An answer to all the questions, big and small, about Kansas City.

There's no such thing as a stupid question about KC, right? 

An answer to all the questions, big and small, about Kansas City.

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click to enlarge ANGELA C. BOND

What's the story with the Spaceship House at 1102 Valentine Road?

First, let's get the name right: It's the Yanda house. But, yeah, it's a monument to another era's idea of futurism, the DeLorean of Kansas City home architecture. It was attention-grabbing and completely different from its contemporaries, this house, designed by architect Albert Yanda, built in 1966 and known for its distinctive dome. Shrouded by dozens of trees and sunken away from the street, the house is easy to miss from a passing car. Observed from the rear, the home appears almost to float, its huge, pyramid-shaped features pointing to the ground and seemingly ready to launch skyward at any moment. (Old photos show that a satellite dish once perched on the roof, only adding to its Millennium Falcon allure.) The 1,700-square-foot structure occupies an awkward strand of land surrounded by much grander homes and stands in the shadow of one of KC's most famous former residences: the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio, a state historic site. The two-bedroom, two-bath spaceship may be historic, but the last time it changed hands, it was quite a steal. Jackson County real-estate records show that it was sold in 2009 for $89,900.

click to enlarge kc-chiefs-logo.jpg

Do local stadiums have jail cells?

The "stadium jail" — a drunk tank for sports rowdies — is a commonly held truth among tailgaters. And Jim Rowland, executive director of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, says Arrowhead does indeed have holding cells for misbehaving tomahawk choppers (as most major American stadiums do). "I believe there are two, three or four," he says. They're not hidden away deep within the stadium's recesses, though. "It's certainly not in the bowels," he adds, noting that they're just part of the team's security office. Rowland says Kauffman Stadium has "procedures" for dealing with unruly fans, but it lacks a dedicated pokey.

Although soccer has long been associated with hooliganism, Sporting Kansas City's Livestrong Sporting Park, which opened in 2011, has no detention area for disruptive supporters. Team communications manager Kurt Austin says: "In the rare event that someone needs to be taken into custody, KCK police transport them as necessary."

click to enlarge According to the Internet, this is Annie.
  • According to the Internet,
    this is Annie.

Who was Annie Chambers, where was her infamous brothel, and what stands there today?

Annie Chambers opened her house of ill repute north of downtown in 1872. As Kansas City grew, becoming a rail hub full of cattlemen and laboring dudes, so did the demand for prostitution. Chambers, who moved to Kansas City three years earlier, filled the market with a two-story, 25-room brothel at Third Street and Wyandotte. There was no organized police force, and the city's population was 50,000; 40 bordellos operated at that time, according to research materials in the Missouri Valley Special Collections.

Driving Chambers' success as a madam was the opulence of her house. This wasn't a shady sex shack. The rooms had fine decorations and chandeliers, expensive furniture and erotic art. The business thrived, despite being mere blocks from City Hall and what would eventually become police headquarters. Eventually, social pressure squeezed the sex trade out of Kansas City. Chambers, whose birth name was the much more harlot-sounding Leanna Loveall, died in 1935, at age 92. Today, an office building occupies the southwest corner of Third and Wyandotte where the gilded cathouse once stood. Among its tenants: stadium architecture firm Populous.

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