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Joe Sanders
Sara Nyman

The advent of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s made a local Kansas City musical group popular all over the country. Joe Sanders together with Carleton Coon formed a band that became known as the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks. They started out playing at the Plantation Grill in the Hotel Muehlebach, and local radio station WDAF broadcast their show across the airwaves.

A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: Garden footage with Materna statue (unidentified location); Park footage with fountain (unidentified location); Model boat on water; Statue of Edward Bates blown over by tornado; Post-tornado footage of St. Louis (Sept. 29, 1927); Zoo footage; Shot of band lineup; University campus (unidentified location); Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis; More post-tornado footage; Eula in car with friends; The Old Cathedral in St. Louis; Eula walking while eating ice cream cone; Zoo footage.


A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: Picnic with children; Short segment of "Pop" Estep and other band member in front of Pantages (215 E 12th St KCMO) with posters; "Russ" Stout, Rex Downing, Carleton, and Eula Coon messing around in the country, driving cars, and stopped at gas station; Coon children and dog at home; Clip of Carleton and "Pop" Estep; Carleton and Eula Coon playing golf; Clip of Coon house and Coon children; More picnic footage with swimming pond (possibly Swope Park); Footage of Coon family; Footage o


A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: Footage of band in tour cars; Revolutionary War sites tour in Vincennes IN including Old French Cemetery (205 Church St), Fort Sackville, Home of Alice of Old Vincennes, Harrison Mansion, and The Treaty Tree; Footage from inside car on racetrack; Footage of Indianapolis from Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument with Harold Thiel and Richolson; Unidentified golf club; Footage of Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument; Indianapolis street footage including streetcar and Hook's Drugs; Footage of "P


A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: Floyd Estep, Downing, Sanders and others on road and working on cars; Downing, Sanders, Richolson, "Pop" Estep on sidewalk in front of Hotel De Soto and John T.

Circa 1920 photograph of Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra, Gayety Theatre Bldg., Kansas City Missouri. Pictured are Joe Sanders at the piano and Carleton Coon by smaller drum with other members not identified. It is believed to be an early group photograph, although probably not the first lineup of the orchestra.

Circa 1920 photograph of Joe Sanders on the left and Carleton Coon on the right.

Circa 1926 portrait photographs of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks musicians assembled to resemble a microphone. Pictured are from top and clockwise: Russ Stout, Pop Estep, Joe Richolson, Bob Pope, Rex Downing, John Thiell, Harold Thiell, Floyd Estep and Joe Sanders and Carleton Coon in the center. Wording at bottom: "Music Corporation of America Presents Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawks Orchestra."

Photograph of Joe Sanders seated at the piano.

Photograph with full body view of Sgt. Joe Sanders in military uniform. Taken at Camp Bowie, Texas.


Circa 1925 photograph with interior view of the original Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra seated and posed with their instruments. Pictured left to right: Nick Musolino, Pop Estep, Joe Richolson, Joe Sanders, Carleton Coon, Bill Haid, John Thiell, Orville Knapp, and Harold Thiell.

Photograph of the Coon-Sanders Novelty Orchestra at the Newman Theater performing a skit to accompany Charlie Chaplin's film "The Pilgrim".

April 1923

Circa 1923 photograph of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks posed at the Plantation Grille, Muehlebach Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri. Pictured standing is Carleton Coon and Joe Sanders; seated from left is Kohlman, Nordberg, Estep, Williams, McLean, and J. Thiell.

Photograph of Joe Sanders with fur coat, bowler hat and spats standing beside Carleton Coon while waiting for a parade to begin. Both are by a car parked at Union Station when the band was welcomed back in Kansas City on December 9, 1927. Photograph taken by "Pat" Murphy of the Kansas City Journal-Post.

December 9th 1927

Circa 1929 photograph of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks at The Nighthawk, a restaurant in Chicago, IL. Identified from left: Elmer Krebs, bass; Joe Sanders, piano; Carleton Coon, drums; Russ Stout, banjo; Joe Richolson, trumpet; Harold Thiell, reeds; Bob Pope, trumpet; Floyd Estep, reeds; Rex Downing, trombone; John Thiell, reeds.

Circa 1930 photograph of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks at the Terrace Room in the New Yorker Hotel, NYC. Pictured are top row from left: Pope and Richolson; middle row from left: Krebs, Downing, H. Thiell, and Stout; front row from left: Sanders, Coon, Estep, and J. Thiell. An NBC microphone is soon on a stand near them.

A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: "Pop" Estep at Harding Home and Museum in Marion OH; Harding Memorial under construction; Band playing baseball in town with children; Home of William McKinley (S.W. corner of 8th St. and Market Ave.


A home motion picture created by Carleton Coon, consisting of clips including: Footage of Sanders and Coon; Coon children in city and at home (820 W. 71st Terr.); Coon talking; Harold Thiel, Carleton Coon and Eula Coon in city; Coon home exterior; John Coon skating and Coon daughter dancing in front of home; More footage of Sanders and Coon.

Coon Sanders Band
Chuck Haddix

As Bennie Moten, George E. Lee, and other African American bandleaders based at 18th and Vine pioneered a new style of jazz, a number of white bands in downtown Kansas City were performing a style of hot jazz modeled after nationally popular white bands. Ironically, while Kansas City would gain renown for its great African American bands that barnstormed across country, it was a white dance band, the Coon-Sanders Nighthawk Orchestra, which first established Kansas City’s national reputation as a jazz center.

Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict,1855-1865.
The Pendergast Years, Kansas City in the Jazz Age & Great Depression.
KC History, Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library.