Skip to main content
Nichols’ Folly: A Century of the Country Club Plaza
Nichols’ FollyNichols’ Folly: A Century of the Country Club Plaza

Nichols’ Folly explores the century-long story behind Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.

About the Show

After developer J.C. Nichols announced plans to open the Country Club Plaza in 1923, some skeptics scoffed at the notion, labeling it “Nichols’ Folly.”

Over the following decades, the Country Club Plaza became the defining landmark of Kansas City, offering an alternative downtown with increasingly luxurious shopping options and serving as a springboard for suburban sprawl. It gained fame as the nation’s first planned shopping center designed to accommodate the automobile for a nation on the move.

As the Plaza begins its second century, its future is uncertain. Under different out-of-town ownership, retail vacancies have soared as consumers embrace online shopping. Recent decades have been defined by planning controversies as other developers have sought to build high-rise buildings around the Plaza. And Nichols’ name has been invoked as a symbol of an age when racial restrictions were used to segregate our city and exacerbate social inequity.

Nichols’ Folly will examine the long and dramatic story of the Country Club Plaza. It will assess its legacy. More so, it will ponder its future.

Filer image


Iconic Shopping District Seen As Both Private Property And Public Trust

As the Country Club Plaza marks its centennial, Flatland turned to local historians, business owners, community leaders and political officials for a comprehensive look into the past, present and future of the iconic Kansas City locale.

Coming Soon

Flatland in Focus

Following up from "Nichols’ Folly", Flatland in Focus examines the future of the Country Club Plaza and what changes are in store as new ownership is poised to begin the next chapter for KC's Crown Jewel as it celebrates a century in business.

Related Stories | Flatland

Kansas City PBS Highlights

Your weekly update on Kansas City PBS programming and events

Local Productions
Explore local programs from Kansas City PBS.
  • Nick Haines, smiling. Week in Review
  • D. Rashaan Gilmore smiling, Flatland in Focus with D. Rashaan Gilmore
  • Nichols Folly, A Century of the Country Club Plaza, plaza fountain
  • Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, art car, Salvation Mountain
  • Flatland Presents Passing the Baton, Black fist clenching words like Black Lives Matter
  • Age-Old Questions, A Revealing Look at the State of Aging, image of older woman looking out window
  • We Are Latinos, Discovering the Latino Community of Kansas City, portion of mural
  • The Gun Conundrum, image of gun
  • A Flatland Original, Art House, KC Conversations About the Art of Film, image of old projector
  • Get Lost! Kansas City PBS logo, Michael and Lonita
  • Womontown, two women embrace
  • "AIDS in KC: The Early Days" poster