The Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber and KCK Chamber Foundation moved back into 727 Minnesota last year after a complete gutting and remodeling of the first floor and part of the second floor. The new 727 Minnesota Building is another example of keeping part of our heritage and making it new.
In the 727 Minnesota Building, we not only wanted to make it new, usable office and community space, but also tell the story of our community in the past, present and look to the future.
While we had many investors who have helped us in funding the building, three entities stepped forward to specifically sponsor some of the common area space in the building. We dedicated the first space last week as we unveiled the TranSystems Lobby. The reason this is special is TranSystems is an engineering firm who helped us with the structural work remodeling our 1880s building. Believe me, when a building is that old there is a lot to be done.
To mark TranSystems contribution, we used a copy of a picture of the 700 block of Minnesota Avenue with the 727 Minnesota Building in the center of the picture. This picture came from the Wyandotte County Historical Museum and the collection of Monty Gross. To mark the passage of time we used an old-fashioned looking clock above it. The engineers who built the building in the 1880s and those from TranSystems today continue to help our buildings stand the test of time.
In the next few months, we will also be sharing other stories from our past with the dedication of the Breidenthal Family Boardroom. The Breidenthal Family has been involved in this community in banking, business, civic affairs and philanthropy since the early 1900s in addition to the many modern-day contributions and involvement of family members. The Breidenthal family is particularly special to the KCK Chamber since two Breidenthals have served as the volunteer leader in the capacity of what we today call the chairman of the board. The first Breidenthal served in the 1930s and the second in the 1960s. We want to share the contributions of the family history as part of our story and the story of the community.
And the third sponsored room is called the James Rensslaer Parr Conference room. Parr was the first mayor of the city of Wyandotte in 1857. The 727 Minnesota Building was actually in Wyandotte and did not become part of Kansas City, Kan., until the merger of several cities in 1886. There is also a tie to the present in this sponsorship as Parr’s great-granddaughter is Jeannette Nichols of the J.C. Nichols family. She is very proud of her KCK roots.
As time goes on, I hope the building will also house stories of the more recent past and the miracle of the redevelopment of Wyandotte County. But while we share stories of how KCK and Wyandotte County came to be what they are today and the people who made it so; the work continues on building the Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County of the future. This is done at the 727 Minnesota Building and at many other places involving many citizens, businesses and officials who understand the lessons of the past can help us build the future.
Cindy Cash is the president and CEO of the Kansas City, Kan., Area Chamber of Commerce.