LUMI is pleased to acquire the FUR STORAGE neon sign of the Tower Laundry & Dry Cleaners business formerly at 1009 West 43rd Street, Kansas City, Missouri. This sign was part of a robust neon collection that adorned the classic Art Deco-inspired building designed by Richard M. Wakefield, erected by the Bennett Construction Company, and opened to the public on June 30, 1947.
Originally owned by Howard Brunt, the business changed hands numerous times, first selling to Joe Goetz in 1948 who expanded the business to include five other dry cleaners around the city. After Mr. Goetz, the business sold to Ramish Patel in 1978, to Larry Ross in 1985, and finally to Pride Cleaners in 2015. The business closed in 2016.
Owner Larry Ross told stories of a man’s suit gone missing for two weeks, a sweltering 120-degree work day, and a surprise bag of marijuana found in a customer’s pocket—he claims to have thrown it away.
Tower customers included local luminaries: photographer David Douglas Duncan, James Kemper Jr., William T. Kemper, Joseph Atha of Folger’s Coffee, Missouri Governor Joe Teasdale, Lou Ward of Russell Stover Candy, and jazz singer Marilyn Maye.
Thankfully, the building and most of its neon signs have survived despite damage by “sling-shot vandalism” estimated at $150 according to the Kansas City Star in October 1947.
At this writing, the building is owned and occupied by Andrew Cameron’s Donutology, which “sells and spreads happiness” through its custom donut creations and charitable support for local organizations. Mr. Cameron respectfully fused the building’s Deco exterior with a more contemporary industrial interior.
The neon signs were rescued by Mark Wright of So Wright Antiques. The wordmark Tower sign was sold to a Seattle buyer and is rumored to have sold again to a restaurant at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
LUMI warmly embraces its FUR STORAGE component of this landmark Kansas City business.