News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 28, 2012
Public invited to City Hall’s 75th birthday celebration
The City of Kansas City, Mo., invites all community leaders, residents, businesses and the general public to join in the celebration of City Hall’s 75th birthday on Thursday, Dec. 6 from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. This free event will take place at the first floor rotunda of City Hall, 414 E. 12th St.
Guests can enjoy light refreshments, including punch and cake in the shape of City Hall, while listening to entertainment provided by local musician Will Matthews, guitarist for the Count Basie Orchestra.
Mayor Sly James, City Manager Troy Schulte and City Architect Eric Bosch will share brief remarks beginning at 11 a.m. Guests may also browse display cases featuring information and artifacts related to City Hall history.
“The present City Hall has endured the test of time; it is a fully functional and monumental building that has served our residents every day for the last 75 years,” said City Manager Schulte. “While some communities have built new city halls, Kansas City is one of a few large cities that has maintained its City Hall, choosing to leave a historical legacy for our residents for years to come.”
City Hall’s 75th birthday is especially remarkable considering that City Hall received ENERGY STAR certification earlier this year, an honor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives to buildings that meet the strictest energy efficiency performance levels.
“The City has made a commitment to renovating City Hall to sustainable standards,” Facilities Manager Robert Rives said. “In the past year, we’ve added efficient pumps and motors, installed new energy-efficient lighting and created more opportunities for nature light to come in through the windows.”
As a result of this past year’s renovations, City Hall energy consumption was reduced by 14 percent, or approximately $135,600 annually. City staff will continue City Hall renovations, adding LED lights and more efficient mechanical systems, while replacing inefficient plumbing pipes.
While the City looks to the future of this historic building, it’s also an appropriate time to reflect on its rich past in honor of its 75th birthday.
The first Kansas City, Mo., City Hall was built in 1857 – and later rebuilt in 1889 -- on the northwest corner of Fourth and Main streets in the River Market. As part of a Depression-era “Ten-Year Plan” bond program, a new City Hall building was constructed at its present site, 414 E. 12th St., and dedicated in 1937. The architect was Wight and Wight and the general contractor was Swenson Construction.
The new structure was considered an engineering masterpiece: it contained 6,800 tons of steel, 7,800 tons of stone and 20,000 cubic feet of concrete. City Hall was designed in a neo-classic or beaux arts architecture and is most noted for its art deco details and ornamentation. This is evident in City Hall’s sculpted brass elevator doors depicting the City’s major modes of transportation; elaborate light fixtures in the lobby; and custom brass doorknob plates.Outside, at the top floor of the six-story base, windows are replaced with a frieze of relief sculptures depicting the early settlement and growth of the Kansas City area.
Comprising 29 stories plus a 30th-story observation deck, City Hall is the one of the tallest buildings in the city. It measures 443 feet from the sidewalk at the north door to the top of the building. When first built, it was the tallest building in the state. It remains one of the tallest city halls in the country, housing hundreds of City government employees.
For more information or media inquiries about City Hall’s 75th birthday celebration or City Hall history, please contact City Architect Eric Bosch at 816-513-2517.