Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Sad Comparison

Visited Kansas City (for the first time) last week for Spectrum Fantastic Art live, and was struck by the aesthetic of the city. And I'm in mourning (and not for the first time) because,
compared to my hometown of Denver, the skyline was pleasing; a mix of old and new architecture. Unlike Denver, Kansas City seems dedicated to renovating its historic architecture.

In comparison, this is Denver.
 A boom and bust city for decades, most of the interesting buildings in Denver have been razed by transient corporations and greed. If you like brown and grey slabs however, this is your dream skyline.

 I found much to stimulate my creativity in Kansas City.

Building after building sported decoration and stonework like this...

...along with unusual, fascinating architecture.

Kansas City's Power and Light Building is being renovated for apartment living...

 ...while Denver's getting lots of these.

An old neighborhood in Kansas City. These types of neighborhoods were not unusual--they were everywhere, and they were free of the noise of scrapes and demolitions.

And then there are Denver's old neighborhoods--continually noisy with machinery yanking up old houses as though they were weeds. Wish I could say this new stucco and stone monstrosity was unusual.

And what else has Denver lost?

 Yep, all of these and more--so many beautiful buildings gone forever. Buildings that once gave Denver a unique character.

But when oil companies and other corporations move in and out of a city, they just rip 'em down. They don't care about history, or aesthetics, or waste (yeah the rubble of those beautiful places are in the landfill). Those companies are only here long enough to destroy and grab their money--but Denver keeps inviting them. I suppose they leave plenty of dollars behind in some elected official's hands.

No, the 1960s and the 1980s were not kind to a once interesting Denver city. Neither is the current boom.

To be fair, the Daniels and Fisher tower was saved after a huge fight--amazing. The rest of the building was demolished though. It's replacement is a brown slab.

I like to visit cities where there are surprises like this on every street...

...and where architecture like this is the norm, not the exception.

I'm not saying that Kansas City is perfect, but it made a big impression on me, and it's a place I want to re-visit. My roots are deep in Denver, so I'm not planning a move anytime soon, but man, the contrast makes Denver's losses harder to take.

Thanks for letting me mourn.


  1. Thanks for this very telling comparison. Fascinating. Haven't been to either city in more than a decade, but will keep my ogglies out for the architectural deets when I revisit. Cheers ~ and a salute ~!

    1. You are welcome, Erik. There are still some hidden jewels in Denver to be discovered--if you work at it. Thanks for the comment--cheers back atchoo!


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