The Red Crown Cafe

Tom Dennis

This is a picture of The Red Crown Cafe near Platte City, Missouri, circa 1954. It was owned and operated by my grandparents on my mother's side (Frank and Lucy Klasinski) from about 1952 until about 1966. When my grandparents were ready to retire, it was sold and demolished in order to provide space for KCI airport and a new highway (I-29).

The main building housed a service station (left side), a diner style cafe (center), and a large multipurpose room with a dance floor (right) with several small dining alcoves around the outside edges. There were also many basements, one of which I remember serving as a hot spot for the beatniks of the day (~1960). There were even some sub-basements which, along with the rooms in the little tower above the service station, were great to explore!

Off the picture to the right was a large fenced-in patio with several doors leading to it from the multipurpose room. At the left, one of several motel units can be seen. My grandparents lived in one while they ran the place.

This picture conjures up many fond memories. Among them are many family reunions that were held there and a hired cook named "Fanny!" That was real funny when we were kids.

There are reports, supported by a TV documentary, that Bonnie and Clyde stayed there in the 1930's (it was known then as the Red Crown Tourist Camp). There was even a bullet hole in one of the bed frames from a gunfight, reported among the family, to prove it!

Here is a painting of the Red Crown Cafe done by my Mom, Elizabeth (Betty) Jean Dennis (Klasinski). It's hanging on the wall in a hallway at my house. Click it to see full resolution.