Kansas City, Missouri

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This article deals with the city of Kansas City, Missouri. For Kansas City, Kansas or other uses, see Kansas City (disambiguation). See also KCM (disambiguation).
Kansas City, Missouri
City
City of Kansas City, Missouri
From top left: the Liberty Memorial, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City skyline, the Country Club Plaza, Arrowhead Stadium, and Kauffman Stadium
From top left: the Liberty Memorial, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City skyline, the Country Club Plaza, Arrowhead Stadium, and Kauffman Stadium
Flag of Kansas City, Missouri
Flag
Official seal of Kansas City, Missouri
Seal
Nickname(s): "KC", "KCMO", "City of Fountains", "Heart of America"
Location in Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass counties in the state of Missouri.
Location in Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass counties in the state of Missouri.
Kansas City, Missouri is located in USA
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 39°05′59″N 94°34′42″W / 39.09972°N 94.57833°W / 39.09972; -94.57833Coordinates: 39°05′59″N 94°34′42″W / 39.09972°N 94.57833°W / 39.09972; -94.57833
Country United States
State Missouri
Counties Jackson
Clay
Platte
Cass
Incorporated March 28, 1853
Government
 • Mayor Sly James
Area[1]
 • City 319.03 sq mi (826.28 km2)
 • Land 314.95 sq mi (815.72 km2)
 • Water 4.08 sq mi (10.57 km2)
 • Urban 584.4 sq mi (1,513.59 km2)
 • Metro 7,952 sq mi (20,596 km2)
Elevation 910 ft (277 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 459,787
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 467,007
 • Rank US: 37th
 • Density 1,474.2/sq mi (569.2/km2)
 • Urban 1,519,417 (US: 31st)
 • Metro 2,054,473 (US: 30th)
 • CSA 2,393,623 (US: 23rd)
Demonym Kansas Citian
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 816, 975(planned)
FIPS code 29-38000[4]
GNIS feature ID 0748198[5]
Website KCMO.org

Kansas City (often referred to as simply K.C.) is the most populous municipality in the state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 459,787,[6] which had risen to an estimated 467,007 in 2013.[2] It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, a region spanning the Kansas–Missouri border. Founded in the 1830s as a port on the Missouri River and originally called Kansas, this became confusing upon the establishment of Kansas Territory in 1854, creating the name Kansas City to distinguish the two. Sitting on the western border of Missouri, with downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, the modern city encompasses 316 square miles (820 km2) in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. It is one of two county seats of Jackson County, along with Independence.

The 18th and Vine Neighborhood gave birth to the musical styles of Kansas City jazz and Kansas City blues. It is also known for Kansas City-style barbecue. The area is infamous for the Border War that occurred during the American Civil War, including the Battle of Westport and Bleeding Kansas. Large suburbs in the Kansas City Area include Independence and Lee's Summit in Missouri and Overland Park and Olathe in Kansas.

History[edit]

Kansas City, Missouri, was officially incorporated on March 28, 1853. The territory straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers was considered a good place to build settlements.

Exploration and settlement[edit]

Kansas City Pioneer Square monument in Westport features Pony Express founder Alexander Majors, Westport/Kansas City founder John Calvin McCoy and Mountainman Jim Bridger who owned Chouteau's Store.

The first documented European visitor to Kansas City was Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, who was also the first European to explore the lower Missouri River. Criticized for his handling of his Native American attack on Fort Détroit, he had deserted his post as commander of the fort and was avoiding the French authorities. Bourgmont lived with a Native American wife in the Missouri village about 90 miles (140 km) east near Brunswick, Missouri, and illegally traded furs.

In order to clear his name, he wrote "Exact Description of Louisiana, of Its Harbors, Lands and Rivers, and Names of the Indian Tribes That Occupy It, and the Commerce and Advantages to Be Derived Therefrom for the Establishment of a Colony" in 1713 followed in 1714 by "The Route to Be Taken to Ascend the Missouri River." In the documents, he describes the junction of the "Grande Riv[ière] des Cansez" and Missouri River, being the first to refer to them by those names. French cartographer Guillaume Delisle used the descriptions to make the first reasonably accurate map of the area.

The Spanish took over the region in the Treaty of Paris in 1763, but were not to play a major role in the area other than taxing and licensing all traffic on the Missouri River. The French continued their fur trade on the river under Spanish license. The Chouteau family operated under the Spanish license at St. Louis in the lower Missouri Valley as early as 1765, but it would be 1821 before the Chouteaus reached Kansas City, when François Chouteau established Chouteau's Landing.

After the Louisiana Purchase, in 1804, Lewis and Clark visited the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, noting it was a good place to build a fort. In 1831, a group of Mormons from New York settled in an area that would later be part of Kansas City. They built the first school within the current boundaries of the city, but were forced out by mob violence in 1833 and their settlement was left vacant.[7]

In 1833, John McCoy established West Port along the Santa Fe Trail, 3-mile (4.8-kilometre) away from the river. Then in 1834, McCoy established Westport Landing on a bend in the Missouri River to serve as a landing point for West Port. Soon after the Kansas Town Company, a group of investors, began to settle the area, taking their name from an English spelling of "Cansez." In 1850, the landing area was incorporated as the Town of Kansas.[8]

By that time, the Town of Kansas, Westport, and nearby Independence, had become critical points in America's westward expansion. Three major trails – the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon – all passed through Jackson County.

On February 22, 1853, the City of Kansas was created with a newly elected mayor. It had an area of 0.70 square miles (1.8 km2) and a population of 2,500. The boundary lines at that time extended from the middle of the Missouri River south to what is now Ninth Street, and from Bluff Street on the west to a point between Holmes Road and Charlotte Street on the east.[9]

Civil War[edit]

The Kansas City area was rife with animosity during the period just prior to the Civil War. Already situated just inside a state bitterly divided on the issue of slavery, southern sympathizers in the area immediately recognized the threat posed by the neighboring state of Kansas that was petitioning to enter the Union under the new doctrine of popular sovereignty. Infuriated by the idea of Kansas becoming a free state, many from the area crossed into Kansas to sway the state towards allowing slavery, at first by ballot box and then by bloodshed.

Bird's eye view of Kansas City, Missouri, January 1869. Drawn by A. Ruger, Merchants Lith. Co., currently located at the Irish Museum and Cultural Center in Union Station.

During the Civil War, the Kansas City, Missouri and its immediate environs were the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence in August 1862 resulted in a Confederate victory, the Southerners were unable to follow up their win in any significant fashion, as Kansas City was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified for them to assault. The Second Battle of Independence, part of Sterling Price's Missouri expedition of 1864, also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again the Southern victory proved hollow, as Price was decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to occupy the city.

