If you have a story from Super Bowl IV, the Jackson County Historical Society wants it

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Throw a stone in Kansas City, and someone has a story about the last time the chiefs went to the Super Bowl. That includes Charles Wheeler, the oldest living Kansas City mayor.

"Ninety-three," said Wheeler, when asked his age on Friday afternoon. "I was born on August 10."

Of those 93 years, eight were spent as the mayor of Kansas City. Wheeler took office in 1971, a year after Kansas City became the home of the Super Bowl IV champs. A year later, the Truman Sports Complex opened near Interstate 70 and Interstate 435.

"I took a good deal of credit for the two stadiums," he said, "and when we approve the expenditure of monies and became major league, the world took notice of it."

"This is a great sports town," he added from his wheelchair at Bishop Spencer Place near the Plaza.

Obviously, he's a sports fan, especially of this Chiefs team.

"I believe this team is the kind that rises to the occasion," he said. "It has risen to the occasion."

Five decades ago, Kansas City also rose to the occasion. That's when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

"The city was excited about the Chiefs 50 years ago. As they were about the Royals recently," he said, "when we won the world championship."

"The crowds' behavior upon winning was ideal, just a huge parade," he remembered.

And when it comes to sports, Kansas City has taken on a new life since then.

"(Kansas City) was a sleepy little town and needed some awakening, and the Chiefs provided that awakening. Shortly after the Chiefs came the Royals. And now we have two wonderful teams and are ready to take on the world."

Like Wheeler, everyone in Kansas City of a certain age has a story about that 1970 Super Bowl. And in a little more than a week, everyone in Kansas City now will have a story about the 2020 Super Bowl as well.

"I think it's definitely collective memory everybody's going to have," said Caitlin Eckard, executive director of the Jackson County Historical Society.

Eckard and the Jackson County Historical Society want a piece of it -- because right now, they only have one piece.

"It's the team poster from the 1970 Super Bowl," Eckard said, "and that`s all we have in our archives."

Eckard stood in a room in the old Jackson County Courthouse in Independence devoted to Jackson County's history.

"We’re still collecting things that happened last week, last month, last year," Eckard added, "because that will be history in another 10, 20, or 30 years."

The group wants the public to donate -- or even just loan -- the organization a bit of the Chiefs' memorabilia.

"We can also take digital copies because it’s 2020," she said with a laugh. "We can scan it, high-resolution. We can make reproductions. As long as we have the image of it, we can take that. You can keep your program," she said.

Or your photo, or whatever else you may want to share, yet keep.

"I guess people don’t think it’s sports or history," she said with a shrug, "but it really is -- especially when it’s been 50 years since we’ve been to the last Super Bowl."

These days, Kansas City is about memories, memorabilia and maybe another National Championship.

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