COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA--KANSAS CITY, MO

Official Title of Installation, if any:

Country Club Plaza/Kansas City Plaza

Materials Used:

Ceramic tiles and terra cotta

Additional Materials Information:

General Description:

"The Kansas City plaza (Country Club Plaza) is a unique and splendid shopping district built by the J. C. Nicholas Co. in the 1920s. It is claimed to be the first suburban shopping district in the United States located in the blocks around 48th Street and Nichols Road in Kansas City, Missouri. It was the first shopping center in the world structured to cater the automobile. The Plaza opened in 1922 to instant success. ...The architecture of the Plaza mirrors influences of Seville, Spain. 


There are more than thirty statues, murals, and tile mosaics on exhibited in the area, a few important architectural reproductions, such as a half-sized Giralda Tower, precise light fixture reproductions of San Francisco Path of golden lights. The area features magnificent Spanish tile, piazzas, and terra cotta rooftops. Kansas City is rightly titled the "city of Fountains" and the feel is reflected by distinct fountains placed in the plaza... ." (http://www.kansascityplaza.us/)

"Fountain building and the use of decorative statuary exploded in the 1920s after developer J.C. Nichols used them extensively in the development of Country Club Plaza." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fountains_in_the_Kansas_City_Metropolitan_Area)

"All the buildings are of Spanish architecture, many of them with tall handsome
towers, beautiful rounded domes, and attractive cupolas, all with lights inside and flood
lights at night. All the buildings are decorated with imported Mexican tile or lace-like
terracotta. Many are adorned with graceful wrought iron balconies, etc. On the exterior
walls are colorful Mexican tile plaques, and in some instances niches have been provided
and lovely objects of art placed therein.
Free parking stations...some of them surrounded with low stucco walls topped with
dull red tile...have been provided, with their corners inset to form tiny parks in which
have been placed beautiful old fountains, and other objects of art, along with marble
benches inviting the shopper to rest in the shade of the trees and enjoy the splashing of
the sparkling water." (From Ethel V. Treshadding's "Epilogue" to JESSE CLYDE NICHOLS (1880-1950) Memoir, p. 31, http://www.umkc.edu/whmckc/PUBLICATIONS/JCN/JCNPDF/JCN087.pdf)

"The gay colored tile above the doorways were made in Seville, illustrating the gay
colors of Spanish structures. The soft tone tiles of weathered appearance in the roofs recall an old Spanish
market place." (J.C. Nichols in p. 2 of "Country Club Plaza", Planning for Permanence: the Speeches of J.C. Nichols, http://www.umkc.edu/whmckc/publications/JCN/JCNPDF/JCN081.pdf)

Technical Information (Size,mfg., etc.):
Many of the tiles were imported from Spain and Mexico, and the art tile panels are marked with the company names (see below).
Year Created:
1922, but there have been renovations since then. For instance, "On September 12, 1977, a major flood of Brush Creek caused severe damage to the Plaza and resulted in a number of deaths. The flood prompted a vast renovation and revitalization of the area that has allowed it not only to survive but to thrive." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Club_Plaza,_Kansas_City)
Also, according to Joe Taylor, the founder of the Tile Heritage Foundation, many "...of the contemporary tiles at the Plaza in KC are by our friend Carolyn Payne, Payne Creations Tile in KC. She did the clock on the tower, for instance." 
In an email from Carolyn Payne to Michael Padwee (9 Nov 2011), Ms. Payne explains:
"I started my Payne Creations Tile in 1984 and replaced some of the pattern tiles and duplicated the look of some over the years while JC Nichols Co. managed the Plaza. The last project I did for Miller Nichols (JC’s son) was the clock tower you have pictured...(the 3 5’ clocks and later did some of the pattern tile on the building).
Annette Bloch also had me do some pattern tile for the cancer park at the west end of the Plaza you don’t see unless you go down into the garden." (See below for some of Carolyn Payne's work at Country Club Plaza.)
Does Installation Still Exist?
Yes
Location of Installation:
Customer Service,
4745 Central
Kansas City, MO 64112
Directions to Installation:
"The 55 acre (223,000 m²) site is about four miles (6.44 km) south of downtown, between 45th and 51st streets to the north and south [just off S. Main Street] and between Broadway and Madison Street to the east and west. The Kansas state line is one mile (1.6 km) to the west." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Club_Plaza,_Kansas_City)
Additional Information, Websites, Citations:
*Photo courtesy of "charvex", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Country_Club_Plaza_1_Kansas_City_MO.jpg.
Other photos courtesy of Michael Padwee (2011) and Carolyn Payne.
Submitted by and Year:
Submitted by Michael Padwee (tileback101"at"collector.org); October 2011.
















In a parking garage








Uriarte, Puebla, Mexico



In an alley








Below is a photo of the tiled clock faces that Carolyn Payne designed for the clock tower at Country Club Plaza in 1992. The clock faces are shown being constructed in Ms. Payne's workshop at Payne Creations Tile. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Payne)













"U" over "Y"





Mensaque Rodriguez, Seville, Spain







In the rear of a parking lot








Another of Carolyn Payne's creations for Country Club Plaza was the Cancer Garden tiles at the West end of the Plaza.