Moreover, General Thomas Ewing, in response to a successful raid on nearby Lawrence, Kansas, led by William Quantrill, issued General Order No. 11, forcing the eviction of residents in four western Missouri counties – including Jackson – except those living in the city and nearby communities and those whose allegiance to the Union was certified by Ewing.

Post-Civil War[edit]

Walnut Street, Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, 1906.

After the Civil War, Kansas City grew rapidly. The selection of the city over Leavenworth, Kansas, for the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad bridge over the Missouri River brought about significant growth. The population exploded after 1869, when the Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute, opened. The boom prompted a name change to Kansas City in 1889 and the city limits to extend south and east. Westport became part of Kansas City on December 2, 1897. In 1900, Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with a population of 163,752 residents.[10]

Kansas City, guided by architect George Kessler, became a forefront example of the City Beautiful movement, developing a network of boulevards and parks around the city.[11]

The relocation of Union Station to its current location in 1914 and the opening of the Liberty Memorial in 1923 gave the city two of its most identifiable landmarks. Robert A. Long, president of the Liberty Memorial Association, was a driving force in the funding for construction. Long was a longtime resident and wealthy businessman having built the R.A. Long Building for the Long-Bell Lumber Company, his home, Corinthian Hall now the Kansas City Museum, and Longview Farm, he was known and respected.

Further spurring Kansas City's growth was the opening of the innovative Country Club Plaza development by J.C. Nichols in 1925 as part of his Country Club District plan.

Pendergast era[edit]

At the start of the 20th century, political machines attempted to gain clout in the city, with the one led by Tom Pendergast emerging as the dominant machine by 1925. Several important buildings and structures were built during this time, including the Kansas City City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse – both added new skyscrapers to the city's growing skyline. The machine fell in 1939 when Pendergast, riddled with health problems, pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

Post–World War II development[edit]

Kansas City satellite map

Kansas City's suburban development originally began with the implementation of streetcars in the early decades of the 20th century. The city's first suburbs were in the neighborhoods of Pendleton Heights and Quality Hill. After World War II, many relatively affluent residents left for suburbs like Johnson County, Kansas and eastern Jackson County, Missouri. Many also went north of the Missouri River, where Kansas City had incorporated areas between the 1940s and 1970s.

In 1950, blacks represented 12.2% of Kansas City's population.[10] The sprawling characteristics of the city and it environs today mainly took shape after the race riots of the 1960s in Kansas City. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was a catalyst for the 1968 Kansas City riot. At this time, slums were also beginning to form in the inner city, and those who could afford to leave, left for the suburbs and outer edges of the city. The post-World War II idea of suburbs and the "American Dream" also contributed to the sprawl of the area. As the city's population continued to grow, the inner city also continued to decline. The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic whites,[12] has declined from 89.5% in 1930 to 54.9% in 2010.[10]

In 1940, the city had about 400,000 residents; by 2000, the same area was home to only about 180,000. From 1940 to 1960, the city more than doubled its physical size, while increasing its population by only about 75,000. By 1970, the city had a total area of approximately 316 square miles (820 km2), more than five times its size in 1940.

The Hyatt Regency walkway collapse was a major disaster that occurred on July 17, 1981, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200 others during a tea dance. At the time, it was the deadliest structural collapse in U.S. history.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 319.03 square miles (826.28 km2), of which, 314.95 square miles (815.72 km2) is land and 4.08 square miles (10.57 km2) is water.[1] Much of urban Kansas City sits atop bluffs overlooking the rivers and river bottoms areas. Kansas City proper is bowl-shaped and is surrounded to the north and south by limestone and bedrock cliffs that were carved by glaciers. Kansas City is situated at the junction between the Dakota and Minnesota ice lobes during the maximum late Independence glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch. The Kansas and Missouri rivers cut wide valleys into the terrain when the glaciers melted and drained. A partially filled spillway valley crosses the central portion of Kansas City, Missouri. This valley is an eastward continuation of the Turkey Creek Valley. It is the closest major city to the geographic centre of the contiguous United States, or "Lower 48".

Cityscape[edit]

Panoramic view from the top of Liberty Memorial looking north to downtown. Union Station is in the foreground, and Crown Center to its right.


Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza at night.

Kansas City, Missouri, is organized into a system of more than 240[13] neighborhoods, some with histories as independent cities or the sites of major events. Downtown, the center of the city, is currently undergoing major redevelopment with new condominiums, apartments, offices and the Power & Light District (shopping/entertainment development) complete with bars, restaurants, a grocery store with a roof-top pool club called The Jones, a performing arts center, and the Sprint Center. All these things have made downtown/midtown an attractive residential option, moreso than in the past. Near Downtown, the urban core of the city has a variety of neighborhoods, including historic Westport, Ivanhoe, Hyde Park, Squire Park, the Crossroads Arts District, 18th and Vine Historic District, Pendleton Heights, Quality Hill, the West Bottoms, and the River Market. Two other "near" downtown neighborhoods that are very popular and have unique appeal are the Country Club Plaza (or simply the "Plaza"), south Plaza and nearby Brookside.

Architecture[edit]

Community Christian Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and located adjacent to the Country Club Plaza.

The city's skyline is what one might envision for a major Midwest city, with some notable exceptions. The Nelson-Atkins Museum opened the stunning Euro-Style Bloch addition in 2007, and the soaring shells or wings of the Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2011. The towering Power and Light Building is influenced by the Art Deco style and contains a glowing sky beacon. The new world headquarters of H&R Block is a 20-story all-glass oval, which is bathed from top to bottom in a soft green light. The four industrial artworks atop the support towers of the Kansas City Convention Center (Bartle Hall) were once the subject of ridicule, but now define the night skyline near the new Sprint Center along with One Kansas City Place (the tallest office tower structure in Missouri), the KCTV-Tower with its hundreds of lit bulbs (the tallest freestanding structure in Missouri), and the Liberty Memorial, a WWI memorial and museum, which flaunts simulated flames and smoke billowing into the night skyline. Kansas City is home to significant national and international architecture firms including ACI Boland, BNIM, 360 Architecture, HNTB, Populous. Frank Lloyd Wright designed two private residences and the Community Christian Church.

Fountains at Crown Center.

