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Chimneys & Fireplaces of Kansas City, MO
By. Robert Berry, Owner of Full Service Chimney
“Kansas City’s fireplaces and chimneys have always been inseparable”
Kansas City Winters are Special with Loves Ones Around the Fire
From the days of a trading post on the bank of the Missouri River to today with friends and family enjoying a cool evening together, the families of Kansas City know moments by the hearth of the home are the best. The history of Kansas City settlers, set in the climate of the central US has had chimneys, fireplaces, and wood stoves as a part of its culture. First, they were used as a source of heat to survive the harsh winter and for the preparation of the evening meal and in more recent years they serve as the home’s cozy gathering place for the making of special moments with loved ones. Few homes in Kansas City are without a hearth to make a house a home.
Many of the Chimneys were Built by Immigrant Craftsmen
With the attraction of a robust economy and the opportunity to have one’s work ethic rewarded, Kansas City, MO was the choice of many craftsmen and women to settle when they came to call America home. The skills and traditions can be seen in the homes and chimneys built in the early 1900s. It was unthinkable to build a chimney or fireplace that only served a basic purpose. Even in the modest neighborhoods, the nature of the corbeling brickwork and ornamental tilling of the fireplaces were always included, a sure sign that this hearth was built by someone who valued the rich traditions of craftsmanship. As a testament to their talent, even one hundred years later, those hearths and homes remain.
Old Chimneys Need a Friend
The utility flues common in Kansas City, MO do the job of venting the gas appliances in the basement. These chimneys were state of the art at the time, utilizing the newly available clay flue tiles. However, many of these clay flue liners originally had boilers and gravity furnaces that burned oil and coal. Coal and oil combustion produce an exhaust rich in sulfur byproducts that perforated the liners and brickwork. Starting in the 1950s, natural gas became available in some neighborhoods and is now the only fossil fuel available citywide. Deterioration of these chimneys was the result of earlier sulfur deposits coupled with the heavy moisture content of the natural gas exhaust. The result is a premature failure of the liners and the chimneys that support them.
Full Service Chimney Knows Old Chimneys
Fireplaces and chimneys of Kansas City, MO are of a historic nature and care should be taken to ensure their longevity. Full Service Chimney is the Kansas City chimney expert. Having been in business for three decades, we’ve restored and maintained thousands of chimneys across the metro. Whether your home is of recent construction or you are the caretaker of one of the home’s of yesteryear, allow Full Service Chimney to assist in keeping your home and hearth safe for years to come.
A Quick History of Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, MO has been a host of trade, development, and political divide since its very beginning. What is now a first-class city, originated as a trading post off of the Missouri River. A Frenchman named Francois Chouteau established the post in 1821. Shortly after, John Calvin McCoy saw an opportunity to link the river landing to the Santa Fe Trail just a few miles south of the river with a general store. He saw the store as a sort of portal to the western frontier and named it “Westport”. The farm that the supply port was on was eventually purchased by 14 men. After they debated the name, including the options “Possum Trot” and “Rabbitville”, the Town of Kansas was named after the native Kansa Indians. The town was incorporated in 1850 by Jackson County, then by the state in 1853 when it became the City of Kansas. Officials finally landed on the name Kansas City in 1889.
The population had grown from 400 in 1840 to 2,500 in 1853. Kansas City was on the border of the new union state of Kansas so citizens had to decide if they wanted to be a free-state or a slave state. Free-staters migrated to the Kansas side of the border, and those in favor of slavery stayed on the east side of the border. The Civil War caused bloody events within the city. First, the Quantrill Raiders retaliated for the collapsed Union jail housing Confederate soldier’s wives by attacking the city. Then, during The Battle of Westport, the two sides fought which resulted in a Union win and broke the Confederate power in the area.
After the war, Congress passed a bill in 1869 to build a bridge crossing the Missouri River. This allowed Kansas City, to dominate trade in the area. Promising economic opportunities brought more growth to the city and along with it, influential figures who left their mark on the city’s history. William Rockhill Nelson bought the Kansas City Star and used the medium as a way to build interest in the community’s growth, which led to major buildings and the donation of land for Swope Park.
Mr. Nelson left his mansion to build the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum as well. Among other dominant figures in history were the Pendergast brothers, James and Tom. James became involved in politics in the 1890s until his death in 1912 when his brother sought power. Tom eventually became chair of Jackson County Democratic Club. This position led to him having a hand in everything in the city from electing officials to running illegal businesses. “Tom’s 10 Year Plan” helped Kansas City feel less of the effects of the Great Depression through construction projects and development that kept the economy alive. However, despite the good that Pendergast did for the city, the corrupt administration he helped elect allowed organized crime and mafias to run wild with no repercussions.
As the population increased, so did crime and community developers built outside the city. One well known real estate developer, J.C. Nichols, was the spearhead of this movement. He helped build the Country Club Plaza, a shopping center for wealthy families in the 1920s. By the 1960s when the city was so-called “desegregated”, Nichols built communities to attract white families. To this day, Kansas City is still struggling with the results of this segregation called the “Troost Wall”. The name refers to Troost Avenue that separates the well maintained and prosperous west side of Troost, and the impoverished and economically neglected east side.
In its nearly 200 years since being established, Kansas City has annexed more land in all around the city and now spans parts of four counties and 319 square miles with a population of about 489,000 people. Although the population has steadily increased, the city has approximately 15,000 vacant homes. Due to its central location within the country, accessibility to railroads, interstates, and the attractive installation of Google Fiber, there are many national headquarters located in Kansas City. Current city officials recognize the potential for growth within the city and have worked hard to bring in new infrastructure and amenities to support the vision. Despite its problems and obstacles, Kansas City, MO is proud of its strong cultural identity centered around professional sports, barbecue, Jazz, and the arts.
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