Muehlebach Hotel, President Harry S. Truman, Marriott Hotel
Barney Allis, a Polish immigrant barely five-and-a-half feet tall, had not the stature or grandeur to be the premier hotelier of the Midwest. But while short in inches he was big on panache, and once he acquired the Muehlebach Hotel in 1931, his personality elevated it from the other luxury hotels to a bona fide destination. His loyal patron President Harry Truman conducted business in the penthouse suite when visiting home. Allis drew in celebrities and influenced fellow downtown businessmen with his hard work ethic and idealistic enthusiasm. “We can do anything,” he was known to say, “if we’ve just got the vision and guts to go out and do it.” Fittingly, the Barney Allis Plaza sits downtown in the shadow of the former Muehlebach, now Mariott Hotel, near the sidewalk where he collapsed and died on April 17, 1962. He rests in peace in the Sheffield cemetery in Kansas City, Mo.