Kansas City contains a collection of over 200 working fountains. Some of the most notable are located on the Country Club Plaza. From French-inspired traditional to modern, these fountains offer visitors to the city an unexpected bonus. Among the most notable are the Black Marble H&R Block fountain in front of Union Station, which features synchronized water jets that shoot high into the air; the Nichols Bronze Horses at the corner of Main and JC Nichols Parkway at the entrance to the Plaza Shopping District; and the fountain at Hallmark Cards World Headquarters in Crown Center.

City Market[edit]

Since its inception in 1857, the City Market has been one of the largest and most enduring public farmers' markets in the midwest, linking growers and small businesses to the Kansas City community. In addition, more than 30 full-time merchants are open year-round and offer specialty foods, fresh meats and seafood, restaurants and cafes, floral, home accessories and much more.[14] The City Market is also home to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, which houses artifacts from a steamboat that sank near Kansas City in 1856.[14]

Downtown[edit]

Main article: Downtown Kansas City
The city's tallest buildings and characteristic skyline are roughly contained inside the downtown freeway loop (shaded in red). Downtown Kansas City itself is established by city ordinance to stretch from the Missouri River south to 31st Street (beyond the bottom of this map), and from State Line Rd. to Troost Ave.
A look down Downtown Kansas City streets today.

Downtown Kansas City is an area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2) bounded by the Missouri River to the north, 31st Street to the south, Troost Avenue to the East, and State Line Road to the west. Areas near Downtown Kansas City include the 39th Street District, which is known as Restaurant Row,[15] and features one of Kansas City's largest selections of independently owned restaurants and boutique shops. It is a center of literary and visual arts, and bohemian culture. Crown Center is the headquarters of Hallmark Cards and a major downtown shopping and entertainment complex. It is connected to Union Station by a series of covered walkways. The Country Club Plaza, or simply "the Plaza", is an upscale, outdoor shopping and entertainment district. It was the first suburban shopping district in the United States,[16] designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile,[17] and is surrounded by apartments and condominiums, including a number of high rise buildings. The associated Country Club District to the south includes the Sunset Hill and Brookside neighborhoods, and is traversed by Ward Parkway, a landscaped boulevard known for its statuary, fountains and large, historic homes. Kansas City's Union Station is home to Science City, restaurants, shopping, theaters, and the city's Amtrak facility.

After years of neglect and seas of parking lots, Downtown Kansas City currently is undergoing a period of change with over $6 billion in development since 2000. Many residential properties recently have been or currently are under redevelopment in three surrounding warehouse loft districts and the Central Business District. The Power & Light District, a new, nine-block entertainment district comprising numerous restaurants, bars, and retail shops, was developed by the Cordish Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Its first tenant opened on November 9, 2007. It is anchored by the Sprint Center, a 19,000-seat complex that has become a top draw for sports and musical entertainment. Elton John was the first performer to play at the Sprint Center.

Climate[edit]

Kansas City lies in the Midwestern United States, as well as near the geographic center of the country, at the confluence of the largest river in the country, the Missouri River, and the Kansas River (also known as the Kaw River). The city lies in the Humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa) zone, with four distinct seasons, and moderate precipitation, and is part of USDA plant hardiness zones 5b and 6a[18] Being located in the center of North America, far removed from a significant body of water, there is significant potential for extremes of hot and cold swings in temperature all year long. Unless otherwise stated, normal figures below are based on 1981–2010 data at Downtown Airport. The warmest month of the year is July, with a 24-hour average temperature of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C). The summer months are warm but can get hot and moderately humid, with moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexico, and high temperatures surpass 100 °F (38 °C) on 5.6 days of the year, and 90 °F (32 °C) on 47 days.[19][20] The coldest month of the year is January, with an average temperature of 31.0 °F (−0.6 °C). Winters are cold, with 22 days where the high temperature is at or below 32.0 °F (0.0 °C) and 2.5 nights with a low at or below 0 °F (−18 °C).[19] The official record highest temperature is 113 °F (45 °C), set on August 14, 1936 at Downtown Airport, while the official record lowest is −23 °F (−31 °C), set on December 22 and 23, 1989.[19] Normal seasonal snowfall is 13.4 inches (34 cm) at Downtown Airport and 18.8 in (48 cm) at Kansas City International Airport. The average window for freezing temperatures is October 31 to April 4, while for measurable (0.1 in or 0.25 cm) snowfall, it is November 27 to March 16 as measured at Kansas City International Airport. Precipitation, both in frequency and total accumulation, shows a marked uptick in late spring and summer.

Kansas City is situated on the edge of the "Tornado Alley", a broad region where cold air from the Rocky Mountains in Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the formation of powerful storms, especially during the spring. A few areas of the Kansas City metropolitan area have had some severe outbreaks of tornadoes at different points in the past, including the Ruskin Heights tornado in 1957,[21] and the May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence. The region can also fall victim to the sporadic ice storm during the winter months, such as the 2002 ice storm during which hundreds of thousands of residents lost power for days and (in some cases) weeks.[22] Kansas City and its outlying areas are also subject to flooding, including the Great Flood of 1993 and the Great Flood of 1951.


Demographics[edit]

Historic Populations
Year Population ±% Area[28] Density
1853 2,500 - 1.04 2,404
1860 4,418 +76.7% 3.89 1,136
1870 32,260 +630.2% 3.89 8,293
1880 55,785 +72.9% 5.17 10,790
1890 132,716 +137.9% 13.24 10,024
1900 163,752 +23.4% 26.67 6,140
1910 248,381 +51.7% 59.8 4,154
1920 324,410 +30.6% 59.8 5,425
1930 399,746 +23.2% 59.8 6,685
1940 400,178 +0.1% 59.8 6,692
1950 456,622 +14.1% 80.98 5,639
1960 475,539 +4.1% 128.4 3,704
1970 507,087 +6.6% 314.5 1,612
1980 448,159 -11.6% 314.5 1,425
1990 435,146 -2.9% 317.44 1,371
2000 441,545 +1.5% 317.46 1,391
2010 459,787 +4.1% 319.03 1,441
2013 Est. 467,007 +1% 319.03 1,474

According to the 2010 census, the racial composition of Kansas City was as follows:[29]

Kansas City has the second largest Sudanese and Somalian populations in the United States. The Latino/Hispanic population of Kansas City, which is heavily Mexican and Central American, is spread throughout the metropolitan area, with some concentration in the northeast part of the city and southwest of downtown. The Asian population, mostly Southeast Asian, is partly concentrated within the northeast side to the Columbus Park neighborhood in the Greater Downtown area, a historical Italian American neighborhood, the UMKC area and in River Market, in northern Kansas City.[29][30][31]

The Historic Kansas City boundary is roughly 58 square miles (150 km2) and has a population density of about 5,000 people per sq. mi. It runs from the Missouri River to the north, 79th Street to the south, the Blue River to the east, and State Line Road to the west. During the 1960s and 1970s, Kansas City annexed large amounts of land, which are largely undeveloped to this day.

