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Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missourimarker. It encompasses in parts of Jacksonmarker, Claymarker, Cassmarker, and Plattemarker counties. It is one of two county seats of Jackson County, the other being Independencemarker, just to the city's east. The city also serves as the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Areamarker, second largest in Missouri, and largest with territory in Kansasmarker (Wichitamarker is the largest metropolitan area anchored in Kansas). As of February 6, 2009, it was revealed that the US census had underestimated Kansas City's population, and re-released it to be 475,830, with a metro area of over two million. Kansas City was founded in 1838 as the "Town of Kansas" at the confluence of the Missourimarker and Kansasmarker rivers and was incorporated in its present form in 1850. Situated opposite Kansas City, Kansasmarker, the city was the location of several battles during the Civil War, including the Battle of Westportmarker. The city is well known for its contributions to the musical styles of jazz and blues as well as to cuisine (Kansas City-style barbecue).

Abbreviations and nicknames

Kansas City Skyline from Liberty Memorial
Kansas City, Missouri, is often abbreviated as "KCMO", or simply "KC" (both abbreviations often refer to the metro areamarker). 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. The fountains at Kauffman Stadiummarker, commissioned by original Kansas City Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, are the largest privately-funded fountains in the world. The city also has more boulevards than any city except Paris and has been called "Paris of the Plainsmarker." Informal nicknames include BBQ Capital of the World, and residents are known as Kansas Citians. It 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 centermarker of the 48 contiguous states.


Kansas City, Missouri officially incorporated on March 28, 1853. The territorymarker 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

[[Image:Westport Pioneers Statue.jpg|thumb|175px|left|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 visit 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 a Native American attack of Fort Detroit, 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 east near Brunswick, Missourimarker, 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[iere] 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 French took over the region in the Treaty of Paris 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. Louismarker 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, Lewis and Clark visited the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, noting it was a good place to build a fort.

In 1833 John McCoy established West Portmarker along the Santa Fe Trail, three miles (5 km) away from the river. Then in 1834, McCoy established Westport Landingmarker 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.

By that time, the Town of Kansas, Westport, and nearby Independencemarker, had become critical points in America's westward expansion. Three major trail – the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon – all originated in Jackson Countymarker.

On February 22, 1853, the City of Kansas was created with a newly elected mayor. It had an area of 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.

Civil War

The area was rife with animosity as the Civil War approached during a period known as Bleeding Kansas. Already situated in a state bitterly divided on the issue of slavery, southern sympathizers in Missouri immediately recognized the threat of Kansas 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.

During the Civil War, the City of Kansas 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 the City of Kansas 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 Westportmarker the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to occupy the city.

Moreover, General Thomas Ewing, in response to a successful raid on nearby Lawrence, Kansasmarker, 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

After the Civil War, the City of Kansas grew rapidly. The selection of the city over Leavenworth, Kansasmarker, 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. According to the US Census in 1900, Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with 163,752 residents.

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. The relocation of Union Stationmarker to its current location in 1914 and the opening of the Liberty Memorialmarker in 1923 gave the city two of its most identifiable landmarks. Further spurring Kansas City's growth was the opening of the innovative Country Club Plazamarker development by J.C. Nichols in 1925 as part of his Country Club District plan.

Pendergast era

At the turn of the century, political machines attempted to gain clout in the city, with the one led by Tom Pendergast emerging as the dominant machine by 1925. A new city charter passed that year made it easier for his Democratic Party machine to gain control of the city council (slimmed from 32 members to nine) and appoint a corrupt city manager. Several important buildings and structures were built during this time, to assist with the great depression—all led by Pendergast, including the Kansas City City Hallmarker 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. The machine, however, gave rise to Harry S. Truman, who quickly became Kansas City's favorite son.

Post-World War II sprawl

Kansas City's sprawl and the creation of suburbs originally began with the invention and implementation of streetcars into the city and the surrounding areas. Streetcar suburbs began to pop up and more and more detached, single family homes were built away from the main part of town. The city's first "Suburbs" were in the neighborhoods of Pendleton Heights and Quality Hill. However, the real sprawl and creation of suburbs didn't start until after the second world war.

After World War II, the city experienced considerable sprawl, as the affluent populace left for suburbs like Johnson County, Kansas, and eastern Jackson County, Missourimarker. However, many also went north of the Missouri Rivermarker, where Kansas City had incorporated areas between the 1940s to 1970s. The population of the urban core significantly dipped, while the metropolitan area as a whole gained population.

The sprawl of the city mainly took shape after the "race riots" of the Civil Rights Movement 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 continued to sprawl, the inner city also continued to decline.

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 , more than five times its size in 1940.

The Hyatt Regency walkway collapsemarker was a major disaster that occurred on 17 July 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.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 318.0 sq mi (823.7 km²). 313.5 sq mi (812.1 km²) of it is land and 4.5 sq mi (11.6 km²) of it (1.41%) is water. 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 Turkey Creek valley. Union Stationmarker is located in this valley. The city's municipal water was recently rated the cleanest among the 50 largest cities in the United States, containing no detectable impurities.


Kansas City lies near the geographic center of the contiguous United States, at the confluence of the second largest river in the country, the Missouri Rivermarker, and the Kansas Rivermarker (also known as the Kaw River). This makes for a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa) with moderate precipitation and extremes of hot and cold. Summers can be very humid, with moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexicomarker, and during July and August daytime highs can reach into the triple digits. Winters vary from mild days to bitterly cold, with lows rarely reaching into the teens below zero.

Kansas City is situated in "Tornado Alley", a broad region where cold air from the Rocky Mountains and Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexicomarker, leading to the formation of powerful storms. Kansas City has had many severe outbreaks of tornados, including the Ruskin Heights tornado in 1957, and the May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence, as well as other severe weather, most notably the Kansas City derecho in 1982. The region is also prone to ice storms, such as the 2002 ice storm during which hundreds of thousands lost power for days and (in some cases) weeks. Kansas City and its outlying areas are also subject to flooding, including the Great Flood of 1993 and the Great Flood of 1951.


Kansas City, Missouri, is organized into a system of more than 240 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 condos, apartments, offices and The Power & Light District (shopping/entertainment development) complete with bars, restaurants, a grocery store with a tony roof-top pool club called The Jones, a theatre and The Sprint Center. All these things have made downtown/midtown a more viable residential option more than ever. Near Downtown, the urban core of the city has a variety of neighborhoods, including historical Westportmarker, Ivanhoe, Hyde Park, Squire Park, the Crossroads Arts Districtmarker, 18th and Vine Historic Districtmarker, Pendleton Heightsmarker, Quality Hill, the West Bottomsmarker, and the River Marketmarker; one up-and-coming "newer" neighborhood just minutes from downtown is upscale Briarcliff, though it is in the so-called "North-land" or simply "North of the River". Two other "near" downtown neighborhoods that are very popular and have unique appeal include the Country Club Plazamarker (or simply the "Plaza"), south Plaza and nearby Brookside.


The city's skyline is what one might envision for a major Mid-West city, with some notable exceptions. The Nelson-Atkins Museummarker opened a stunning Euro-Style addition in 2008, The towering Power and Light building with its Art-Deco style and 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 art works 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, One Kansas City Placemarker (the tallest office tower structure in Missouri), as well as the KCTV-Towermarker with its hundreds of lit bulbs (the tallest freestanding structure in Missouri) and the Liberty Memorialmarker The National World War I Memorial & Museum with its 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, Ellerbe Becket, HNTB and HOK Sport. Frank Lloyd Wright designed two private residences.

Kansas City contains collection of over 200 working fountains, second only to Rome. Some of the most notable are on the County Club Plaza. From French inspired traditional to modern, these fountains offer visitors to the city an unexpected bonus. Among the most notable : the Black Marble H&R Block fountain in front of Union Station with its synchronized water jets shooting 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 unique "family friendly" walk thru fountain at Hallmark Cards World Headquarters in Crown Center.


Downtown Kansas City is an area of bounded by the Missouri River to the north, 31st Street to the south, Bruce R. Watkins Drive (U.S. Highway 71) to the east and I-35 to the west. Areas near Downtown Kansas City include the 39th Street District is known as Restaurant Row 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 Centermarker 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 Plazamarker, or simply "the Plaza", is an upscale, outdoor shopping and entertainment district. It was the first suburban shopping district in the United States, designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile, 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 Stationmarker is home to Science Citymarker, 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. Many residential properties recently have been or currently are under redevelopment. The Power & Light Districtmarker, a new, nine-block entertainment district comprising numerous restaurants, bars, and retail shops, was developed by the Cordish Company of Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker, 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 forsports and musical entertainment. Elton John was the first performer to play at the Sprint Center.

