Lee’s Summit Memories

When my husband and I were moving to Lee’s Summit 23 years ago, our realtor, Chuck Klein, drove us around town. I will never forget how fascinated I was when he took us by the Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm off of Todd George Road. It was beautiful and off the beaten path. We actually ended up buying a home not too far from the farm. A few years later, after having our children, we bought several real trees from the owners, the Fosters. One of my student teachers, created a video about Santa’s Tree Farm to help teach Economics (let me know if you’d like a copy). I have such fond memories of the the little house, the tractor rides, the cats and the wonderful pine smells. I still drive by this spot every day and am so thankful for those memories. Stacie Greening

Nominate a Hero!

We need your help in identifying our “Community Heroes.” If you know of anyone you believe is deserving of such recognition, please fill out the form below and submit it to our committee. Fill in as much contact information as you can for the nominee, and explain why you believe your nominee is worthy of this recognition. You may submit as many nominations as you like, and self-nominations are welcomed. Awards are limited to living honorees but the honoree need not currently live in Lee’s Summit.

Read more or fill out a nomination now! 

Birthday Celebrations for 2015!

  • May 16: Opening of the 1965 Centennial Time Capsule & City Equipment Show | Time Capsule Opening at 10:30 a.m. | Full Day of Events 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

A time capsule was buried in 1965 as part of Lee’s Summit’s Centennial (100th) birthday celebration, and its contents will be revealed at its opening during the City of Lee’s Summit’s Big Truck & Equipment Show in front of City Hall. Kids of all ages also can climb up into the driver’s seat of some of the City’s biggest pieces of equipment. The Art & Artifacts Fair also will take place in the City Hall lobby in celebration of Historic Preservation Month

  • May 22-23: A Fair to Remember | Fri: 5-11 p.m. | Sat: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.A Fair to Remember

Did you know that Lee’s Summit hosted the Jackson County Fair for many years? The fair was held in Harris Park, and people from all over Jackson County and beyond traveled to Lee’s Summit to exhibit prize-winning livestock, enter homemade items and goods for judging and to celebrate their agricultural roots.

The Truly 150 Committee wants to take you back to that era with an old-fashioned County Fair event at Paradise Park, and the whole community is invited. There will be live musicians, a petting zoo, a baby contest, and much more. The event will also feature “Toby Shows,” which were traveling rural American theatre shows that were popular in the early twentieth century and featured vaudeville-type melodramas.

Calling for Volunteers:  http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c084eafa623a4fc1-afairto

  • July 25: Party in the Park | 7 – 10 p.m.

Celebrating our 150th Birthday at Summit Waves in a resort-themed paradise.


  • August 1: Celebrate 150! Parade and Event | Parade: 10 a.m. | Event TBA

Enjoy an historic-themed parade in Downtown Lee’s Summit dedicated to the Sesquicentennial celebration, followed by a community event at Lee’s Summit High School. The event will feature a variety of local organizations and performances, including music, dance, choral and more.

  • October 18: Founder’s Day Celebration
    What would you like to see included in the Sesquicentennial time capsule? The Founder’s Day Celebration event will take place at the new Lee’s Summit History Museum and includes the dedication of the Sesquicentennial Time Capsule.


  • December 11-12: Truly 150 – Magic & Memories
    The Truly 150 – Magic & Memories event at Lee’s Summit High School is the finale to the Sesquicentennial celebration, and will feature a performance by the Lee’s Summit Symphony and other special guests.

Lee’s Summit’s 150th Birthday Celebration Kicked Off at Mayor’s Character Breakfast

Lee’s Summit’s year-long community Sesquicentennial celebration kicked off on Jan. 22, at the Mayor’s Character Breakfast.  The annual event hosted by Lee’s Summit CARES partnered with the Truly 150 Committee to kick-off the year-long celebration of Lee’s Summit’s 150th birthday. The event sold out and had more than 700 people in attendance.

In addition to honoring the winners of the Reflections of Character awards, the event featured keynote speaker David Von Drehle, editor-at-large for Time Magazine and author of the book Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year. Von Drehle provided historical context for the year 1865, when Lee’s Summit was founded as the Town of Strother, and described Lincoln’s character traits that helped him persevere and lead the country through the Civil War.

Truly 150 Steering Committee Chair Art Davis presented Mayor Randy Rhoads with a commemorative medallion as part of this year’s Sesquicentennial celebration. Truly 150 Committee member Phyllis Balagna also presented Lee’s Summit CARES Executive Director Roby Little with a commemorative medallion, which honor Community Heroes who have contributed to the progress, culture, and general welfare of the Lee’s Summit community. The Truly 150 Committee is seeking nominations for additional Community Heroes to honor with commemorative medallions. A nomination form can be found at Truly150.com.

Lee’s Summit CARES is a non-profit community coalition dedicated to preventing youth substance abuse and violence, promoting exemplary character and empowering positive parenting.  For more information, visit Lscares.org.