Between the 2000 and 2012 Census, the urban core of Kansas City continued to drop significantly in population. The areas of Greater Downtown in the center city, and sections near I-435 and I-470 in the south, and Highway 152 in the north are the only areas of Kansas City, Missouri to have seen an increase in population, with the Northland seeing the greatest population growth.[32]

Racial composition 2010[12] 1990[10] 1970[10] 1940[10]
White 59.2% 66.8% 77.2% 89.5%
—Non-Hispanic 54.9% 65.0% 75.0%[33] N/A
Black or African American 29.9% 29.6% 22.1% 10.4%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 10.0% 3.9% 2.7%[33] N/A

Economy[edit]

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank "J" insignia on the dollar bill.

Kansas City is one of ten regional office cities for the United States Government. The U.S. Government is the largest employer in the Kansas City metro area, with more than 146 federal agencies maintaining a presence.[34] The Internal Revenue Service maintains a large service center in Kansas City that is nearly 1,400,000 square feet (130,000 m2).[35] The IRS facility is one of only two facilities in the nation to process paper returns.[36] The IRS has approximately 2,700 full-time employees in Kansas City and upwards of 4,000 employees during peak tax season with the addition of temporary employees. The General Services Administration has more than 800 employees in Kansas City, with most located at the Bannister Federal Complex in South Kansas City. The Bannister Complex is also home to the Kansas City Plant, which is a National Nuclear Security Administration facility operated by Honeywell. Honeywell employs nearly 2,700 at the Kansas City Plant, which produces and assembles 85% of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear bomb arsenal.[37] The Social Security Administration has more than 1,700 employees in the Kansas City area, with more than 1,200 located at its Mid-America Program Service Center (MAMPSC) in downtown Kansas City.[38]

Ford Motor Company operates a large manufacturing facility just outside of Kansas City in Claycomo at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant, which currently builds the Ford F-150. It has previously assembled the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, and Mercury Mariner vehicle family. The General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant is located in adjacent Kansas City, Kansas. Smith Electric Vehicles builds electric vehicles in the former TWA/American Airlines overhaul facility at Kansas City International Airport.

One of the largest drug manufacturing plants in the United States is the Sanofi-Aventis plant located in south Kansas City on the campus developed by Ewing Kauffman's Marion Laboratories.[39] Of late, it has been developing some academic and economic institutions related to animal health sciences, an effort most recently bolstered by the selection of Manhattan, Kansas, at one end of the[40] Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, as the site for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which is tasked, among other things, to research animal-related diseases.

Numerous agriculture companies operate out of the city. Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy co-op in the United States is located here. Kansas City Board of Trade is the principal trading exchange for hard red winter wheat, the principal ingredient of bread. The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and The National Association of Basketball Coaches are based in Kansas City.

H&R Block's new oblong headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

The business community is serviced by two major business magazines, the Kansas City Business Journal (published weekly) and Ingram's Magazine (published monthly), as well as numerous other smaller publications, including a local society journal, the Independent (published weekly). Kansas City is literally "on the money." Bills issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City are marked the letter "J" and/or number "10." The single dollar bills have Kansas City's name on them. The Kansas City Federal Reserve built a new bank building that opened in 2008 and relocated near Union Station. Missouri is the only state to have two of the 12 Federal Reserve Bank headquarters (St. Louis also has a headquarters). Kansas City's effort to get the bank was helped by former mayor James A. Reed, who as senator, broke a tie to get the Federal Reserve Act passed.[41]

The national headquarters for the Veterans of Foreign Wars is headquartered just south of Downtown Kansas City.

With a Gross Metropolitan Product of $41.68 billion in 2004, Kansas City's (Missouri side only) economy makes up 20.5% of the Gross State Product of Missouri.[42] In 2014, Kansas City was ranked #6 among the top cities for real estate investment.[43]

Three international law firms, Lathrop & Gage, Stinson Leonard Street, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon are based in the city.

The following companies are currently headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri:

Top employers[edit]

According to Kansas City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[44] the top employers in the area are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Federal government of the United States 41,500
2 State/County/City Government 26,326
3 Public School System 26,250
4 HCA Midwest 8,632
5 Sprint Corporation 7,000
6 Saint Luke's Health System 6,891
7 Cerner 6,615
8 Children's Mercy Hospital 5,151
9 DST Systems 5,000
10 University of Kansas Hospital 4,721
11 Truman Medical Center-Hospital Hill 4,258
12 General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant 4,100
13 Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant 4,000
14 Hallmark Cards 3,700
15 Black & Veatch 3,600
16 United Parcel Service 3,500
17 Farmers Insurance Group 3,200
18 The Home Depot 3,153

Culture[edit]

Abbreviations and nicknames[edit]

The Kansas City skyline, as seen from the Liberty Memorial.

Kansas City, Missouri, is often abbreviated as KC (abbreviations often refer to the metropolitan area). It is officially nicknamed the City of Fountains. With over 200 fountains, the city claims to have the second most in the world, just behind Rome.[45] The fountains at Kauffman Stadium, commissioned by original Kansas City Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, are the largest privately funded fountains in the world.[46] The city also has more boulevards than any other city except Paris and has been called "Paris of the Plains." The overwhelming popularity of soccer, both professionally and as a youth sport, in the city as well as Sporting Park being a popular home stadium for the US Men's National Team has led to the city being known to many as "The Soccer Capital of America". Residents are known as Kansas Citians. The city is sometimes referred to colloquially as the "Heart of America," as it is near both the population center of the United States and the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states.

Performing arts[edit]

The Country Club Plaza ("The Plaza") the center of many cultural events in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre is the metropolitan area's top professional theatre company. The Starlight Theatre is a 8,105-seat outdoor theatre, which was designed by Edward Delk. The Kansas City Symphony was founded by R. Crosby Kemper Jr. in 1982 to supersede the Kansas City Philharmonic, which was founded in 1933. The symphony is currently holds its performances at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts; the current music director and lead conductor of the symphony is Michael Stern. Lyric Opera of Kansas City, founded in 1958 and also performs at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, offers one American contemporary opera production during its annual season, consisting of either four or five productions. The Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City, performs at the Folly Theater in downtown and at the UMKC Performing Arts Center. Every summer from mid-June to early July, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has a production at Southmoreland Park near the Nelson-Atkins Museum; the festival was founded by Marilyn Strauss in 1993.