Parks and boulevard system

Kansas City has 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.

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 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 through the center of the city beginning at Cliff Drive. It was modeled on the Paseo de la Reforma, a fashionable Mexico Citymarker boulevard.

Swope Parkmarker is one of the nation's largest city parks, comprising 1,805 acres (2.82 sq. mi.), more than twice as big as New York's Central Park. 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 (1.61 sq. mi.). This park includes the Shoal Creek Living History Museum, a village of more than 20 historical buildings dating from 1807 to 1885. Riverfront Park, on the banks of the Missouri Rivermarker on the north edge of downtown, holds annual Fourth of July celebrations and other festivals during the year.

At one time, nearly all residential streets were planted with a solid canopy of American elms, but Dutch elm disease devastated them. Most were replaced with varieties of other handsome shade trees. A program went underway to replace many of the fast-growing sweetgum trees with hardwood varieties.


Performing arts

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the metropolitan area's top professional theatre company and the Starlight Theatremarker, 8,105-seat outdoor theatre designed by Edward Delk are a popular theatre company and theatre respectively. The Kansas City Symphony, founded by R. Crosby Kemper Jr. in 1982 to superseded the Kansas City Philharmonic, which was founded 1933. The symphony currently is located at the Lyric Theatre in Downtown Kansas City, but will move to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Artsmarker, also downtown, when it is completed in December 2009. The current music director and lead conductor of the symphony is Michael Stern. Lyric Opera of Kansas City, founded in 1970, offers one American contemporary opera production during its annual season consisting of either four or five productions. The Lyric Opera also is located at the Lyric Theatre, and also will move to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in 2009. The Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City, performs at the Folly Theatermarker in downtown, and the UMKC Performing Arts Center.

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. The Ballet also is located at the Lyric Theatre, and also will move with the Symphony and Opera to the Kauffman Center in 2009.
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. 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 Vegasmarker 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

Live music venues can be found throughout the city, with the highest concentration in the Westportmarker entertainment district centered on Broadway and Westport Road near the Country Club Plazamarker, as well as the 18th & Vine area (jazz music). A variety of music genres can be heard and have originated in Kansas City and direct surrounding areas, including: Rock groups Puddle of Mudd, 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 Appleseed Cast, The Rainmakers, The Esoteric, 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

There is a large community of Irish in Kansas City which numbers around 250,000 . The Irish Community includes a large number of bands, multiple newspapers, the numerous Irish stores, including Browne's Irish Market, the oldest Irish owned business in North America, and the Irish Museum and Cultural Center is the new center of the community. 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.


Missouri voters approved riverboat casino gaming on the Missourimarker 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. The combined revenues for the four casinos successfully operating in Kansas City exceeded $153 million per month in May 2008. The four casinos are Ameristar Kansas City, Argosy Kansas City, Harrah's North Kansas City, Isle of Capri Kansas City. A fifth area casino, the 7th Street Casino, opened in Kansas City, KS in 2008.


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 Exchangemarker in the stockyards in the West Bottomsmarker. The stockyards, which were second only to those of Chicago in size, never recovered from the Great Flood of 1951 and eventually closed. 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 & North Carolina, Kansas City is a "world capital of barbecue." There are more than 90 barbecue restaurants 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, Tennesseemarker, area in the early 1900s and blossomed in the 18th and Vinemarker neighborhood. Arthur Bryant'smarker 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 they 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.


Club Sport Founded League Venue
Kansas City Chiefs American Football 1960 (1963 In Kansas City) National Football League Arrowhead Stadiummarker
Kansas City Royals Baseball 1969 Major League Baseball Kauffman Stadiummarker
Kansas City Wizards Soccer 1995 Major League Soccer Community America Ballparkmarker
Kansas City T-Bones Baseball 2006 Northern League Community America Ballparkmarker
Kansas City Roller Warriors Roller Derby 2004 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Hale Arenamarker
Kansas City Wiffle Ball Championship Wiffle Ball 2006 KCWBC Santa Fe Trail Park/Mill Creek Park
Missouri Mavericks Hockey 2009 [2470]]

