Walk Through Kansas City History
The Plaza is an outdoor museum of romantic Spanish architecture and European art where people actually live and work every day amid its beauty. It was designed in 1922 as the nation’s first suburban shopping district. Since then, its open-air public art gallery has continuously added to its collection, with fountains, sculptures and murals that bring to the heart of our city the very best of the Old World and the new.
INTERNATIONAL WORKS OF ART ADORN PLAZA STREETS AND SIDEWALKS
Those who have traveled overseas might do a double take when they stroll past the statue of Sir Winston Churchill. Just steps away two of Spain’s landmarks–the Giralda Tower and the Seville Light — tower majestically on the horizon. Down the street in a quiet courtyard sits an original bronze of Pomona by Italian sculptor Donatello Gabrielli. Is this England, or maybe Spain, or could it be Italy? What a surprise to the traveler to find these magnificent European works of art in the heart of the Midwest — on Kansas City’s famed Country Club Plaza.
ONE MAN’S VISION SHAPES THE CITY
Before the turn of the 20th century, the Brush Creek Valley was little more than a watering hole for those on their way to somewhere else. Fur trappers, Native Americans, soldiers and early settlers all walked its banks, but their journeys took them elsewhere. Only one man had the vision to see the little valley as something more. With steadfast determination and hard work, Jesse Clyde (J.C.) Nichols changed the face of the land forever, transforming a swampy, unappealing tract of land into the country’s first shopping center, the Country Club Plaza.