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..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!

..On 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.

..On 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.

A.A. Tomlinson

..As membership 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.

..The 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.

..Membership 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.

.. Ladies 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 clubhouse.

1228 Baltimore

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.”

..1500 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.

..In 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.

..The 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.

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