Kansas City Electric Interurban Railways map, 1924
Kansas City of 1924 was a great city to party in. The city was run by the corrupt Pendergast Democratic machine, which had its tentacles in nearly every single aspect of municipal life. While a glance at a 1920s law book would tell you that alcohol, bribery and gambling were all illegal, in Kansas City those laws simply never applied. Tom Pendergast's machine saw to that.
Pendergast was larger-than-life. A son of Irish tavernkeepers, he prided himself on his touch with the people, and his Main Street offices were constantly besieged by the working classes looking for a hand up or a favor from the Boss himself.
Kansas City's interurban streetcar network provided regional transportation during this era. An "interurban" is most analogous to light rail, providing high-speed transportation through a region, as opposed to a local streetcar like the KC Streetcar that runs today. Most of the network depicted here would be gone by World War II. The last independent line, the Strang Line, survived until 1940; KC Railways' streetcars survived (under new ownership) until 1957.
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