KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Throngs of people were in Westport Friday for their chance to buy a piece Kansas City history, and help former Mayor Charlie Wheeler build a nest egg.
Over the course of two terms as Kansas City mayor and one as a state senator, you’re going to accumulate a lot of one-of-a-kind memorabilia. And that’s what buyers are looking for Friday: Their piece of history that has sentimental or real value among collectors.
The man for whom Kansas City’s downtown airport is named, is downsizing after his wife racked up big bills battling health issues. Charlie Wheeler and his wife Marjorie recently were forced to move from their longtime home in the Loose Park neighborhood because the Wheelers owed more than $40,000 in back taxes.
They now rent a much smaller home near the Ward Parkway Shopping Center.
But there’s art, furniture and souvenirs from Wheeler’s political days that he couldn’t take with him. Instead he’s selling it in Westport to provide a financial cushion for himself and his wife.
“It was a museum of its own sort in the house to sort through and help process to present to the people so they can take a keepsake of Kansas City memories home,” said Kathy Kaul, the estate sale producer.
Wheeler was not present to watch his belongings as they were sold. And some of the buyers told FOX 4 News they’re happy to try to help Wheeler and his wife, while getting to own a piece of the city’s history.
Wheeler’s trademark bow ties are not up for sale. Kaul says the former mayor told her he wanted to keep them if he could.
You can find antique furniture and plenty of hats, something Wheeler collected. There were even a few mementos signed by President Truman.
The sale continues until 6 p.m. Friday and then again from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Old Westport Shopping Center.
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Wheeler is a Doctor of Pathology and also earned a law degree. He was first elected as Mayor of Kansas City in 1971 and served two terms until 1979.
“The Wheeler era was a boom period for Kansas City development with the 1972 opening of the Kansas City International Airport, the construction of Kemper Arena, Bartle Hall and the Truman Sports Complex event facilities as well as Worlds of Fun and Crown Center,” says a news release on the sale.
Coverage from FOX 4 Morning News: