Soil Beneath Historic Landmark, The American Royal, Erodes and Concrete Slab Floor Becomes Uneven

Kansas City, Missouri’s historic American Royal got its start way back in 1899 and today draws more than 250,000 people over an annual eight-week season of barbecue contests, rodeos, livestock shows, equestrian events and agricultural activities benefiting youth and education. The 14-acre complex’s buildings, though, have a problem common to the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers-the soil beneath them erodes and concrete slab floors become uneven.

The land on which American Royal stands is an ancient riverbed, or channel for retreating glacial melt and contains thick limestone. channel sandstone, and shale. While the mix is a solid, stable base. sometimes the supporting geology shifts and presents challenges for concrete sidewalks and slab floors.

The floor of Governor’s Exposition Hall began shifting back in 1980s and the only remedy was to fill the voids beneath it with asphalt, and eventually to apply asphalt over the slab for a level surface. Finally last year the American Royal management was faced with a tough choice—find a better, more permanent solution or tear up the entire floor and replace it.