Hotel Bray/ New Yorker ghost sign

A slender downtown architectural beauty, the historic former Hotel Bray at 1114 Baltimore Ave., is a nine-story building, 25-feet wide and 125 feet deep, and is wedged between the Hotel Phillips and the Italian Garden garage on Baltimore.

The Jacobethan-style brick building, which is capped by a decorative terra cotta double gable, opened in 1915 as the Hotel Bray. In 1947, after extensive remodeling, it was rechristened as Pusateri’s Hotel New Yorker. It was renovated again in the mid 1990s as an extended stay hotel before eventually being converted to modern loft apartments and reopening as The New Yorker in 2018.

Below is a 360° “tour” (two separate 360° pictures) of the Hotel Bray/ New Yorker ghost signs and area… clicking on the arrows allows you to move left and right. Use your mouse to look up, look down, look all around… and zoom in or out. The vertical Hotel Bray signs on the Northeast and Southeast corners of the building date some time from 1915 to 1949… the painted sign on the Northwest side of the building dates from 1949

I was able to determine what the ghost sign originally looked like via the transcripts of a 1949 court case of the New Yorker Hotel Corporation v. Pusateri et al. The lawsuit claimed damages from Pusateri for using the name Hotel New Yorker. An excerpt from the filing reads… “The building immediately to the north of the defendants’ nine story hotel building is a one story structure, thus leaving most of the side of defendants’ building exposed to view, and along the side thereof, near the top, defendants, at the time of the opening, had caused to be painted in large letters, the words “Hotel New Yorker.” …. at the time the change…. thus making this sign also read: “H O T E L NEW YORKER Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge Completely Air Conditioned”

The image below on the left shows what the building looks like today… on the right what Pusateri’s Hotel New Yorker might have looked like in 1949

The case ended in a judgement against the plaintiff (New Yorker Hotel Corp), but not without some interesting testimony that gives great insight to KC history…. “In its effort to show that defendants may operate their hotel in such manner as to reflect upon its good name, plaintiff attacks the reputation of defendants. Defendant James Pusateri admitted that they illegally sold intoxicating liquor in their restaurants during prohibition. Plaintiff also sought to show that defendant Gus Pusateri, who did not testify, has been convicted of violating the liquor law. The offer was denied on the ground that the conviction was more than sixteen years ago during the “dry era.”

Here is a link to a Google Tour of the ghost signs with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!

Click on picture or this link to take tour – https://poly.google.com/view/7Is-8YdX0st

Walking Tour Map of KC Art

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John’s Big Deck mural

This quirky large mural is on the North side of John’s Big Deck, located at 928 Wyandotte, KCMO. This building was constructed over one hundred years ago, and has been a restaurant/ bar for over sixty years. It was part of the historic Graphic Arts Building complex on Wyandotte. In 1980 it became John’s and in 1983 the rooftop bar was completed, which provides a great vantage point to appreciate the area’s unique architecture.

The quirky aspect of the artwork is that, upon closer inspection, the mural is a giant ad-smashup of Tito’s Vodka and Kansas City iconic landmarks… notice the Tito’s handmade vodka sign on a building, the train Kansas City to Austin (the home of Tito’s) and the giant Tito’s bottle… interspersed with KC landmarks – the Bond Bridge, The Scout statue, Western Auto sign (kind of – they replaced Western Auto with KC) and the Hereford Association Bull statue.

Below is a 360° “tour” (three separate 360° pictures) of this mural and area… clicking on the arrows allows you to move left and right. Use your mouse to look up, look down, look all around… and zoom in or out.

Here is a link to a Google Tour of the mural with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!

Click on picture or this link to take tour – https://poly.google.com/view/8kQv7zEp_BI

Walking Tour Map of KC Art

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McElwain Barton Shoe Co ghost sign

An often overlooked Historic District in Kansas City is the Garment District. This area is located in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri to the east of Quality Hill, across Broadway Boulevard. In the 1930s several large clothing manufacturers clustered here, making Kansas City’s garment district second only to New York City in size. Its old industrial buildings have since been redeveloped into loft apartments, office, and restaurants.

This ghost sign from the McElwain and Barton Shoe Co. is located in the heart of the Garment District on the West side of the Armour and Volker building at 308 W. 8th (built in 1902 – architect William Rose), Kansas City, Missouri.

This sign can only be seen from a few locations…. from the top of the May Street garage, from the alley on the North side of the Armour-Volker building, from the rooftop deck of the Soho Lofts, or from windows in adjacent building.

Examining this ghost sign, you can faintly see the the name McElwain on the first row, Barton on the second and Shoe Co on the third, and an interesting painted shape below the lettering.

Investigating this sign, I discovered that this mystery shape is the remnants of the McElwain Shoe Co logo. Here is a picture of the McElwain logo from the 1920’s. At this time the McElwain Shoe Company was the largest manufacturer of shoes in the world. The McElwain Barton shoe company had operations in several building in the Garment District, including the building at corner of Wyandotte and 6th street, which held their offices, and their manufacturing plant located at corner of 8th and Washington.

This post is a twofer … if you scroll to the right in the 360° picture above (or the tour below), you can also see the ghost sign for the William-Volker Company, which is located on the North side of the 6th floor of the Bond Shoe Co. building (built in 1899 – architect Van Brunt and Bro) at 316 W. 8th St, Kansas City, MO.

William Volker  was an entrepreneur who turned a picture frame business into a multimillion-dollar empire and who then gave away his fortune to shape much of Kansas City, MO, much of it anonymously, earning him the nickname of “Mr. Anonymous.” The Volker frame and molding company had a factory in the Armour-Volker building. Both of these buildings (Armour-Volker and Bond Shoe Co buildings) are now part of the Soho Condominiums property.

Here is a link to a Google Tour of this ghost sign with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art, architecture and history of the surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!

Click on link for photo to take 360° tour – https://poly.google.com/view/6DcPwGN5D7p

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Phoenix Jazz Club mural

This mural, is located on the East side of the iconic Phoenix Jazz Club, at 8th and Central in KCMO. The building was originally the Phoenix Hotel (and brothel) dating back to 1888.

On the first floor there was a speak-easy type saloon owned and operated by bartender Frank Valerius, (zoom in on the 360° pic below to see the stained glass above door) and on the second floor was a “hotel” owned by Mrs. Linna Laws.

Currently The Phoenix is a great neighborhood bar, restaurant and tourist destination… the Phoenix hosts live music 6 days a week.

Below is a 360° “tour” (5 separate 360° pictures) of this mural… clicking on the arrows allows you to move left and right. Use your mouse to look up, look down, look all around… and zoom in or out.

Here is a link to a Google Tour of the Mural with “Points of Interest” that link to more information about the art and surrounding area. Click on the photo to take the tour… or just click the link below!

Click on pic or this link to take the tour … https://poly.google.com/view/e9MiGuunmC9

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