Kansas City Athletic Club Records (KC0153)
In 1887, when Arthur E. Stillwell developed Fairmount Park between Kansas City and Independence, he included athletic facilities on the site. To encourage their use, the Fairmount Cycling Club was formed. The Club flourished and in 1893 changed its name and structure to become the Kansas City Athletic Club, a $50,000 stock corporation. In 1899, it was incorporated with a purpose "to provide and maintain a club house and gymnasium for the lawful and rational amusement of its members and for the encouragement and promotion of athletic and field sports." A rise in membership and stature took place in the first years of the twentieth century as KCAC athletic teams, especially basketball teams, drew national attention in various tournaments.
Following World War I, membership surged and the Club looked for a new home. A twenty-two story hotel structure at the corner of Eleventh and Baltimore in downtown Kansas City had been started but never completed. The KCAC acquired rights to the structure, completed it, and opened their new facility as a club and residential hotel in 1923. During the 1920s the club flourished, membership grew and the organization was financially sound. The onslaught of the Great Depression caused membership to decline with a resulting decline in the ability to meet expenses of the building. On December 1, 1932, the Continental Building Company assumed management of the structure with the athletic club retaining six of the twenty-two floors for its use. The Continental Building Company operated the remainder of the structure as a hotel. The Kansas City Athletic Club continued to attract national attention in several sports including swimming and handball. The club served its membership with a sports and fitness program especially for businessmen and their families. In 1982, the Continental Hotel closed and the structure was completely remodeled as the Mark Twain Tower. The Kansas City Athletic Club retains use of several floors of the structure and continues to serve its members as a health and fitness club.
These records consist of three volumes of monthly journal reports on the financial status of the building's operation. The monthly reports show income and expenses for such things as advertising, catering, rooms, insurance, debt retirement, and the bar. A fourth volume is a time record book for employees. Employees are named, the number of days they worked and in what section of the hotel is noted, but no information on rates of pay or total earnings is included. 1931-1942.
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updated: Monday, February 07, 2011
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