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July 8, 1909


Band Music and Flag Raising Pro-
gramme for North End Model
Recreation Park.

There will be many smiling little faces in the North End next Tuesday. This will be the opening of the city's first model playground at Independence avenue and Charlotte street. In the morning there will be a flag raising in which the children will participate. In the evening a band will be on hand to make music for the occasion.

The grounds are situated on a lot 85 x 100 feet. On it is a pretty shelter house, 20 x 75 feet, where children may play out of the sun and where mothers of the neighborhood may rest in the evenings. The place may also be used for neighborhood meetings.

There will be eight shower baths with hot and cold water, an indoor baseball and basket ball court, sand pits where the children may jump, and sand piles where the little ones may play and make tunnels. There will also be teeter-totters, a merry-go-round, a giant slide, hickory turning poles and rings. In all there will be twelve pieces of the most modern outdoor playground apparatus. All of this was made possible by money furnished by the Kansas City Playgrounds Association. The K. C. A. C. will furnish a male director and the Kansas City Women's Athletics club will furnish a young woman to look after the instruction of the girls on the playgrounds.

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March 5, 1908


Will Be Held in Convention Hall
Some Time in May.
A track meet to be held in Convention hall some time in May, in which the school children of Kansas City will participate, is now proposed for the benefit of the Public Play Grounds Association. The principals of sixteen of the Kansas City ward schools, accompanied by Superintendent J. M. Greenwood and Dr. Fred Berger, physical director of the public school, met at Convention hall at 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon in conjunction with a committee of the play grounds association and discussed the feasibility of the plan.

Superintendent Greenwood was heartily in favor of the plan, and it was upon his suggestion that a committee of the principals will be named to work in conjunction with a committee of the play grounds association. Superintendent Greenwood will name a committee of five today or tomorrow.

The plan is to have the children of the public schools from the fifth to the seventh grades compete in this meet All kinds of races will be run, including the relay and the medicine ball. A similar plan has been successfully carried out in New York and Buffalo, and Martin Delaney, physical director at the Kansas City Athletic Club, believes that it may be just as successful here. One of the women principals who attended the meeting yesterday afternoon suggested that the girls should not be left out of the meet, and it is probable that they will be included in athletic sports of some kind. Prizes will be awarded in all the events, and in this manner it is believed that the considerable rivalry may be worked up between the various schools.

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January 24, 1908


Alaskans Were Looking for Cold,
Italians for Warmth.

"Five nice cold rooms, please, with a draft in each."

The keeper of the register in the Savoy hotel dropped his pen and straightened to face ten men in double fur coats standing by the counter.

"Yes, we want cold rooms," resumed the spokesman. "We're the basketball team from Nome, Alaska. At the athletic club tonight, you know."

"All right," says the clerk, "and if the row on the top floor facing north doesn't suit, I'll have beds made up in the roof garden."

The next comers were members of the Italian grand opera company, which sings at the Willis Wood this week's end.

"It iss so cold here," said a little miss with her chin drawn down into her fur boa. "You have the very warm rooms for us, is it not?"

"Yes," said the clerk.

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November 6, 1907


Special Performance by Houdini at the
Athletic Club To-Day.

Houdini, whose performance at the Orpheum consists in releasing himself from handcuffs and manacles of other kinds, will give a special exhibition at the Athletic club at 12:15 o'clock to-day. Handcuffs will be placed about his wrists and leg manacles about his ankles. He will then jump into the deepest part of the pool and attempt to release himself from the shackles under water. Houdini has performed this feat in other cities, having jumped from bridges while wearing handcuffs and manacles of other kinds.

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May 9, 1907



Miss Aurora Wittebart Believed
To Have Perished in the
Doomed Structure

Through Blinding Smoke Fight for Life Waged.

The University building, at the northtwest corner of Ninth and Locust streets, was totally destroyed by fire yesterday afternoon, causing a loss of $125,000 on the building and resulting in the death of Professor Georges De Mare, head of the art department in Central high school, who jumped or fell from a window on the fourth floor of the burning building.

The body of Miss Aurora Wittebart is supposed to be still in the ruins.

The loss to the various tenants cannot be known with any degree of definiteness for some time. With the exception of Montgomery Ward & Co., who occupied the first two floors, most of the occupants of the building were musicians and artists. The Radford pharmacy occupied the room at the corner of Ninth and Locust, and the Kindergarten Supply Company occupied the room immediately to the west of the pharmacy.

The fire caused more excitement than any which has occurred in Kansas City in years, owing to the ancient architecture of the building and the large number of women who had studios in the building, and the fact that several hundred girls were employed by Montgomery Ward & Co. There were many sensational escapes and displays of heroism, the most notable being the rescue of Miss S. Ellen Barnes, a music teacher, by Fireman Charles Braun.

She Died of Suffocation?

Death by suffocation is thought to have been the fate of Miss Aurora Wittebart, and artist who had an office in the fifth floor of the building, and was there when the fire started. She was last seen by Miss Barnes just as Professor de Mare jumped to his death. She is thought to be the woman Mr. Farrel saw with de Mare, as he groped his way through the smoke to safety. De Mare leaped to death from a window leading out of her studio.

