History: J.C. Nichols' Plaza

An earlier post dealt with JC Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards. This one will focus on JC (Jessie Clyde) Nichols, a Kansas City Developer. Must be something special about those initials.

Mr. Nichols' development, The Country Club Plaza (the first shopping center designed with the automobile in mind), has been in the news lately. The law firm, Polsinelli Shughart, wants to build a new office building on The Plaza. An early proposal anticipates demolishing the "Balcony Building" to make room for the new law office. Objections to that proposal have surfaced and will be factored into any final approval.
JC Nichols designed The Plaza (which is usually the opening television shot of all Monday Night Football Games played in Kansas City) based on his visits to Italy, France, Germany, England and, most especially, Spain. He was born in his grandparents home at 95th and Clare, in what is now Lenexa, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas University in 1902 with the highest grade point average recorded, to that time, in the history of KU.
That GPA earned him a scholarship to Harvard. While at Harvard he wrote a thesis on 'increasing land value through development.' (Sounds like the paper written for a business class at Yale that described Federal Express.) His earliest building projects were modest homes built in Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas City's beautiful Brush Creek, which runs through The Plaza, was a marshy weed-infested valley when Nichols acquired it.
The Country Club Plaza and Mr. Nichols are true Kansas City treasures.