The Kansas City Ballet, founded in 1957 by Tatiana Dokoudovska, is a ballet troupe comprising 25 professional dancers and apprentices. Between 1986 and 2000, it was combined with Dance St. Louis to form the State Ballet of Missouri, although it remained located in Kansas City. From 1980 to 1995, the Ballet was run by dancer and choreographer Todd Bolender. Today, the Ballet offers an annual repertory split into three seasons which ranges from classical to contemporary ballets.[47] The Ballet also performs at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Kansas City is also home to The Kansas City Chorale, a professional 24-voice chorus conducted by Charles Bruffy. The chorus performs an annual concert series in Kansas City and a concert in Phoenix each year with their sister choir, the Phoenix Chorale. The Chorale has achieved international renown with nine recordings (three with the Phoenix Chorale).[48]

Entrance of the American Jazz Museum

Kansas City jazz in the 1930s marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. The 1979 documentary The Last of the Blue Devils portrays this era in interviews and performances by jazz notables from Kansas City.

In the 1970s, Kansas City attempted to resurrect the glory of the jazz era in a sanitized family-friendly atmosphere. In the 1970s, an effort to open jazz clubs in the River Quay area of City Market along the Missouri ended in a gangland war, in which three of the new clubs were blown up in what ultimately resulted in the removal of Kansas City mob influence in the Las Vegas casinos. The annual "Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival", which attracts top jazz stars nationwide and large out-of-town audiences, has been rated Kansas City's "best festival." by Pitch.com.[49]

Live music venues can be found throughout the city, with the highest concentration in the Westport entertainment district centered on Broadway and Westport Road near the Country Club Plaza, as well as the 18th & Vine area (jazz music). A variety of music genres can be heard and have originated in Kansas City metro area, including rock groups Puddle of Mudd, Isaac James, Shooting Star, The Get Up Kids, Shiner, Flee The Seen, The Life and Times, Reggie and the Full Effect, Coalesce, The Casket Lottery, The Gadjits, The Rainmakers, Vedera, The Elders, Blackpool Lights and The Republic Tigers; and rappers Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun, Skatterman & Snug Brim, Mac Lethal, and Solè.

Irish culture[edit]

There is a large community of Irish-Americans in Kansas City, numbering over 50,000.[50] The Irish were the first large immigrant group to be brought to Kansas City and founded its first newspaper.[51] The Irish community includes a large number of bands, multiple newspapers, numerous Irish stores, including Browne's Irish Market, and the Irish Museum and Cultural Center. The first book that detailed the history of the Irish in Kansas City was Missouri Irish: Irish Settlers on the American Frontier, published in 1984.

Casinos[edit]

Missouri voters approved riverboat casino gaming on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers by referendum with a 63% majority on November 3, 1992. The first casino facility in the state opened in September 1994 in North Kansas City by Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesar's Entertainment).[52] The combined revenues for the four casinos successfully operating in Kansas City exceeded $153 million per month in May 2008.[53] The metropolitan area is currently home to six casinos: Ameristar Kansas City, Argosy Kansas City, Harrah's North Kansas City, Isle of Capri Kansas City, the 7th Street Casino (which opened in Kansas City, Kansas in 2008) and Hollywood Casino (which opened in February 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas).

Cuisine[edit]

Kansas City is most famous for its steak and barbecue. During the heyday of the Kansas City Stockyards, the city was known for its Kansas City steaks or Kansas City strip steaks. The most famous of the steakhouses is the Golden Ox in the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange in the stockyards in the West Bottoms. The stockyards, which were second only to those of Chicago in size, never recovered from the Great Flood of 1951 and eventually closed. Founded in 1938, Jess & Jim's Steakhouse in the Martin City neighborhood has also gained nationwide fame. The famed Kansas City Strip cut of steak is largely identical to the New York Strip cut, and is sometimes referred to just as a strip steak. Along with Texas, Memphis, and North and South Carolina, Kansas City is a "world capital of barbecue." There are more than 90 barbecue restaurants[54] in the metropolitan area and the American Royal each fall hosts what it claims is the world's biggest barbecue contest.

The classic Kansas City-style barbecue was an inner-city phenomenon that evolved from the pit of Henry Perry from the Memphis, Tennessee, area in the early 20th century and blossomed in the 18th and Vine neighborhood. Arthur Bryant's was to take over the Perry restaurant and added molasses to sweeten the recipe. In 1946 Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q was opened by one of Perry's cooks. The Gates recipe added even more molasses. Although Bryant's and Gates are the two definitive Kansas City barbecue restaurants, both have just recently begun expanding outside of the Greater Kansas City Area. Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue is well regarded by many both locally and nationally. In 1977, Rich Davis, a psychiatrist, test-marketed his own concoction called K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce. He renamed it KC Masterpiece, and in 1986, he sold the sauce to the Kingsford division of Clorox. Davis retained rights to operate restaurants using the name and sauce. In 2009, Kansas City appeared on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. In determining his ranking, Greenberg cited the city's renowned barbecue, among other factors.[55]

Kansas City has several James Beard Award-winning/nominated chefs and restaurants. Chefs who have won the award include Michael Smith, Celina Tio, Colby Garrelts, Debbie Gold, Jonathan Justus and Martin Heuser. A majority of the Beard Award-winning restaurants are located in Crossroads district downtown and Westport in midtown.

Points of interest[edit]

See List of points of interest in Kansas City, Missouri
Liberty Memorial by night.

Religion[edit]

The proportion of Kansas City area residents with a known religious affiliation is 49.7%. The most common religious denominations in the area are:[57]

Sports[edit]

Main article: Sports in Kansas City
Truman Sports Complex, with Arrowhead and Kaufmann Stadiums.
Sprint Center hosts concerts and sports events downtown.

Professional sports teams in Kansas City include the Kansas City Chiefs in the National Football League (NFL), the Kansas City Royals in Major League Baseball (MLB), and Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer (MLS).

The Chiefs – now a member of the NFL's American Football Conference (AFC) – started play in 1960 as the Dallas Texans, and moved to Kansas City in 1963. The team lost the first Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers, and came back in 1969 to become the last ever AFL champion and win Super Bowl IV against the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings with a score of 23-7.

Andy Reid, head coach of the Chiefs.

