The Legacy of Lamar

The Bronco Bowl was one of many things Dallas wouldn't have had without Lamar Hunt. Now, both are gone.

I am sure Richie will be along shortly to offer his thoughts on Lamar Hunt, who died last night of complications from prostate cancer at Presbyterian Hospital. Services will be Saturday at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Surely by now you've read The Dallas Morning News' extensive coverage of Hunt's life and death; the front-page obit by Joe Simnacher and Brad Townsend is a nice piece of work. Till I read it this morning, I had completely forgotten that Hunt, the man who brought pro football and pro soccer and pro tennis to Dallas, was also responsible for the Bronco Bowl, the greatest concert venue around till its inexplicable demise in 2003, when it was torn down to make way for a Home Depot.

After you read The News' coverage, you might then want to read what the Kansas City Star has to say about Hunt. After all, says Kansas City Chiefs broadcaster Bill Grigsby, who's been calling games ever since the Dallas Texans relocated to KC in 1963, Hunt "was not just a Dallas Texan, he's a Kansas Citian. He left his legacy here." Indeed, reports the paper, though Hunt never actually lived in Kansas City, "he contributed significantly to the area's economy." How so?

Hunt, as chairman of Dallas-based Unity Hunt Inc., a large, diversified private company, also owned Hunt Midwest Enterprises, located within an underground business complex in Kansas City.

Hunt Midwest Enterprises developed two multimillion-dollar recreational theme parks in Kansas City: Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Both parks were sold in 1995. Hunt Midwest also is the key corporation in the development of the Kansas City International Foreign Trade Zone and owns a limestone rock mining company.

The Star obit also goes into greater detail about Hunt's art collecting, recalling when, in 1979, he paid $2.5 million for the enormous "Icebergs" landscape painting by Frederick Edwin Church. Back then, it was the highest price ever paid for an American painting sold at auction, and I remember how big a deal it was when Hunt hung the piece in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts because it wouldn't actually fit in the house. Every family we knew had a poster from the DMFA exhibit hanging in their house; ours was framed and hung in my little brother's room. The folks still have it. And me, I have a pin from the Bronco Bowl bowling alley. What did Lamar Hunt leave you? --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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