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The West Bottoms is an industrial area immediately to the west of downtown Kansas City, Missouri at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Kansas River. The area is one of the oldest areas of the city.
Kansas City's first Union Depot was located here. It was home to the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange and Kansas City Stockyards (now defunct) prompting the huge annual American Royal livestock show at Kemper Arena, the site of the 1976 Republican National Convention.
Jim Pendergast founded the political machine here that was furthered by Tom Pendergast. Tom Pendergast was an early supporter and promoter of Harry S. Truman in Jackson County and Missouri politics. Truman would later become President as Vice-President under Franklin D. Roosevelt, upon Roosevelt's death in April, 1945. Jim started operations at the "Climax" Saloon on St. Louis Avenue named for a winning race horse he had bet on.
During World War II Darby Steel Corporation built most of the Landing craft tanks (LCTs) that were used in various amphibious invasions. The plant built one craft a day and floated them more than 1,000 miles down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, Louisiana, prompting their "Prairie Ships" nickname. Darby's plant at the mouth of the Kansas River could hold eight 135í LCTs and 16 LCMs in various stages of construction.
Many Serbians arrived in the early 1900s and found work in the meat packing houses in the area. The Serbs founded St. George Serbian Orthodox Church on April 18, 1906. The community purchased two houses on North 1st Street. One was converted to a church and the other used as a parish home. The parish stayed in the West Bottoms until 1925 when they built a new church on Bethany St. still in Kansas City, Kansas. Today, the parish is located in Lenexa, KS having built their third location in 2006.