The Athletics baseball franchise played in the city beginning in 1955, after moving from Philadelphia; the team relocated to Oakland, California in 1967. The city's current Major League Baseball franchise, the Royals, started play in 1969, and are the only major league sports franchise in Kansas City that has neither relocated nor changed its name. The Royals would become the first American League expansion team to reach the playoffs, in 1976, to reach the World Series in 1980, and to win the World Series in 1985 against the state-rival St. Louis Cardinals in the "Show-Me Series". In 2014, the Royals advanced to the American League Championship Series and then the World Series for the first time since 1985; the team lost to the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series.

The Kansas City Wiz became a charter member of Major League Soccer in 1996, and was renamed the Wizards in 1997. In 2011, the team was renamed Sporting Kansas City and moved into its new stadium, Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

In college athletics, Kansas City has been the home of the Big 12 College Basketball Tournaments. The men's basketball tournament has been played at Sprint Center since March 2008, and the women's tournament is played at Municipal Auditorium. In addition to being the home stadium of the Chiefs, Arrowhead Stadium serves as the venue for various intercollegiate football games. It has hosted the Big 12 Championship Game five times. On the last weekend in October, the MIAA Fall Classic rivalry game between Northwest Missouri State University and Pittsburg State University took place at the stadium.

FC Kansas City began play in 2013 as an expansion team of the National Women's Soccer League; the team's home games are held at Shawnee Mission District Stadium in the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas. Kansas City is represented on the rugby pitch by the Kansas City Blues RFC, a former member of the Rugby Super League and a current Division 1 club. The team works closely with Sporting Kansas City and split home-games between Sporting's training pitch and Rockhurst University's stadium.

Club Sport Founded League Venue
Kansas City Chiefs Football 1960 (as the Dallas Texas)
1963 (as Kansas City Chiefs)
National Football League Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City Royals Baseball 1969 Major League Baseball Kauffman Stadium
Sporting Kansas City Soccer 1996 Major League Soccer Sporting Park (Kansas City, Kansas)
FC Kansas City Women's Soccer 2012 National Women's Soccer League Shawnee Mission District Stadium (Kansas)
Missouri Mavericks Hockey 2009 ECHL (Div. 3) Independence Events Center (Independence)
Missouri Comets Indoor Soccer 2010 MASL Independence Events Center (Independence)
Kansas City Blues Rugby Union 1966 USA Rugby Division 1 Swope Park Training Complex
Kansas City Storm Women's football 2004 WTFA North Kansas City High School

Parks and boulevard system[edit]

J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, by Henri-Léon Gréber, in Mill Creek Park, adjacent to the Country Club Plaza.

Kansas City has 132 miles (212 km) of spacious boulevards and parkways, 214 urban parks, 49 ornamental fountains, 152 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 105 tennis courts, five golf courses, five museums and attractions, 30 pools, and 47 park shelters, all overseen by the city's Parks and Recreation department.[58][59]

The parks and boulevard system winds its way through the city. Much of the system, designed by George E. Kessler, was constructed from 1893 to 1915. Cliff Drive, in Kessler Park on the North Bluffs, is a designated State Scenic Byway. It extends 4.27 miles (6.87 km) from The Paseo and Independence Avenue through Indian Mound on Gladstone Boulevard at Belmont Boulevard, with many historical points and architectural landmarks. Ward Parkway, on the west side of the city near State Line Road, is lined by many of the city's most handsome homes. The Paseo is a major north–south parkway that runs 19 miles (31 km) through the center of the city beginning at Cliff Drive. It was modeled on the Paseo de la Reforma, a fashionable Mexico City boulevard.

Swope Park is one of the nation's largest city parks, comprising 1,805 acres (730 ha) (2.82 sq. mi.), more than twice as big as New York City's Central Park.[60] It features a full-fledged zoo, a woodland nature and wildlife rescue center, two golf courses, two lakes, an amphitheatre, day-camp area, and numerous picnic grounds. Hodge Park, in the Northland, covers 1,029 acres (416 ha) (1.61 sq. mi.). This park includes the 80-acre (320,000 m2) Shoal Creek Living History Museum, a village of more than 20 historical buildings dating from 1807 to 1885. Riverfront Park, 955 acres (3.86 km2) on the banks of the Missouri River on the north edge of downtown, holds annual Independence Day celebrations and other festivals during the year.

A program went underway to replace many of the fast-growing sweetgum trees with hardwood varieties.[61]

Law and government[edit]

City government[edit]

Kansas City is home to the largest municipal government in the state of Missouri. The city has a council/manager form of government. However, the role of city manager has diminished over the years. The office of non-elective city manager was created following excesses during the days of Tom Pendergast. The mayor is the head of the Kansas City City Council, which has 12 members (one member for each district, plus one at large member per district), and the mayor himself is the presiding member. Kansas City holds city elections on odd numbered years (every four years, unless there is a special reason). The last major city-wide election was in May 2011; as such, the next one will be held in May 2015. Following the 2007 election, the city council had a female majority for the first time in the city's history. There are 230,897 registered voters in the Kansas City area.[62]

Tom Pendergast was the most infamous leader of the party machine. The most nationally prominent Democrat associated with Pendergast's machine was Harry S Truman, who became a Senator, Vice President of the United States and then President of the United States from 1945 to 1953. Kansas City is the seat of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, one of two federal district courts in Missouri (the other, the Eastern District, is in St. Louis). It also is the seat of the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals, one of three districts of that court (the Eastern District is in St. Louis and the Southern District is in Springfield).

National political conventions[edit]

Kansas City has hosted the 1900 Democratic National Convention, the 1928 Republican National Convention, which nominated Herbert Hoover from Iowa for President, and the memorable 1976 Republican National Convention, which nominated Kansas U.S. Senator Bob Dole for Vice President. The urban core of Kansas City consistently votes Democratic in Presidential elections, however on the state and local level Republicans often find some success, especially in the Northland and other parts of Kansas City that are predominantly suburban.

Federal representation[edit]

Kansas City is represented by three members of the United States House of Representatives:

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Kansas City. The Kansas City Main Post Office is located at 300 West Pershing Road.[63]

Crime[edit]

Some of the earliest violence in Kansas City erupted during the American Civil War. Shortly after the city's incorporation in 1850, the period which has become known as Bleeding Kansas erupted, affecting border ruffians and Jayhawkers, who both lived in the city. During the war, Union troops burned all occupied dwellings in Jackson County south of Brush Creek and east of Blue Creek to Independence in an attempt to halt raids into Kansas. After the war, the Kansas City Times turned outlaw Jesse James into a folk hero in its coverage. James was born in the Kansas City metro area at Kearney, Missouri, and notoriously robbed the Kansas City Fairgrounds at 12th Street and Campbell Avenue.

In the early 20th century under Democratic political "Boss" Tom Pendergast, Kansas City became the country's "most wide open town". While this would give rise to Kansas City Jazz, it also led to the rise of the Kansas City mob (initially under Johnny Lazia), as well as the arrival of organized crime. In the 1970s, the Kansas City mob was involved in a gangland war over control of the River Quay entertainment district, in which three buildings were bombed and several gangsters were killed. Police investigations into the mob took hold after boss Nick Civella was recorded discussing gambling bets on Super Bowl IV (where the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings). The war and investigation would lead to the end of mob control of the Stardust Casino, which was the basis for the film Casino (although the Kansas City connections are minimized in the movie).

As of November 2012, Kansas City ranks 18th on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s annual survey of crime rates for cities with populations over 100,000.[64]

Much of the city's violent crimes occur on the city's lower income East Side. Revitalizing the downtown and midtown areas have been more successful and now have below average violent crime compared to major downtowns.[65] According to an analysis by The Kansas City Star and the University of Missouri-Kansas City appearing in a December 22, 2007, story in the newspaper, downtown has experienced the largest drop in crime of any neighborhood in the city during the 2000s.[66]

Education[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Many universities, colleges, and seminaries are located in the Kansas City metropolitan area, including:

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Kansas City is served by 16 school districts including 10 Public School Districts. There are also numerous private schools; Catholic schools in Kansas City are governed by the Diocese of Kansas City.

The following Public School Districts serve Kansas City:[67]

  • Kansas City, MO School District
  • North Kansas City School District
  • Center School District
  • Hickman Mills C-1 School District
  • Grandview C-4 School District
  • Liberty School District
  • Park Hill School District
  • Platte County R-3 School District
  • Raytown C-2 School District
  • Lees Summit R-7 School District
  • Blue Springs R-4 School District

Libraries and archives[edit]

Media[edit]

The Kansas City Star '​s new printing plant that opened in June 2006.

Print media[edit]

The Kansas City Star is the area's primary newspaper. William Rockhill Nelson and his partner, Samuel Morss, first published the evening paper on September 18, 1880. The Star competed heavily with the morning Kansas City Times before acquiring that publication in 1901. The "Times" name was discontinued in March 1990, when the morning paper was renamed the "Star."[68]

Weekly newspapers include The Call[69] (which is focused toward Kansas City's African-American community), the Kansas City Business Journal, The Pitch, The Ink,[70] and the bilingual publications Dos Mundos and KC Hispanic News.

The city is served by two major faith-oriented newspapers: The Kansas City Metro Voice, serving the Christian community, and the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, serving the Jewish community. It also the headquarters of the National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic newspaper.

Broadcast media[edit]

Landmark KCTV Tower on West 31st on Union Hill.

The Kansas City media market (ranked 32nd by Arbitron[71] and 31st by Nielsen[72]) includes 10 television stations, and 30 FM and 21 AM radio stations. Kansas City broadcasting jobs have been a stepping stone for many nationally recognized television and radio personalities, including Walter Cronkite and Mancow Muller.

WDAF radio (610 AM, now at 106.5 FM; AM frequency now occupied by KCSP) signed on in 1927 as an affiliate of the NBC Red Network, under the ownership of The Star; in 1949, the Star signed on WDAF-TV as an affiliate of the NBC television network. The Star was sold the WDAF stations in 1957, following an antitrust investigation by the United States government (reportedly opened at the behest of Harry S Truman, who had a long-standing feud with the Star) over the newspaper's ownership of television and radio stations. KCMO radio (originally at 810 AM, now at 710 AM) signed on KCMO-TV (now KCTV) in 1953. The respective owners of WHB (then at 710 AM, now at 810 AM) and KMBC radio (980 AM, now KMBZ), Cook Paint and Varnish Company and the Midland Broadcasting Company, signed on WHB-TV/KMBC-TV as a time-share arrangement on VHF channel 9 in 1953; KMBC-TV took over channel 9 full-time in June 1954, after Cook Paint and Varnish purchased Midland Broadcasting's stations.

The major U.S. broadcast television networks have affiliates in the Kansas City market (covering 32 counties in northwestern Missouri, with the exception of counties in the far northwestern part of the state that are within the adjacent Saint Joseph market, and northeastern Kansas); including WDAF-TV 4 (Fox), KCTV 5 (CBS), KMBC-TV 9 (ABC), KCPT 19 (PBS), KCWE 29 (The CW), KSHB-TV 41 (NBC) and KSMO-TV 62 (MyNetworkTV). Other television stations in the market include Saint Joseph-based KTAJ-TV 16 (TBN), Lawrence, Kansas-based KMCI-TV 38 (independent), Spanish-language station KUKC-LP 48 (Univision), and KPXE-TV 50 (Ion Television).

Film community[edit]

Main article: Film in Kansas City

Kansas City has also been a locale for Hollywood film and television productions. In addition, between 1931 and 1982, Kansas City was home to the Calvin Company, a large movie production company that specialized in the making of promotional and sales training short films and commercials for large corporations, as well as educational movies for schools and training films for the government. Calvin was also an important venue for the Kansas City arts, serving as training ground for many local filmmakers who went on to successful Hollywood careers, and also employing many local actors, most of whom earned their main income in other fields, such as radio and television announcing. Kansas City native Robert Altman got his start directing movies at the Calvin Company, and this experience led him to making his first feature film, The Delinquents, in Kansas City using many local thespians.

The 1983 television movie The Day After was filmed in Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas. The 1990s film Truman, starring Gary Sinise, was also filmed in various parts of the city. Other films shot in or around Kansas City include Article 99, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, Kansas City, Paper Moon, In Cold Blood, Ninth Street, and Sometimes They Come Back (in and around nearby Liberty, Missouri). More recently, a scene in the controversial film Brüno was filmed in downtown Kansas City's historic Hotel Phillips.

Kansas City is also home to a vibrant and active independent film community. The Independent Filmmaker's Coalition of Kansas City is an organization dedicated to expanding and improving independent filmmaking in Kansas City.

Infrastructure[edit]

Originally, Kansas City was at the confluence of the Missouri River and Kansas River, and the launching point for travelers on the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. Later, with the construction of the Hannibal Bridge across the Missouri River, it became the central location for 11 trunk railroads. More rail traffic in terms of tonnage passes through the city to this day, than any other city in the country. Trans World Airlines (TWA) had its headquarters located in the city, and had ambitious plans to turn the city into an air hub for the world.

Missouri and Kansas were the first states to start building interstates with Interstate 70. Interstate 435, which encircles the entire city, is the second longest beltway in the nation. Today, Kansas City and its metropolitan area has more miles of limited access highway lanes per capita than any other large metro area in the United States, over 27% more than second-place Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, over 50% more than the average American metropolitan area and nearly 75% more than the metropolitan area with the least, Las Vegas. The Sierra Club, in particular, blames the extensive freeway network for excessive sprawl and the decline of central Kansas City.[73] On the other hand, the relatively uncongested freeway network contributes significantly to Kansas City's position as one of America's largest logistics hubs.[74]

Airports[edit]

Kansas City International Airport was built to the specifications of TWA to make a world hub for the supersonic transport and Boeing 747. Its passenger friendly design in which its gates were 100 feet (30 m) from the street has, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, required a costly overhaul to retrofit it to incorporate elements of a more conventional security system. Recent proposals have suggested replacing the three terminals with a new single terminal situated south of the existing runways, thus allowing the airport to operate during construction and to shave miles off the travel distance from downtown and the southern suburbs. Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport was the original headquarters of Trans World Airlines and houses the Airline History Museum. It is still used for general aviation and airshows.

Public transportation[edit]

Like most American cities, Kansas City's mass transit system was originally rail-based. An electric trolley network ran through the city until 1957. The rapid sprawl in the following years led this privately run system to be shut down. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) was formed with the signing of a bi-state compact created by the Missouri and Kansas legislatures on December 28, 1965. The compact gives the KCATA responsibility for planning, construction, owning and operating passenger transportation systems and facilities within the seven-county Kansas City metropolitan area. These include the counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte in Missouri, and Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte in Kansas. Kansas City does not have a subway or light rail system. Several proposals to build one have been rejected by voters in the past. Voters approved the last light rail proposal, but it was struck down when the city council decided to overrule voters. Kansas City has a long history with streetcars and trolleys. From 1870 to 1957, Kansas City's streetcar system was among the top in the country, with over 300 miles (480 km) of track at its peak. Following the decision to scrap the system, many of its former streetcars have been serving other American cities for a long time. In 2007, ideas and plans arose to add normal trolley lines, as well as possibly fast streetcars to the city's Downtown for the first time in decades.

In July 2005, the KCATA launched Kansas City's first bus rapid transit line, the Metro Area Express (MAX). MAX links the River Market, Downtown, Union Station, Crown Center and the Country Club Plaza. This corridor boasts over 150,000 jobs, as well as some of the area's most prestigious real estate and treasured cultural amenities.[75] By design, MAX operates and is marketed more like a rail system than a local bus line. A unique identity was created for MAX, including 13 modern diesel buses and easily identifiable "stations". MAX features state-of-the-art technology to deliver customers a high level of reliability (real-time GPS tracking of buses, available at every station), speed (stoplights automatically change in their favor if buses are behind schedule) and comfort. In 2010, a second MAX line was added on Troost Avenue.[76]

On December 12, 2012, a ballot initiative to construct a $102 million, 2-mile modern streetcar in downtown Kansas City was approved by local voters;[77] the streetcar line is expected to be operational by 2015, and will run between River Market and Union Station, mostly on Main Street. A new non-profit corporation made up of private sector stakeholders and city appointees – the Kansas City Streetcar Authority – will operate and maintain the system. Unlike many similar systems around the U.S., there will be no fare charged initially.[78] The city is planning to add multiple extensions to the starter line.

Walkability[edit]

A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Kansas City as the 43rd most walkable out of the 50 largest U.S. cities.[79]

Sister cities[edit]

Kansas City has 14 sister cities:[80]

City Subdivision Country Date
Seville  Andalusia  Spain 1967
Kurashiki Okayama Prefecture  Japan 1972
Morelia  Michoacán  Mexico 1973
Freetown Western Area  Sierra Leone 1974
Tainan  Taiwan 1978
Xi'an Shaanxi  People's Republic of China 1989
Guadalajara[81]  Jalisco  Mexico 1991
Hannover  Lower Saxony  Germany 1993
Port Harcourt Rivers State  Nigeria 1993
Arusha Arusha Region  Tanzania 1995
San Nicolás de los Garza  Nuevo León  Mexico 1997
Ramla  Israel 1998
Metz  Lorraine  France 2004
Yan'an Shaanxi  People's Republic of China

See also[edit]

Other articles connected with the culture of Kansas City:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Official records for Kansas City kept at downtown/Weather Bureau Office from July 1888 to December 1933; Downtown Airport from January 1934 to September 1972; and Kansas City Int'l since October 1972. For more information see ThreadEx.

References[edit]

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  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Kansas City city, Missouri". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ Wilkinson, Ernest L. (1976). Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. Vol. 1. Provo: BYU Press. p. 7. 
  8. ^ "Why is Kansas City located in Missouri instead of Kansas?". Retrieved January 2, 2010. 
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  33. ^ a b From 15% sample
  34. ^ The Federal Workforce by the Numbers – Kansas City. Greater Kansas City Federal Executive Board. 2011.
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  49. ^ "The Pitch, ''Best of 2007'': "Best Festival" – Kansas City's Blues and Jazz Festival". Pitch.com. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  50. ^ Per the 2008-2012 US Census American Community Survey, 53,308 people identified as Irish-Americans. [2]
  51. ^ O’Laughlin, Michael. Missouri Irish, The Original History of the Irish in Missouri, including St. Louis, Kansas City and Trails West. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  52. ^ "Missouri Gaming Commission: ''The History of Riverboat Gambling in Missouri''". Mgc.dps.mo.gov. July 1, 1994. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  53. ^ The Kansas City Star, June 13, 2008: Missouri riverboat casinos’ revenue increases in May.[dead link]
  54. ^ "Experience Kansas City – Barbeque Kansas City Style". Experiencekc.com. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  55. ^ Greenberg, Peter. "Newsmax Magazine Rates the Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities And Towns". Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
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  58. ^ Parks & Recreation, 2008 Reference Book[dead link]
  59. ^ Parks & Recreation, About Parks & Recreation[dead link]
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Further reading[edit]

  • University of Missouri at Kansas City. Marr Sound Archives. Rags to Be-bop: the Sounds of Kansas City Music, 1890-1945. [Text by] Chuck Haddix. Kansas City, Mo.: University of Missouri at Kansas City, University Libraries, Marr Sound Archives, 1991. Without ISBN
  • Shortridge, James R. Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822–2011 (University Press of Kansas; 2012) 248 pages; historical geography

External links[edit]