The Liberty Memorial, 100 West 26th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, constructed from 1923 to 1938, is nationally significant for its architecture, landscape architecture, and art. Designed by architects H. Van Buren Magonigle with Wight and Wight; landscape architects George E. Kessler, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., (Olmsted Brothers), with Hare and Hare; and artists to include Robert Aitken and Edmond Amateis, Liberty Memorial vividly exemplifies the fulfillment of city planning concepts, combining monumentally scaled Beaux Arts Classicism envisioned by some of the nation's most notable and diverse delineators of the City Beautiful movement working in the early twentieth century. Liberty Memorial's complex of limestone buildings, together with the towering shaft, vast sculpture, bas- reliefs, decorative bronze art, and dramatic open vistas, all contribute to its power and distinction. Today it stands as one of the most important landmarks in Kansas City and one of the most commanding memorial sites in the nation. Moreover, Liberty Memorial remains one of the nation's most compelling monuments to those who sacrificed their lives during World War I and a remembrance of those who survived. Its dramatic combination of elements is not only a momentous tribute to those veterans but also an important expression of American memorial architecture of the early twentieth century. Additionally, the Liberty Memorial houses the only public World War I museum in the United States. Noted post-war architect Edward Durrell Stone claimed, "It is one of the country's great memorials, in a class with the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It is like the Acropolis in Athens, with its great wall setting or like the monumental planning of Paris."
Construction of the American Butter Company's new facility at 2438 Broadway began in 1922 and was completed by May 1923. The Fogel Construction Company, with H. Von Unwerth as the structural engineer, constructed the building, designed by prominent Kansas City architect Frederick E. McIlvain (see below). The five-story curved building was built of reinforced concrete, finished in tapestry brick and trimmed in polychrome terra cotta. The total cost of the building was estimated at $250,000. The company was formerly located at 517 Delaware Street, Kansas City.
For years Kansas City, Missouri, sought solutions to connect the commercial and business district on the edge of the bluffs with the industrial district 200 feet below where wholesale houses, rail yards, and stockyards are located in the bottom lands of the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers. In the last decades of the 1800s, inaugural and subsequent cable lines provided access into the central industrial district, but these harrowing thoroughfares were not engineered to carry vehicular traffic of the new century. Replacing the dilapidated cable-car trestle on Twelfth Street, the new double-deck, 2,300-foot long reinforced concrete viaduct provided the necessary direct link when it was completed in 1915.