Towering from what was once the heart of America's heartland, the Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building radiates with a sense of history so powerful it seems to effect every other structure around it. To the north stand steel silhouettes cut from Robert Morris's Bull Wall
, a sculpture commissioned to celebrate our city's bygone bovine economy. The Kemper Arena cowers to the south, hiding beneath a shell so uncowtownly it seems downright ashamed. And who hasn't noted the irony of the neighboring Gateway Computer facility? It's a new economy, but the cows' spots remain. Inside the Livestock Exchange Building remnants of the past remain as well, from the antique straight-back waiting benches "Manufactured by The Henderson-Ames Co., Kalamazoo, Mich." to the old chalkboard cattle price ticker where traders could track markets as farflung as Cincinnatti and West Fargo. In fact, the place still smells of cow -- of bone marrow, almost-dry leather, and just a touch of manure. Climbing the stairs recently, on our way to the offices of National Farms Intergalactic Headquarters.com
(honest, that's what it says on the door) we thought for a moment we could hear a herd of ghosts stomping their hooves just beyond the old brick walls.