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Toast To Olde Tymes – Celebrating 120 Years

Molybdenum. That’s probably not what you first think of when The Independent magazine is mentioned. Here’s the story. Nearly 20 years ago, our scribe interviewed the chief executive officer of a local company involved in mining and minerals. After the article ran, the executive received a call: Would he be interested in partnering in a deal involving molybdenum? He was – and he wondered how the potential partner had learned about the company. Oh, that was easy – he saw the interview in The Independent.  

“Say You Saw It In The Independent.” That was our advertising tagline for years. We weren’t just selling products and services. We were reflecting our readers’ way of life, or the life to which they aspired. What did our readers want, decades ago? They essentially wanted what we want – to be with our friends. (This is not just for extroverts. Ask any introvert: reading The Independent means you can see your friends without leaving the house.) 

The focus was on politics and business in the magazine’s early days, although poems, jokes, and gossip were also featured. Theater reviews would be a mainstay for decades. By the time of the first World War, though, much of the editorial was devoted to vignettes of the people of Our Town.    

Generations ago, our readers wanted to see vaudeville stars playing at downtown theaters. It wasn’t uncommon then for actors from all over the country to have their stage pictures taken in Kansas City by Strauss Peyton and others, just as members of the audience did. 

For more than a century, The Independent has featured charitable endeavors. It might surprise some to learn that ladies in Our Town worked in motor pools and served in cafeterias during World War I, and many experienced the satisfaction of being useful in unexpected ways. Today, the magazine often extols the efforts of those who serve on committees for galas, golf tournaments, walks and runs, luncheons, and the myriad other events that raise funds and increase awareness for causes ranging from AIDS to the Kansas City Zoo. 

Do you know what “Orange Blossom Tidings” are? That’s just one way we’ve announced that couples “have named The Day,” “will march to marital music,” (careful – that’s “marital,” not “martial”), and “are taking The Big Step.” Engagements and weddings have filled our pages for ages. It isn’t uncommon to see a wedding party from the 1920s in our archives and realize that we’ve documented their descendants from the cradle to “taking the matrimonial plunge” and beyond.

Frivolity – we love it! The Independent is the place to read about parties and gatherings, from the Fourth of July parade that brought everyone out in their swimsuits, to the gala New Year’s Eve party that became an intimate gathering when the roads were too slick to traverse, to whatever the event was (all those glorious fireworks!) that had the dogs of Reinhardt Estates so riled up two Saturday nights ago. 

Where our friends are – that’s where you’ll find us. In the 1930s, it might have been cheering on the club polo team, hearing Frankie Trumbauer and his band play in the Terrace Cafe of the Hotel Bellerive, and being among the first to see the period rooms in that new museum, The Nelson Gallery. We’re eager to see what the 2020s will bring. The activities change – the friendship remains. 

Thank you for providing us with places to go and people to see throughout the years. 

Also featured in the March 16, 2019 issue of The Independent

 

Heather N. Paxton

Heather N. Paxton’s name first appeared in The Independent in a birth announcement back in — oh, never mind. In the mid-1990s, Heather joined the staff as a replacement for a friend who was expecting a visit from the stork. (Let’s hope Heather sent a baby present. The boy is a college graduate now.) Her 20s, 30s, 40s, and now her 50s: Heather has been a staff member for at least brief periods in all of these decades. She is most at home in the office when she is perusing the archives.

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