The Plaza Lights

Nothing more perfectly represents Christmastime in Kansas City than the Plaza lights.

In 1925, Charles Pitrat, then head of the Nichols Company Department, placed a single 6-foot strand of colored light bulbs across the doorway of the Mill Creek Building in the up-and-coming Spanish-inspired shopping district. Pitrat was blissfully unaware of how significant this action would become.

With the Plaza’s expansion and development came the installment of more lights, the lengths of which are now measured in miles. Today the world-famous holiday tradition draws hundreds of thousands of residents and travelers from near and far who make the trip to see this spectacular 15-block lighting display.

The Missouri Valley Special Collections shared these black and white images of the still-developing area circa 1950s.