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Replicas of nostalgic crowns adorn streets at Zona Rosa
by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A piece of history has come back to Kansas City, but this time it’s in the Northland.
Longtime residents of Kansas City will step back in time this holiday season when they visit the Zona Rosa Shopping Center at the interchange of I-29 and Barry Road.

Replica crowns, such as those that adorned the downtown intersections of Kansas City from the late 1950’s to early-mid 70’s, now adorn the streets of Zona Rosa.

According to Rosemary Salerno, Zona Rosa general manager, the crowns were originally designed for the downtown area, and were strung over various intersections in downtown for two decades.

Manneco, a decor company of Independence who originally designed the crowns, helped recreate the crowns that visitors to Zona Rosa will see over the next month.

Salerno explained that the story of the crowns includes a neat aspect to their resurrection. A friend of Salerno’s is the son of the man who designed the original crowns that hung in downtown Kansas City.

After months of research, Salerno learned of the connection and gave her friend a call. Salerno said the son, Hoot Mann, agreed to design the new crowns for Zona Rosa. Mann used the original sketches, designs, and photographs of his father’s work on the original crowns to fabricate the new ones.

Mann, along with Holiday by Sardi Design in Baltimore and a fabricator from California, helped bring the new crowns to reality for the Zona Rosa staff.

While the current crowns are based off the original design from several years ago, Salerno stated there is one main difference. The crowns from the 50’s were made of steel and double the weight of the current aluminum versions.

The two main crowns in Zona Rosa are suspended at the Children’s Park and at the intersection by Express and Forever 21. The crowns are 17' wide at the top and 12' wide at the bottom and weigh 2,000 pounds. The third crown sits on the tree and is 14' wide at the top and 7' wide at the bottom.

According to Salerno, the management of Zona Rosa found out about the crowns last year around Christmas time during a tour with county and city officials.

She stated the development director was asked by a city or county official what they would be doing for the holidays. The director informed them that there would be lights and a tree and it would be nice if somehow they could tie it into Kansas City. That’s when a person on the tour made the comment regarding how Kansas City used to have these crowns.

"Our company felt like they would be a great fit,” explained Salerno. “Our original intent was to purchase the original ones and resurrect them.”

Salerno stated the company’s goal is to install several each year at different intersections throughout the center.

"We have a lot of people reliving old memories they have,” said Salerno. “A lady commented how she remembers her parents bringing her downtown to see the crowns and now she can do the same thing with her children.”



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