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The Entwined Histories of the Country Club Plaza & Raphael Hotel

THE ENTWINED HISTORIES - of the 2 COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA & RAPHAEL HOTEL The Country Club Plaza of Kansas City is known as the first shopping center to accommodate automobiles in America ew steps down is the Raphael Hotel, originally built as the Villa rena Apartments. Since the 1920s, both have evolved while remaining true to their historic roots in this sophisticated center for dining, shopping and culture. Tale of Two Histories: THE COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA & RAPHAEL HOTEL Country Club Plaza Raphael Hotel LATE 189Os The land's history of commerce extends back to its original use as a brickyard/quarry and dairy farm. The Sunset Hills Gardens sat on the property until the Villa Serena Apartments were built. 1900s 1907 J.C. Nichols acquires land originally known as Brush Creek Valley. Upon announcing his new property, the public dubbed it as “Nichols' Folly" since the area was seen as undesirable at that time. 1920s 1923 1927 McCanles Building Company purchases three lots for upscale and luxury apartment buildings inspired by the Spanish and Mediterranean motifs. The Country Club Plaza opens as the nation's first suburban shopping district, bringing in much business and success. 1928 The nine-story Villa Serena Apartments open, attracting the most affluent Kansas citizens. The buildings' construction cost was $600,000, equating to over $8 million in today's currency. 1929 The Plaza becomes the first suburban shopping McCanles develops and builds the Locarno and Riviera apartments just to the east of the Villa Serena. center in America designed to accommodate the automobile. 1930s |1930s 1931 Jack Henry Clothing is founded and later becomes one of the oldest stores on The Plaza. The Great Depression causes luxury Over the next four decades, The Plaza brings apartment rates on The Plaza (including Villa Serena) to sink to as little as $50 per month. higher-end shops like Harzfeld's, as well as a mix of mainstream retailers like Sears and Woolworth's. 1932 The Plaza Art Fair, first held in 1932, has been held annually ever since and is one of the nation's oldest and largest juried art shows, attracting thousands of patrons each year. The area's concept of a mixed-use development targeting affluent residents was patterned after that near New York's Central Park. 1970s 1970 Management repositions The Plaza with luxury hotels to combat competition from new suburban shopping malls. 1974 J.C. Nichols purchases the apartments and repurposes the complex into a hotel. 1977 1975 KRaphacl 7HOTEL The 100-year flood that struck The Plaza on September 12 was one of the most defining moments in Plaza history. A total of 23 lives The building is reborn as the Raphael Hotel, with the renovation faithfully preserving its historic features. The hotel is immediately successful, pioneering two now-popular niche categories: boutique hotels and were lost in the flood and Plaza businesses suffered an estimated $58 million of damage. all-suite hotels. The merchants, their suppliers and the larger community came together, prompting a time 1976 of renovation and revitalization. The Raphael Restaurant opens. 1990s 1998 J.C. Nichols Company merges with Highwood Properties in North Carolina, which now runs The Plaza. 200 2005 Lighthouse Properties purchases the Raphael Hotel. 2006 First extensive restoration of the property since its original conversion. Renovation The Plaza features a bronze sculpture of Lady & Sir includes all-new infrastructure and decor. Winston Churchill. It was commissioned due to then Plaza President Miller Nichols' (son of J.C. Nichols) admiration for the former Prime Minister. 2009 Raphael Hotel's property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 2008 The Country Club Plaza celebrates the longest life of any planned shopping center, as noted by Andrés Duany in the Community Builder: The Life & Legacy of J.C. Nichols. The Raphael Restaurant was remodeled and re-branded as Chaz on The Plaza. 2012 2011 The Plaza's legendary JJ's wins final Grand Award of Excellence Wine before a tragic The Raphael Hotel is designated as a Marriott Autograph property. explosion and fire destroys the building in 2013 TODAY The Country Club Plaza is home to more than 150 shops and has year-round entertainment and events. The ornate Raphael Hotel stands tall as a landmark and remains Kansas City's most-recognized example of Italian Renaissance Revival-styled architecture. Experience the very best of Kansas City's history and culture! CONNECT WITH US ON: FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM f /CountryClubPlaza @ThePlazaKC @CountryClubPlaza VISIT: WW w.COUNTRYCLUBPLAZA.COM SOURCES: ARaphael HOTEL AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION HOTELS

The Entwined Histories of the Country Club Plaza & Raphael Hotel

shared by jessicaw on Aug 09
Take a step back in time with The Raphael Hotel, Autograph Collection and learn more about the historic Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.


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