Kansas City, MO

Hotel Muehlebach's history overpowers speculation about the 'Blue Lady' apparition

CJ Coombs

Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City. Photo by poster in August 2006.Americasroof at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.

Historical hotel

Hotel Muehlebach goes back decades. It’s part of Kansas City Marriott Downtown today.

In 1983, several hotels in downtown Kansas City were being considered as nominations to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. In regard to Hotel Muehlebach which included four buildings, it was suggested that only the original building constructed in 1914 be considered.

All four buildings were on West 12th Street extending from Baltimore to Wyandotte. The original building was 12 stories tall. The second building was an 11-story addition to the west of the original building and was built in 1952. The third building was constructed in 1957 and stood 18-stories tall. It was referred to as the Muehlebach Towers. The fourth building is the Muehlebach Convention Center consisting of five stories and was built in 1965.

The original Hotel Muehlebach was exquisite and contained European elements. It was one of seven hotel buildings nominated, all of which were approved in August 1983 as Hotels in the Downtown Area of Kansas City because they carried themes of “Architecture” and “Society.

The construction

A Baptist church used to sit on the site of the Muehlebach. The site was acquired by Muehlebach Estate Co. The owner of that company, George E. Muehlebach, was the son of George E. Muehlebach Sr. who founded the Muehlebach Beer Company.

The church was torn down and a 12-story brick hotel was built in 1914 for about $2 million. The hotel opened as Hotel Muehlebach in 1915. The architectural firm was Holabird & Roche.

Interestingly, the hotel was one of the first to have air conditioning in the area.

Brief history

In 1931, Barney Allis, hotel manager took over. While he was there, many celebrities were at the hotel such as The Beatles, Jean Harlow, Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Hope, Helen Keller, Elvis Presley, Babe Ruth, and Frank Sinatra.

President Harry S. Truman stayed there frequently. Other presidents who were hosted were Presidents Calvi Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. In 1945, Howard Hughes stayed in the presidential suite. After President Truman’s term, the presidential suite was named the Harry S. Truman Presidential Suite.

In 1952, an annex to the hotel called Muehlebach Tower and a parking lot was added. It stood 17-stories tall.

In 1956, the Muehlebach became the first hotel in the world to have built-in televisions. (Source.)

During the 1960s, Barney Allis sold the hotel. Allis was so popular in Kansas City that almost a whole block was named after him. In the early 1970s, the hotel was foreclosed on by The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. In 1974, the hotel was renovated at a cost of $7 million, and thereafter, Radisson Hotels managed the hotel. The name changed to Radisson Muehlebach Hotel.

The implosion of the Muehlbach Tower

In 1996, the hotel was purchased by Marriott Hotels and it became part of Kansas City Marriott Downtown. The Muehlebach Tower annex building was imploded and a newer more modern Muehlebach Tower was built in 1998.

Crowd watching the 1996 implosion of the Muehlebach Tower.Lightbrush, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

On the second floors of the buildings, a sky bridge was built to connect the hotel buildings. The original 1915 Muehlebach lobby and ballrooms were restored. They are used by Marriott as banquet and convention facilities.

Is the Muehlebach haunted?

Sometimes I think we would like to believe old buildings are haunted, especially the ones that are big or old and look dilapidated.

Reports of ghostly activity revolve around the likes of 'The Blue Lady.' Many people believe she used to be an actress in the 1920s and is searching for her paramour. (Source.)

Allegedly, the Blue Lady has blonde hair, wears a blue fedora, and a flapper dress from the 1920s that's also blue. Supposedly, people who have seen her experience a drop in room temperature. Some say she "appears frazzled and lost as if looking for something."

The Blue Lady has been seen on the first floor of the hotel around the lobby. Whether she's sitting or standing, she has her head in her hands. And, whether she's crying or not, she then disappears.

My guess is the only thing that stands before you when you enter the hotel is history.

Thanks for reading. Keeping history alive!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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