A Haunting Last Look At One of Missouri’s Former Swanky Hotels
Warning: Under no circumstances should you enter an abandoned property like this. By doing so you risk 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 on fire. The abandoned hotel the City ended up having to spend taxpayer dollars to implode in June of 2018. This is the story of one of Missouri's formerly swanky hotels.
Don't go looking for it. It's not there anymore. All that's left is an empty field at the former hotel site near Front Street and I-435. The memories remain though. Memories of weddings, meals, celebrations, and vacations. Memories of a pretty nice place to stay in Kansas City.
When the second phase was completed in 1978 it was the 11th biggest hotel in Kansas City. It had 328 guest rooms. An upscale restaurant with banquet facilities. A health and tennis club. Not to mention a pretty cool indoor-outdoor pool. This is according to an article from Northeast News.
Over the years the hotel carried a few different names. Northeast News has similar articles on the demolition that says the hotel opened under the name Breckinridge Inn at Executive Park in one article, and Park Place in another. As the hotel aged it picked up the Howard Johnson's brand, then became a Ramada, before closing as a Howard Johnson in 2016.
Upon the hotel's implosion in 2018, the Kansas City Star noted the role the hotel had played in Kansas City mob history. In the 1970s, while most of the guests were swimming, or enjoying a meal, Kansas City's crime family was using one of the lobby pay phones to conduct business with other Midwestern crime families. That business, the skimming of Las Vegas casinos controlled by the mob.
By all accounts, the hotel was successful from its opening through the 1990s. In the 2000s Northeast news said brand and ownership changes signaled the downfall of the once-great property.
After its closure, KSHB-TV ran a series of articles detailing the problems of the hotel in its final days. They talked to employees who accused the owner of spending all day in the hotel lounge, as well as being inattentive to a roach and bed bug infestation, problems with the hotel's elevators, and a water leak.
Additionally, former employees cited poor decisions like hosting a swingers convention at the sane tune soccer families were staying at the hotel.
Legend has it that sometime late in the hotel's life the owner disappeared, and over the course of a few months hotel managers couldn't reach him. Then one day, the entire management and staff just left the hotel, quitting, since they hadn't been paid and communication with the owner had been futile. The story goes everyone walked out when the hotel was about 50% occupied. Additionally, there was a rumor that the hotel's owners were using the hotel as an insurance scam.
That said, there isn't any news story that corroborates this. Only, the story, as told visually and aurally by a couple of urban explorers on Youtube. It's certainly a compelling story.
The facts, according to KSHB-TV, are that the hotel closed abruptly leaving the staff without jobs and the owner skipping town and the country owing vendors, city utilities, and guests who paid for rooms they couldn't stay in a lot of money.
After its closure, the hotel became an eyesore and a danger to the businesses in the industrial park it was located in. Additionally, the City had a hard time keeping scavengers, drug addicts, and urban explorers out of the site.
At one point a man, who authorities believe was trying to remove copper from the site, fell down an elevator shaft and died. There were also several fires in the two structures as well. Eventually, KSHB-TV found the owner, living a new life in Vitoria, Brazil.
The hotel was demolished, imploded actually, in June of 2018. When it was all said and done, it cost the City about half of the 1.5 million dollars they found to take care of the hotel's demolition.
Keep scrolling to see pictures of the hotel's deterioration and demise along with more of the story.
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