TWA Corporate Headquarters' Building

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TWA Corporate Headquarters' Building

The TWA Corporate Headquarters' Building was the corporate headquarters of Trans World Airlines until 1964, when the airline moved its headquarters to New York City. The building is located at 1735 Baltimore Avenue in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

The selection of Kansas City as the headquarters for TWA, initially via Transcontinental Air Transport, was said to have been made by Charles Lindbergh. The building was designed by architects Raymond E. Bales, Jr. and Morris Schechter and built by the Long Construction Company of Kansas City. Site work began in May 1955, and construction was completed on October 31, 1956. The building's exterior was decorated in TWA's signature red and white corporate colors. The three-story L-shaped commercial facility was dominated by aluminum panels and corrugated concrete paneling. It was constructed using the Youtz-Slick construction method, in which steel support beams were first erected and then concrete slabs were poured at ground level and lifted into place by hydraulic jacks. The slabs were then bolted and welded onto the beams. This method allowed for a reduction in construction costs and construction time.

By 1964, TWA had become a major international figure in aviation, which prompted a move of the airline's executive offices to New York. The 1735 Baltimore building remained headquarters for TWA's accounting department, ticket office, credit department, and cargo department until 1969. It also continued to use the building for training its flight attendants until opening the Breech Academy in nearby suburban Overland Park, Kansas in 1969.

In 2002, the TWA building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It had been vacant for several years, although plans as late as 2003 called for the building to be converted to residential condominiums under the name of TWA Lofts LLC. Instead, the building was redeveloped by the Kansas City-based urban development firm The Nicholson Group. After renovation, it was then leased to the Kansas City-based advertising agency Barkley Inc.. The company moved into the renovated facility on November 14, 2006. The general area surrounding the TWA building is now known as the Crossroads Arts District.

TWA Moonliner II

During TWA's heyday, its corporate headquarters building was easily identified by the 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) TWA Moonliner II rocket that stood on the roof's southwest corner. It was modeled after the original 76-foot-tall (23 m), one-third scale TWA Moonliner at Disneyland's Tomorrowland attraction; TWA was the Moonliner's corporate sponsor until 1962. Their replica Moonliner II was then removed from the building's roof by the airline's new owners, shortly after Howard Hughes sold his controlling interest in the airline. The iconic rocket was then sold to SpaceCraft, a Kansas City, Missouri travel-trailer company.

When SpaceCraft moved to Concordia, Missouri in 1970, the by then all-white Moonliner II moved with them. It continued to slowly fall into disrepair for another 25 years while sitting at their campground facility, located just south of Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis. The deteriorated rocket replica was then sold and painstakenly restored, down to its original red and white TWA markings, by its new owner, a longtime Disney collector. TWA's Moonliner II is now on display at Kansas City's National Airline History Museum located at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport; in this location, the restored rocket is about five miles (8 km) from its original TWA roof-top location.

As a part of the restoration of the TWA headquarters building, fabrication of a brand new, somewhat smaller Moonliner II replica began in March 2006 by the Kansas City office of the Bratton Corporation. This Moonliner II replica was then installed on September 29 of that year at the same southwest corner roof location as the original.

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