Kansas City is often the home of the Big 12 College Basketball Tournaments. Men's Basketball will be played at Sprint Centermarker beginning in March 2008, while women's Basketball will be played at Municipal Auditoriummarker. Lately, arenas in Dallas and Oklahoma City have hosted the tournament. Arrowhead Stadiummarker serves as the venue for various intercollegiate football games. Often it is the host of the Big 12 Football Title Game. On the last weekend in October, the Fall Classic rivalry game between Northwest Missouri State Universitymarker and Pittsburg State Universitymarker takes place here. Usually, the Bearcats of Northwest and Gorillas of Pitt State are ranked one-two in the MIAA conference. In 2005, other games at Arrowhead included Arkansas Statemarker playing host to Missourimarker, and Kansas hosting Oklahomamarker.

Kansas City used to have an NBA team. The team's original name was Kansas City-Omaha Kings because it played home games in both Kansas City and Omahamarker. However, after 1975 the team would exclusively play in Kansas City. After 1985, the Kansas City Kings would move to Sacramentomarker to become today's Sacramento Kings. In 1974, the NHL ended its first expansion period by adding teams in Kansas City and Washington, D.C.marker Although they were better than their expansion brethren the Washington Capitals (who won only eight games in their inaugural season), the Kansas City Scouts began to suffer from an economic downturn in the Midwest. For their second season, the Scouts sold just 2,000 of 8,000 season tickets and were almost $1 million in debt. Due to their various on- and off-ice disappointments, the franchise moved to Denvermarker and was renamed the Colorado Rockies.


Print media

The Kansas City Starmarker 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 Times before acquiring it in 1901. The "Times" name was discontinued in March 1990, when the morning paper was renamed the "Star."Weekly newspapers include The Call (African American focused) and several weekly papers, including the Kansas City Business Journal, The Pitch and the bilingual paper "Dos Mundos".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. Also, "The Kansas City Call[2471]" or simply "The Call" paper was established in 1919 and has been in publication weekly since. It is mainly geared toward Kansas Cities African American community.

Broadcast media

The Kansas City media market (ranked 32nd by Arbitron and 31st by Nielsen) includes 10 television channels, along with 30 FM and 21 AM radio stations. Kansas City broadcasters have been a stepping stone for many nationally recognized television and radio personalities, including Walter Cronkite, Rush Limbaugh, and Mancow Muller.

Film community

Kansas City has also been a locale for Hollywoodmarker productions and television programming. Also, 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 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, Kansasmarker. 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, Missourimarker). More recently, a scene in the controversial film Bruno was filmed in the historic Hotel Phillips downtown.


Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank "J" insignia on the dollar bill
Greater Kansas City is headquarters to four Fortune 500 companies (Sprint Nextel Corporation, H&R Block, Embarq Corporation, and YRC Worldwide Inc.) and additional Fortune 1000 corporations (Interstate Bakeries Corporation, Great Plains Energy, Aquila, AMC Theatres, DST Systems, Garmin International, Cerner Corp. and Russell Stover Candies). Three international law firms, Lathrop & Gage, Stinson Morrisson & Hecker, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon are also based in Kansas City.Hallmark Cards's gross revenues certainly would qualify it for both lists, but it cannot be included because it is privately owned by the Hall family. 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. Kansas City is also home the headquarters of Commerce Bancshares, UMB Financial Corporation, American Century Investments, BNIM, HNTB, Burns and McDonnell Engineering, Novastar Financial, and J.E. Dunn Construction Group.

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 Citymarker 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 Kansas City mayor James A. Reed who as senator broke a tie to get the Federal Reserve Act passed.

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. 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, Kansasmarker, at one end of the 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.

Ford Motor Company operates a large manufacturing facility just outside of Kansas City in Claycomomarker, which currently builds the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, Ford F-150, and Mercury Mariner. General Motors' Fairfax Assembly Plant is located in adjacent Kansas City, Kansasmarker.


At the 2005–2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 64.5% White (57.6% non-Hispanic White alone), 30.6% Black or African American, 1.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.4% Asian, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 3.6% from some other race and 2.4% from two or more races. 8.8% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [2472]

As of February 6, 2009, it was revealed that the US census had underestimated Kansas City's population, and re-released it to be 475,830 [6] with a metro area of over two million.[7]As of November 12, 2009 there were over 480,000 residents.

