National Geographic : 1976 Jul
one hall of fame already: the "Hallmark Hall of Fame," television's most honored dramatic program. It sprang from the sponsorship of Hallmark greeting cards, and hence from the mind of founder Joyce C. Hall, who first heard about that Kansas City spirit back in 1909. "I had a successful little postcard business in Norfolk, Nebraska, and I was thinking of moving it to Omaha," he said. "But a travel ing cigar salesman said, 'Omaha is all right, but you want to go to Kansas City.'" The salesman spoke glowingly of the city's vigor and growth, of its extensive new parks and boulevards, of how it had built a huge con vention hall in just 90 days. "I knew that was the place for me," Joyce Hall said. At 18 the lanky six-footer came to town and founded the giant of the greeting-card industry. Today it employs 500 artists alone. Trying to Save the Inner City Mr. Hall's varied public services, including support of "People to People," a kind of private Peace Corps, have brought him many honors. But he remains basically the small town Nebraska boy he once was, easy to visit. I visited him at Crown Center, the pri vately funded $350,000,000 project in urban redevelopment born in his mind. Downtown, around Hallmark's headquarters, grimy old buildings give way to bright new offices, shops, and apartments, clustered around courts and greenery (next page). There's a 20-story hotel, with a 60-foot waterfall in the lobby; it cascades down a limestone bluff,once part of an eyesore called Signboard Hill. Since 1966 son Donald J. Hall has headed Hallmark and Crown Center, expanding the project: "We're trying to show what private funding can do to save the inner city." Others have caught the vision. A few blocks north, 30-story City Center Square thrusts its six-sided tower skyward. Between it and the vast new H. Roe Bartle Exposition Hall, nearing completion, the historic old Hotel Muehlebach, many times host to Presi dents Truman and Eisenhower, is moderniz ing to the tune of seven million dollars. On the riverfront, around the old farmers' market, 19th-century brick storefronts bright en with paint and quaint watering places The Boiler Room, Cindi's Bedspread, Yester day's Girl-part of a rejuvenation called River Quay. Pedestrian malls with flowers Can the mind conquer pain? At Midwest Research Institute, electrodes on a cancer pa tient (opposite) pick up specific brain-wave frequencies and muscle activity believed related to pain and make them audible. The patient monitors the sounds and tries to learn control of body processes that could alleviate painful sensations. Such studies help make MRI a leading center of research. Buddha from 12th-century Japan finds a new spot in the Nelson Gallery of Art, on the site of the onetime home of Kansas City Star founder William Rockhill Nelson, who left millions to build an outstanding art col lection. The reassembled Amida Buddha of gilded wood will grace the entrance to a new wing of the museum, known throughout the world for its Oriental treasures. Kansas City, Heartland U.S.A.