DATE OF EVENT: Friday, Oct. 30, 1914
DATE PUBLISHED: Friday, Oct. 30, 1914, in The Kansas City Star
Editor’s note: The opening of Union Station attracted a crowd of almost 10,000 eager Kansas Citians. An additional 4,000 people were in the parade that led to the ceremony. The crowd was so enthusiastic, the waiting rooms so crowded that women fainted, and a 75-year-old man suffered broken ribs in the crush of humanity. The celebration would continue for almost two days. The first train would arrive 32 hours later.
The gleaming Union Station replaced the old Union Depot, a relic of the Victorian era in the West Bottoms. It was shuttered the next night and “no more railroad passenger business will be transacted there.”
At 2 o’clock this afternoon an impatient mass numbering what was estimated at eight thousand to ten thousand persons had assembled on the plaza in front of the new station; street cars were arriving every two minutes loaded to capacity and crowds in vehicles and on foot were literally pouring through the Main Street and Grand Avenue viaducts.
Thirty-five policemen were experiencing great difficulty keeping the human stream in motion.
A band stationed on the bluff opposite the plaza kept music in the air while the crowd assembled. Each one of the thousands elbowed his way toward the main entrance, determined to be one of the first into the new structure when the doors were swung open for the first time to Kansas City and the world.
The parade was expected to arrive at the station between 2:30 and 3 o’clock. Its arrival is to be the signal for the booming of the twenty-one guns on the station bluff and the swinging open of the big station doors.
Industrial Kansas City showed up well in the long procession seen by crowds that filled several miles of streets this morning. Miniature reproductions of the factories that spend 250 million dollars for wages were shown in the manufacturers’ pageant, the first event in the celebration of the opening of the new station.
One learned that one-third of the city’s population lives as the result of employment of forty thousand employees in these factories and that, although sixteenth in population, Kansas City is tenth in manufacturers.
Practically all Kansas City turned out to see the parade, judging from the crowded condition of all the downtown streets. Credit is due George H. Forsee, secretary of the industrial division of the Commercial Club, who had charge of the line of march, that the start was on time exactly at 10 o’clock. The spacing and arrangement of exhibits along the line of the parade was so thoroughly handled that there practically was no delay. In less than an hour the 115 exhibits passed a given point with no vexatious delays.
The floats showed the manufacture of everything ranging from a bunch of keys to structural steel bridges. There was beauty among the exhibits as well as crude ugliness, apparently necessary in the manufacture of many products. Perhaps the most tasteful float was that of a drug company presenting a perfume. A car beautifully decorated with chrysanthemums and finished in a color scheme of yellow and white, and in the interior two pretty women sitting at a table brought many exclamations of admiration from the crowds. …
An exhibit that seemed popular with the men was that of a company showing the uses of a popular brand of overalls. Buxom women wore the overalls. …
Bands blared short-lived snatches of airs in tuning up. Groups of men shifted this way and that in the street at Eighth and Central streets. Motor cars rolled in and through the crowd and on. More and more people came to crowd the sidewalks. Gradually the line straightened out for the civic parade. It was 2 o’clock. Then the marchers started.
The biggest event on the station celebration program was on. …
When the parade reaches the plaza, the signal to open the station will be given. A signal corps private, stationed in front of the building, will wig-wag the message to his comrades on the bluff. Then Battery B will fire twenty-one guns, the presidential salute. The parade will enter and the various committees and officials of the Commercial Club and Terminal Company, guests and speakers will take seats on the stand. Then the formal presentation and acceptance speeches will be made.
An invocation then will be pronounced and the Schubert Club will lead in the singing of America. The bands will play in the station balconies the rest of the afternoon, and there will be a grand promenade and concert until the fireworks begin at 10 o’clock tomorrow.