It’s been said that it only takes one song to bring back a thousand memories. If that is true, then one can probably expect to be flooded with memories when they see what’s been taking shape in the basement of long-time Overland Park resident, Brad Moore.
Professionally, Moore works for BRR Architecture, one of the largest architectural firms in the metro area and one of the leading firms in the nation for retail construction. But when his work day is completed, Moore turns to another one of his passions: building scale models of familiar places of days gone by.
Born with a thirst for nostalgia, Moore enjoys taking a walk down memory lane so that he can run into the past, and when you feast your eyes upon his creations, you are treated to a piece of local history in which you can simultaneously lose yourself and find yourself.
With his keen attention to detail, Moore has the uncanny ability to recreate some of the most treasured places Kansas Citians grew to know and love over the years. Among his attention? Deserving models include Shakey’s Pizza Parlor, the old Manor Barn, the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge, the Betty Crocker Tree House Restaurant, Stuckey’s, and the legendary White Haven Motor Lodge.
But in order to get to this level of creativity, Moore had to start somewhere. He earned his degree in architecture from the University of Kansas in 1988, but his architectural prowess presented itself long before Moore became a Jayhawk. Moore indulged his passion for creating models when he was just a kid, building railroad sets with accompanying buildings down in his family’s basement, crudely fashioning buildings out of old shoe boxes.
As he got older, he would expand on the intricacies of his projects. He once made a model based on the modern architecture of a neighbor’s house while still in elementary school.
“I would make models based on things with which I was familiar,” Moore explains, noting that some of the models he has built feature interior displays while others are simply the exterior views.
When Moore was in high school, he worked part-time at the Charlie Chan Restaurant in Metcalf South Mall. At the time, he had the foresight to acquire the blueprints for the restaurant.
“I wanted to get the blueprints for the place because I figured that someday I’d probably want to build a model of it,” says Moore, who last year created a replica of the restaurant to uncanny perfection.
Working in spurts, it can take up to several months to complete a single project. However, the time invested has paid off.
“Somebody saw the Stuckey’s model on Facebook and shared it with a gentleman in the St. Louis area who was a fan of Route 66 nostalgia,” recalls Moore. “He offered to purchase the model from me, but before we were able to complete the transaction, he passed away.”
This model is now going to the Stuckey’s headquarters in Eastman, Georgia, where it will proudly stand in the company’s local museum for permanent display.
Moore is also vice president of the Overland Park Historic Society, which plans to feature his models as part of a revolving series when the Society opens space inside the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center in the former King Louie building at 87th and Metcalf.
“I expect to make at least two models per year that are of some beloved, but no longer standing, buildings in Overland Park,” notes Moore, forecasting models of the Strang Line Train Depot in downtown Overland Park and the former Glenwood Theater. “I am very appreciative to have an opportunity to put these models on public display. My basement is getting a little crowded.”
His talents do not just stop at these models, however. Moore is also known for his singing and acting skills. He not only performs at private parties, but in the past year was featured in a locally produced film entitled Free Verse, which is currently making the rounds in independent film festivals.
Moore is also involved in numerous organizations and is the current president-elect of the Leawood Rotary Club in addition to serving as vice president of the Overland Park Historic Society.
When not busy at work, creating new models or giving back to his community in countless ways, Moore values time with his wife Kim, a pharmacist at Olathe Medical Center; his son Ryan, who graduated from KU this past spring; and his daughter Emily, who will be a sophomore at KU in the fall.
Moore has always kept his hometown close to his heart and is a true ambassador of not only Overland Park but the entire metro area.
“This is a great place to live,” he says with a smile.
For more information, visit Moore’s Facebook page “Modelworks.”