When Art Lujin tells people what he did for the last 25 years and eight months of his professional life, he braces for the question. It’s nearly automatic.
"Oh, yeah,” they say, blanking for a moment. “Whatever happened to them?”
“Them” is TWA. The answer is here, on a few thousand acres in southern Kansas City, where in 1930, two passenger and mail carriers merged to form the first airline promising travel across the continental United States. Its founders named it Transcontinental and Western Air. It later would be better known as Trans World Airlines.
The history of TWA is also the history of American business itself in the 20th century — of expansion and...