18th and Vine-Downtown East, Kansas City

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18th and Vine Historic District
Location Kansas City, MO
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Italianate, Mission/spanish Revival
MPS 18th and Vine Area of Kansas City MPS
NRHP Reference # 84004142[1]
Added to NRHP September 9, 1991
Road junction of 18th street and Vine street

18th and Vine in Kansas City, Missouri is internationally recognized as one of the cradles of jazz music and a historic hub of African-American businesses. Along with New Orleans's Basin Street, Beale Street in Memphis, 52nd Street in New York City and Los Angeles's Central Avenue - the 18th and Vine area was a midwife to the birth of a new style of jazz. The jazz that evolved in the 18th and Vine district was distinctive. Simmered in the blues, Kansas City's jazz was a riff-based sound fueled by jam sessions in the district's crowded clubs. Many notable jazz musicians of the 1930s & 1940s made 18th and Vine their home, Charlie Parker being the most notable of the era from Kansas City. However, many call the city home or got their start in the city.[citation needed]

Located just east of Downtown Kansas City, it is the Kansas City metropolitan area's historic center of African American culture at 18th Street and Vine Street. It has been the focus of more than $30 million of civic investment since the late 1980s, but the district's redevelopment has struggled.[2][3][4]

In the 1990s, parts of the film Kansas City were filmed there, and façades left from the movie remained on most of the dilapidated buildings until the end of the decade. Today, the 18th and Vine district includes the Mutual Musicians Foundation, the Gem Theater, the long-time offices of African-American newspaper The Call, the Blue Room jazz club, the American Jazz Museum, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, restaurants and apartments. The district is also home to the Historic Lincoln Building which served as a hub of professional and business activity in the Black community. The building was restored in the early 1980s by the Black Economic Union of Kansas City, and continues to serve this purpose today.

Six blocks to the north, the former intersection of 12th Street and Vine has been immortalized in the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller song, "Kansas City."[5] Vine Street no longer intersects with 12th Street, as a housing project now stands at the site. The city, however, has since erected a street sign in a park near the housing project to mark the spot where 12th Street once crossed Vine.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Barton, Eric (2006-09-14). "Done Deal". The Pitch. Archived from the original on 21 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  3. ^ KCTV5 story on the neighborhood
  4. ^ KSHB TV article on new apartments
  5. ^ Marsh, Dave (1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Da Capo Press. pp. 125–27. ISBN 978-0-306-80901-9. 

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Coordinates: 39°05′28″N 94°33′45″W / 39.091111°N 94.5625°W / 39.091111; -94.5625