Country Club Plaza

From Academic Kids

The Country Club Plaza is the first suburban shopping district in the US. Designed and constructed in Kansas City by businessman J.C. Nichols in 1922, it was intended to accommodate shoppers who would arrive in automobiles. The availability of filling stations, garages and parking lots was a central theme in the layout of the Country Club Plaza.

The plaza was built in a swampy area of Kansas City known as Brush Creek Valley. Nichols began acquiring land as early as 1907, and when his plans were first announced the project was dubbed as 'Nichols' Folly'. Once opened, the Country Club Plaza proved to be an immediate success, which has lasted with little interruption to the current day.

The basic design of the plaza reflects European, and especially Spanish influences. There are more than thirty statues and tile-laced murals on display in the area as well as architectural reproductions, such as the Giralda Tower of Seville, which is the tallest building in the Country Club Plaza. On 'The Path of Golden Lights', there are also light standards which were made from the same molds as San Francisco's Path of Gold lights. Other works of art celebrate classical works of art, nature, and historical American themes.

On September 12, 1977, a major flood of Brush Creek caused severe damage to the 55 acre (223,000 m²) plaza, but prompted a major renovation and revitalization of the area that has allowed it to not only survive, but thrive to the current day.

Beginning in 1925, the Country Club Plaza began a tradition of outlining the entire district in lights at Christmas time. The yearly lighting ceremony of the plaza regularly attracts as many as 250,000 people.

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