Earlier I shared the 1947 master plan for for downtown and the freeway system. Tonight as I was looking through a flash drive for something to write about, I came across some old pictures of downtown before the Paseo Bridge was built. I don't know when these were taken but I assume it had something to do with the planning for a new river crossing later to be known as the Paseo Bridge.
This is looking south from North Kansas City towards the Northeast area. City Hall and the ASB Bridge are on the right. Notice the pollution coming from the downtown power plant.
I tried replicated the shot with current aerial views but website won't let me embed it so you can compare the past to today. You will have to arrange your windown side by side after clicking the map here.
I also zoomed in and tried to label some of the north-south streets. I didn't want to block to much so you might have to strain to see the green arrow which denotes The Paseo.
The red arrow is Campbell Street which was where the east part of the loop was constructed. The yellow arrow is Gillis where people used to get down to the bottoms until the federal government tore everything down and changed the street network to build a housing project.
I couldn't go a day without a zinger about Amendment 7 so I would like to take the time to point out that the Paseo Bridge was funded by tolls and consequentially replaced with the new "Kit 'I threw an extra $50M of YOUR money at this project so it could be like a pyramid and you all worship me because I gave you back YOUR money and fool you so that you name the bridge after me' Bond Bridge."
Stop and think about that. An extra $50M for "pretty." No wonder why the federal highway trust fund and MoDOT are broke. That's over 50 small bridges elsewhere that could have been replaced. That's miles of roads that could have been overlaid. Instead we got extra pretty. Guess Bond felt inferior in the pants to former Ku Klux Klansman Senator Robert Byrd (see here) and needed some more things named after him. I mean he only had one bridge in Missouri named after him.
I also found this picture someone was using to locate the freeways in the city. This is looking north from above 17th/18th Street.
Here is what the west side of downtown looked like when it was just the Intercity Viaduct. Notice the Jetson style rendering of the building on the bluff. The picture was taken above the Missouri River and looking towards the southeast. Also note the 8th Street Tunnel that took people from the bottoms to downtown.
One thing that stands out in all these pictures is the lack of trees on the slopes. I wonder if that was because fire code and service weren't exactly reliable and people didn't want mass fire to spread all over like Chicago in 1871.
I have a bunch of other things but they warrant more time for their own post. In the meantime while it's popular to blame freeways for the de-population of the urban core, people shouldn't let "urban renewal" projects such as concentrated housing projects off the hook. Last time I drove through the area, Gillis and 4th Street is now vacant and there is nothing there.
Clip credit to Reason.tv.