Warning: under no circumstances should you enter an abandoned property like this. Doing so risks bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
The Breckenridge Inn at Executive Park, or Park Place, was built in two phases between 1974 and 1978. You probably know it, though, as the abandoned Ramada Hotel in Kansas City. The one where they found a dead man at the bottom of an elevator shaft. The one that caught fire. The abandoned City hotel had to spend taxpayer dollars to implode in June of 2018. This is the story of one of Missouri’s once elegant hotels.
Don’t go looking for it. There is no more. All that remains is an empty field on the former hotel grounds near Front Street and I-435. The memories remain though. Memories of weddings, meals, parties and holidays. Memories of a nice place to stay in Kansas City.
When the second phase was completed in 1978, it was the 11th largest hotel in Kansas City. It had 328 guest rooms. An upscale restaurant with banquet facilities. A health and tennis club. Not to mention a beautiful indoor-outdoor pool. This is according to a Northeast News article.
Over the years the hotel has gone by various names. Northeast News has similar demolition articles stating the hotel opened under the name Breckinridge Inn at Executive Park in one article and Park Place in another. As the hotel aged, it acquired the Howard Johnson brand, then became a Ramada, before closing as the Howard Johnson in 2016.
Following the hotel’s implosion in 2018, the Kansas City Star noted the role the hotel had played in Kansas City’s Mafia history. In the 1970s, while most guests were swimming or enjoying a meal, the Kansas City crime family used one of the lobby payphones to conduct business with other Midwestern crime families. That business, the skimming of mob-controlled Las Vegas casinos.
By all accounts, the hotel was successful from its opening until the 1990s. In the 2000s the Northeast News said that branding and ownership changes signaled the downfall of the once-great ownership.
Following its closure, KSHB-TV published a series of articles detailing the hotel’s problems in its final days. They spoke to employees who accused the owner of spending all day in the hotel lounge as well as being inattentive to a cockroach and bed bug infestation, problems with hotel elevators and a water leak.
Additionally, former employees cited bad decisions like hosting a swingers convention at the healthy soccer families staying at the hotel.
Legend has it that at a certain point in the life of the hotel the owner disappeared and within a few months the hotel managers were unable to reach him. Then one day, the entire management and staff just left the hotel, quitting, as they hadn’t been paid and communication with the owner had been pointless. The story goes that everyone left when the hotel was about 50% occupied. Also, there were rumors that the hotel owners were using the hotel as an insurance scam.
That said, there is no news to confirm it. Solo, the story, told visually and acoustically by a couple of urban explorers on Youtube. It’s definitely a compelling story.
The facts, according to KSHB-TV, are that the hotel closed abruptly leaving the staff out of work and the owner fleeing the city and country due to vendors, council services and guests paying for rooms they couldn’t stay a lot of money .
After its closure, the hotel became an eyesore and a danger to businesses in the industrial park in which it was located. Additionally, the city had a difficult time keeping garbage collectors, drug addicts, and urban explorers off the site.
At one point a man, who authorities said was trying to remove copper from the site, fell down an elevator shaft and died. There have also been several fires in the two structures. Eventually, KSHB-TV found its owner, living a new life in Vitoria, Brazil.
The hotel was demolished, actually imploded, in June of 2018. When all was said and done, it cost the city about half of the $1.5 million they found to deal with the hotel’s demolition.
Keep scrolling to see pictures of the hotel’s deterioration and disappearance along with more of the story.
Check out the sad history of one of Kansas City’s former grand hotels
This hotel located near I-435 and Front Street was once one of the largest hotels in Kansas City and a bit swanky. The hotel’s downfall included anarchy, employees who had just walked away from their post, an owner who had fled Kansas City for Brazil, and an eventual implosion of the buildings. The images are from Youtube videos created by Steven Downing and Exploring the Abandoned.
Back in time: Scenes from the year 1982 from a shopping mall
In 1982 CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt wrote a story for “CBS News Reports” examining how malls impacted communities. He used the Oak Park Mall and the Overland Park community to tell his story about him. Much of the story was told through video footage and interviews conducted in the mall. I call these photos taken from video, shopping mall scenes. Charles Kuralt’s piece is revived today on Youtube. You can check it out here.