A lot can change in sixty years. In the case of the Country Club Plaza, almost everything has. We unearthed a 1962 map of the shopping district—even in the early sixties it was an established institution—and then sat about tracking down the details on what happened to every spot marked on it.
J.C. Nichols Parkway and Fountain
Renamed in 2020 with the support of the Plaza developer’s heirs because of Nichols’ role in segregating the city.
Board of Trade
For more than a century, KC was home to its own commodity futures and options exchange, which specialized in hard-red winter wheat. Redeveloped into loft apartments.
In the heyday of teenage car culture, Sidney’s was a burger and malt shop like nearby rival Winstead’s. Sidney’s closed in 1974. The site was redeveloped into Country Club Bank.
Along with Halls and Jack Henry, was one of the three anchors for the Plaza for many years. The posh retailer was a destination for luxury apparel and accessories buyers throughout the Midwest.
Furrier Donald Gerhardt’s shop closed when he retired in 1994.
Opened in 1930, this bank merged with Commerce in 1984.
At one time, a bank with drive-thru service was a novelty. That time was, of course, 2022.
Putsch’s 210 Restaurant
This fine dining restaurant was reputed to be the best in the city during the fifties and sixties and, according to a period postcard, “smartly and attractively decorated in the manner of old New Orleans.” A 1966 menu archived by the Culinary Institute of America shows everything from pan-fried calf livers to an Indian curry. The Flaming Ham Mandarin was ham in a mandarin orange sauce set on fire with orange curacao liqueur and then served over wild rice for $3.75.
The casual cousin to Putsch’s 210 was a family-style cafeteria owned by the same family. A period postcard describes the interior as having “California modern architecture.”
Emery, Bird, Thayer
This local department store traced its roots all the way back to the city’s Westport Landing days when it outfitted settlers headed west. It closed in 1968.
United Farm Agency
This real estate company launched the first national real estate catalog in 1928, aiming to help “out-of-area and urban buyers locate hard to find, more remote properties.”
John Hancock Building
This building, now known as the Plaza Corporate Centre, was not actually completed when this map debuted; it opened a year later. The building looks a lot like One Park Place to the north designed by the same architect. The exposed exoskeleton stands in stark contrast to the Plaza’s Spanish style.
This was an office for the Skelly Oil Company, which merged with Getty Oil in the late seventies.
The third concept from the Putsch family, this was the first European-style coffee shop and cafe in KC. Today, not much has changed at the Classic Cup.
The Plaza location of a Chicago-based department store.
This movie theater was among the Plaza’s top attractions in the early days before closing in 1999 while facing competition from the more modern Cinemark. The space was gutted when the ironically named Restoration Hardware took over.
Started as a hat shop in 1904, three generations of Mindlin’s ran the family’s chain of stores including this one, the first women’s specialty shop on the Plaza.
The Longhorn Bar and Trail House had menus shaped like a cowboy readying to draw. There were eight dishes, including tacos you eat with a fork and a hot prime rib sandwich.
Halls on the Plaza didn’t open until 1965. The department store was by far the most ornate in the city’s history with its inlaid Lapis floors and Baccarat crystal chandeliers. The store was closed fifty years later, as Halls moved to Crown Center.
A department store known for its line of ready-to-wear ladies’ clothing.
Now Sephora, and before that Brooks Brothers dating back to 1980. At the time it was likely Woolworth’s.
Opened in 1940, this thirty-two-lane alley installed the first automatic pinsetters in 1954—before that people reset after each frame. A local TV show, Bowlin’ with Molen, was shot here and aired for fifteen years.
This branch of venerable national department store Sears was said to be the company’s first suburban shopping center location. It included a garden store and auto repair shop.
Sears Farm Store
A standalone specialty store from Sears specializing in tractors, milkers and corn shellers.
Founded downtown in 1891 as Parisian Cloak Company at a time when ready-to-wear women’s clothing was basically unheard of, The Harzfeld’s chain was part of life in KC for almost a century.
Public Tennis Courts
Now managed by Genesis. Public pays $16 an hour.