The Truly 150 Committee, designated by the Lee’s Summit City Council as the official committee to organize, promote and celebrate Lee’s Summit’s 150th birthday, has a variety of events and activities planned throughout 2015, including the opening of the Centennial time capsule, dedication of the Sesquicentennial time capsule, Celebrate 150! Parade and much more. For more information about Lee’s Summit’s Sesquicentennial celebration, visit Truly150.com

Mayor’s Character Breakfast kick-off

Lee’s Summit will soon be celebrating our 150th birthday and will be kicking the celebration off during the Lee’s Summit CARES Character breakfast on January 22.  The event will be at at The Pavilion at John Knox Village, 6:45-9 a.m.

For more information about the event or to RSVP, please contact LS CARES at www.lscares.org or call 816.347.3298 by January 16.

DrehleKeynote Speaker:

David Von Drehle who is an Editor-at-large for Time magazine, where he has written many of the most important cover stories of the past six years, from the Supreme Court’s health care decision to the death of Osama bin Laden. His essay on the 2008 Time Person of the Year, Barack Obama, anchored the bestselling issue in the history of Time’s most famous franchise. His work has been featured on a wide variety of television and radio programs, including “Today,” “The NBC Nightly News,” “The NewsHour,” and “Morning Edition.”

Prior to joining Time in 2007, Von Drehle was a senior writer and editor at The Washington Post, where he covered national politics and led the paper’s renowned features and culture section, Style. His work for The Post has been collected in a number of anthologies, including “America’s Best Newspaper Writing.”

Von Drehle is the author of four books, including the recently-published “Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year.” His acclaimed bestseller “Triangle: The Fire That Changed America” has been called “social history at its best” by the New York Times. He lives in Kansas City with his wife, journalist Karen Ball, and their four children.


LS Since 1963

The family moved to Lees Summit in the summer of 1963. My father was a manager at the Western Electric plant which had recently been constructed. I graduated from the one and only Lee’s Summit High School in May to 1964. The following summer I was privileged to participate in the 1965 Centennial celebration. I was “on the front row” as the dignitaries filled the time capsule with artifacts of the era. One item included in the time treasures was a 45′ record by the Beatles (I think it was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”). I remember committing right then and there to be present 50 years later when that same time capsule would be unearthed. It seemed so very far off in the future – I would be 68 by then. Yikes!! Soon after that wonderful summer of 65, I joined the U.S. Air Force and served four years during the Vietnam conflict.

My Lee’s Summit

I grew up on East (not Southeast) Fourth Street…same block as the Vogue Theater, George’s Grocery, and Jack Clark’s filling station. Then the only traffic light in town was suspended over the intersection of 3rd & Douglas. My memories include walking to grade school (now LSE), junior high (6th and Miller) and attending the ONLY high school in town – our “dear old L S High.” Those things were a lifetime ago, and remembered by very few who still reside here. I haven’t yet bought into the notion that bigger is always better when it comes to city planning. I really do miss the days when we knew most of the people we encountered in town. Back then, traffic was calmer, crime rates were lower, neighbors knew one another. Progress can be measured in many ways; I suppose we have made progress in important ways such as education, shopping, recreation to name a few. I look forward to 2015 to witness the 150th birthday of our fair city.

Douglas Street

I remember when North Douglas was two lanes with corn fields on both sides. The corn was so high you couldn’t see over it. The south end of Douglas featured Jack Frost Donuts and what was the name of that restaurant on the other corner from Diamond Muffler?

Memories of LS

I remember . . .
Going to the Vogue Theater to see Disney movies
Driving down Ward Road which was a narrow two lane road to go to Dr. Robinson’s veterinarian’s office on 150 Hwy. It seemed like it was way out in the country.
Hollywood Cross restaurant at 291 & 150 Hwy
Third St. and Ward Road was a four-way stop and had a cow pasture on the southwest corner.
Cruising 3rd St. from Sonic to Market Street on Friday and Saturday nights
Going to the record store on Main St. across from the depot and buying 45 rpm records and picking up weekly lists of the Top 40 songs.
Going to the Gas Co. on Douglas to pay the bill when it was located where the current VFW is today.
Eating at the Broasted Chicken restaurant in downtown.
The tire store in downtown on 3rd St.
The Sirloin Stockade restaurant at 291 Hwy and Chipman Rd.
When 3rd St. dead ended at Pryor Road.
When Chipman Road dead ended at Florence Ave.
Montgomery Wards at the Summit Shopping Center
Riding our bikes to Velvet Freeze at the Summit Shopping Center.
The public library was located in the little building on the southeast corner of Douglas and 2nd St.
The Sears store, Rexall Drug Store and Milgrams in the shopping center where Jumpin Catfish is now
Griffs Hamburgers were Shang Hi boy is now
Huphry Klinkers pizza
Browning Brothers store in downtown
Brownings (Men Clothing Store) in the Summit Shopping Center.