A new deadline was established last week at The Kansas City Star, and it’s unlike the ones that reporters and editors have been diligently meeting for decades.
The elegant red brick building at 1729 Grand Blvd. — The Star’s home for 106 years — has been sold. Within a year, the news, advertising and circulation staff will shift a block northeast to the massive glass Press Pavilion that houses the state-of-the-art presses that churn out the newspaper in a round-the-clock operation.
That modern, expansive structure is a fitting new home as The Star continues to embrace the digital era and the advancements in technology that are changing how people consume news.
The tunnel that runs beneath Grand Boulevard to the west has been sealed. It once allowed massive, one-ton rolls of newsprint to move from the railroad tracks to the giant presses that for decades produced the newspaper.
Those presses, more than 40 years old when they were dismantled a decade ago, were converted letterpress machines. They once used the raised-type printing process that dates back to Gutenberg. Pressmen would scurry up and down steep staircases connecting three floors of machinery.
During a staff meeting, Star publisher Tony Berg referenced the many “ghosts” of the grand, old space — friendly spirits occupying the structure designed by Jarvis Hunt, the architect who is also responsible for Union Station.
Indeed, storied characters have passed though The Star’s newsroom, including a young Ernest Hemingway who reported on the General Hospital and 15th Street police station from 1917 to 1918.
The staff has won seven Pulitzer Prizes and countless other awards through the years, recognizing the excellence of the institution’s local, regional, national and international coverage.
The Star has proudly chronicled the region’s most heartbreaking moments: floods, fires, building collapses and the path to recovery. We’ve challenged and cheered our civic leaders, and we’ve joined the revelry when both the Royals and the Chiefs have won championships. Every day, we’ve told the story of Kansas City.
We will continue to do so. The Star is changing locations, a mere shift down the block. But our mission and commitment to the city we all love stay the same.