VIP tickets priced at $75 (including drinks).
 
The Buy
 
Only the perfect gift for cat lovers.
 
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The Wrap
 
Madison-McMillen.png Today’s edition by:
Madison
From the editor
Editor Charmaine’s holiday must-watch movies from the other day got me thinking...

Does anyone remember “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” the 1945 movie staring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman as a priest and a nun who try to save their beloved school from being shutdown?

It’s barely a Christmas movie (there’s a plot point about a gift and a side scene with a Christmas pageant) and yet, it is my family’s ultimate holiday film.

Fun Fact: The movie was featured in both “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Godfather” (yes, that one).

Tell me about your family’s holiday deep-cuts.
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