Miss Wittebart is the daughter of a glass manufacturer who lives at Coffeyville, Kas. She was only 22 years of age, and had been studying art and painting in Kansas City for several months, and was to have been married to George Jackson, an employe of the Missouri-Kansas Telephone Company.

Last to See Miss Wittebart.

"Just before I learned that the building was on fire Professor de Mare was in my studio," said Miss Helen Barnes last night. "We were talking about music and art, and finally he arose to go, saying that he was expecting a visitor in his studio. He walked to the door and opened it. A gust of black smoke burst through the open door, and it was then we realized that the building was on fire. Professor de Mare called to me to get out of the building immediately and started down the hall. I started to follow, but soon realized that I could not find my way through the dense smoke. I went to a window from where I saw Miss Wittebart standing at a window on the floor below. She was near the rear fire escape and I supposed she had descended. Professor de Mare had opened a window and was preparing, I thought, to mount the landing of a fire escape. I returned immediately to my studio and, raising a window, made a feeble attempt to call for help. the smoke strangled me, and I threw my purse out to attract the people below. That was needless, though, for I had been seen by the firemen, and at that time ladders were being rapidly placed to reach me. I saw the fireman who rescued me climbing upward. There was determination in his manner, and I seemed to realize when I looked upon his smoke-begrimed, upturned face that he would surely reach me. It was his determined look that strengthened me and seemed to give me new courage."

Cleveland Laid Cornerstone.

The building was constructed nearly twenty years ago for the Y. M. C. A., Grover Cleveland laying the cornerstone in 1887 during his first term as president. It cost $112,000, and after the Y. M. C. A. was compelled to relinquish it the building passed into the possession of the Pepper estate, being in turn sold to the Sunny Slope Realty Company. There was an insurance of $72,000 on the structure.

The first alarm was turned in a few minutes before 3 o'clock by O. W. Hoover, proprietor of the Kindergarten Supply House, next door west from the drug store on the corner. Mr. Hoover heard the girls employed by Montgomery Ward & Co. hurrying down the stairs and out of the building and soon afterwards smelled the smoke. He called up the fire department and was informed that no alarm of fire had yet been turned in. Mr. Hoover thereupon turned in the alarm.

Dr. William West, formerly a fireman and later a police surgeon, who ha an office in the Rialto building, saw the smoke pouring form the building and was one of the first physicians to reach the scene of the fire. He attended Fireman Braun, who rescued Miss Barnes, and did valiant and effective service throughout the fire in extending first aid to the injured.

300 Girls in a Panic.
The fire started in a pile of 8,000 pounds of hemp rope, which was stored in the pit of the building. Until recently the Kansas City Athletic Club had occupied the premises and it had made the basement and main floor a single room. Around this room ran a balcony. Montgomery Ward & Co. were occupying the room and in it they had a pile of hemp stored for immediate use. Without any warning whatever smoke began issuing from it and a crackling sound was heard. There were some of the 300 girls the mail order house employed in the Kansas City general offices, within two feet of the rope, and scores of them within sight. Immediately on hearing the sound of the crackling and seeing the little jets of smoke at the same moment, the girls began to tell each other there was a fire, and precipitously prepared to leave the place. O. Q. Massey and J. M. Miller, clerks, at the same time made a rush for the starting fire and tried to trample it out. Despite their efforts the fire gained on them, jets coming from twenty parts of the pile. A rumor that someone had stepped on a match, igniting it, is completely discredited by the evidence given by a dozen or more clerks who were sitting in the pit where the hemp blazed.

While Henderson, Massey and Miller were trying to stamp the fire out, Mrs. Lucille Baker, in charge of the squad in that particular room, began getting her forty subordinates out of the place. Manager W. P. Walker had 200 girls at work in what once was the swimming pool. Their only avenue of escape was to walk toward the burning hemp and up a temporary staircase. In the most amazing manner, the manager succeeded in getting the clerks to stand perfectly still until they could march out of the place in twos, and in that manner he got every one of the 200 out of the pit and to the street level without the slightest confusion. There was every possibility of a jam at the staircase, which could only have resulted in a great loss of life.

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January 24, 1907


Bumps Were Frequent at Convention
Hall Last Night.

One of the most noticeable things at a skating rink is the strong attraction of the Human body and the floor. --Bill Nye.


This was heard around 8 o'clock last evening above the steady rumble of skaters gliding over Convention hall floor. It was J. A. Runyan, who, for the first time in twenty years, put on a pair of roller skates at the skating party given by the directors of Convention hall to members and the families of members of the Commercial Club, the Mercantile Club, the Manufacturers and Merchants' Association and the Kansas City Athletic Club.

There were more than 3,000 who attended this gathering and more than 900 disported themselves on the floor--some like Mr. Runyan. In the crowd were old men with bald heads, fat men, young men and boys, as well as girls and women of many ages, sizes and proportions.
An exhibition in fancy skating was given by Miss Lucille Landsdowne, a professional, and a game of broomball was played between two picked teams, neither of which scored. "Kid" Nichols, of baseball fame, refereed.

A match race between George H. Teftt, president of the Manufacturers and Merchants' Association, and O. V. Dodge, president of the Commercial Club, was scheduled, but Mr. Dodge was out of the city. The party was given as an opening event after the two weeks' cessation of skating at the hall while the Implement Men's convention and the Chicken show was in progress.

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