..The founding of
the Kansas City Club in 1882 was a good sign that there was maturity
and sophistication in the community. From 1880 to 1890, Kansas
City’s population grew from 55,000 to almost 133,000!
November 11, 1882, the Kansas City Daily Times reported that “The
Kansas City Club, a social organization, applied to Judge Black
yesterday for a decree of incorporation and the application was
placed on file. The application was made in the name of A.A. Tomlinson,
president; Charles E. Hasbrook, Secretary; and C.S. Wheeler, treasurer
of the Society.” 42 incorporatores signed the application.
November 17, 1882, the Circuit Court issued a decree of incorporation
and The Kansas City Club became a legal entity. This incorporation
was an indication that a group of gentlemen wished to perpetuate
and enlarge an informal group of Quality Hill residents who had
gathered at the Coates House to enjoy their after-dinner Havanas,
which they were banned from smoking in their lavish Victorian
parlors by their wives.
continued to grow, the Club moved to the Tomlinson Building at
11th & Broadway, owned by A.A. Tomlinson, the first President
of the Club. The first two floors were remodeled for Club use.
first formal reception at the new clubhouse was held on February
22, 1883. “Brilliantly Begun Opening Reception by the Kansas
City Club Last Evening,” read the Kansas City Daily Times
on February 23, 1883. The article spoke of the occasion as being
regarded highly by society at large as representatives of nearly
every family of commercial and social station in the city were
present. A corp of waiters was imported from New York to serve
the dinner at the opening celebration.
grew rapidly, so the Club purchased the corner of 12th & Wyandotte
as the Club site for $42,000. A five story building was built
at a cost of $72,000, with the opening in September of 1888. Membership
rose in 1892 when it absorbed the old University Club, which was
at 10th & Bluff Street. The admission fee was $100 and annual
dues were $60 for resident members.
were stringently restricted upon Club use. The rules provided
that “On Thursdays of each month, ladies under escort of
members, shall have privileges of the Club between 10:00 a.m.
and 4:00 p.m.” Otherwise, ladies were excluded from the
The clubhouse at 12th & Wyandotte
was inadequate and in a state of disrepair by 1915, so the Board
purchased property at the northwest corner of 13th & Baltimore
for $100,000. In November of 1916, the Board of Directors approved
a financing plan under which members would provide the sum of
$500 each by the purchase of a Third Mortgage Bond. In spite of
a war and repeated financing troubles, the Kansas City Club had
its grand opening at 13th & Baltimore on March 18, 1922.
The following day, the Kansas City
Times reported that, “Last night marked an epoch in the
history of the Club. The new 2 ½ million dollar home at
Baltimore Avenue and Thirteenth Street was formally opened. A
14-story building, ‘club from basement to roof garden,’
it furnished a striking contrast to the origianal building on
‘Quality Hill’ two score years ago.”
people attended with every floor in the building being utilized.
Six orchestras furnished music for diners and dancers and every
one of the 450 tables in several dining rooms were decorated with
cut flowers. More than 900 had been served a 6-course dinner from
the four kitchens in an hour and forty-five minutes.
November of 1926, the Board created Associate Membership to be
available to ladies who had first made arrangements to acquire
a resident membership “by transfer or otherwise.”
Mrs. Marie Schuster Smith was the first lady to become a member
under the new rule. In 1977, women were admitted as full members.
Kansas City Club peaked at 2000 members in the mid 1980’s.
With the construction of Corporate Woods, and the changes in tax
laws for club dues, membership began to decline in the 90’s.
In the fall of 2001, the Kansas City Club and the University Club
merged, essentially taking two good clubs and making one great
club. With renovations at the 918 Baltimore location being completed
in March 2002, the new Kansas City Club opened its doors for business.
With its warm, inviting presence, the Kansas City Club is once
again your home away from home.