Law and government

City government

See also: List of mayors of Kansas City
See also: Alcohol laws of Missouri
Kansas City is home to the largest municipal government in the state of Missouri. The city has a city manager form of government, however the role of city manager has diminished over the years 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 May 2007, meaning the next one will be in May 2011. The city council currently has a female majority for the first time in the city's history.

From the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, Kansas City's municipal government was controlled by often corrupt political machines. 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 1945–1953. 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 Springfieldmarker).

There are 230,897 registered voters.

National political conventions

Kansas City has hosted the 1900 Democratic National Convention, the 1928 Republican National Convention, which nominated Herbert Hoover from Iowamarker for President, and the memorable 1976 Republican National Convention, which nominated Kansas U.S. Senator Bob Dole for Vice President. 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

Kansas City is represented by two 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.


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, Missourimarker, 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", with virtually no enforcement of prohibition. 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. The 1930s saw the Kansas City Massacre at Union Stationmarker, as well as a shootout between police and outlaws Bonnie and Clyde at the Red Crown Tavernmarker near what is now Kansas City International Airportmarker. In the 1970s, the Kansas City mob was involved in a gangland war over control of the River Quaymarker 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 Casinomarker, which was the basis for the film Casino (although the Kansas City connections are minimized in the movie).

As of October 30, 2006, Kansas City ranks 21st on the Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker's annual survey of crime rates for cities with populations over 400,000. Kansas City ranked sixth in the rate of murders in that same study. The entire Kansas City metropolitan area has the fourth worst violent crime rate among cities with more than 100,000, with a rate of 614.7 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. On the other hand, many of the surrounding cities in the Kansas City Metropolitan Areamarker reflect the opposite in crime statistics.

Much of the city's murders and violent crimes occur in the city's inner core. The Kansas City Gangs are reasons why the violent crime rates in the core consistently have driven the city and metropolitan area down on "livability" indices, hindering initiatives in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s to revive downtown Kansas City. In the 2000s, Crime and Homicides spiked up due to organized crime or the gang activity in the inner city. However, attempts at revitalizing the downtown area have been more successful. Other parts of the urban core with higher poverty levels remain places in which crime remains largely unabated. According to an analysis by The Kansas City Starmarker and the University of Missouri-Kansas Citymarker appearing in a December 22, 2007 story, downtown has experienced the largest drop in crime of any neighborhood in the city during the current decade.

In 2009 Zip Code 64130 which straddles Brush Creek east of the Country Club Plaza was reported to account for 20 percent of Kansas Citians in prison for murder or voluntary manslaughter (101 killers).


First, it was at the confluence of the Missouri River and Kansas River and the launching pointing for travelers on the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails. Then with the construction of the Hannibal Bridge across the Missouri Rivermarker it became the central location for 11 trunk railroads. More rail traffic in terms of tonnage still passes through the city than any other city in the country. TWA located its headquarters 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 metro 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. On the other hand, the relatively uncongested freeway network contributes significantly to Kansas City's position as one of America's largest logistics hubs.


Kansas City International Airportmarker 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 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.marker Wheeler Downtown Airportmarker was the original headquarters of Trans World Airlines and houses the Airline History Museummarker. It is still used for general aviation and airshows.

Public transportation

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 doesn't have a subway or light rail system. Several proposals to build one have been rejected by voters in the past. Kansas City has a long history with streetcars and trolleys. From 1870–1957 Kansas City's streetcar system was among the top in the country, with over 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 Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) launched Kansas City's first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line called "MAX" (Metro Area Express). MAX links the vibrant 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. 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.


Colleges and universities

Several universities, colleges, and seminaries are located in Kansas City, including:

Primary and secondary schools

Kansas City is served by several school districts, the largest being the Kansas City, Missouri Public Schools. There are also numerous private schools; Catholic schools in Kansas City are governed by the Diocese of Kansas City.

Libraries and archives

Sister cities

Liberty Memorial by night.
As of April 2009, Kansas City has 13 sister cities:

See also


  1. Annual Estimates of the Population of Metro and Micropolitan Areas
  2. A History of Kansas City, Missouri
  3. Kansas City Tornado Almanac, Accessed September 2006.
  4. KC powerless as icy barrage pummels the area, leaves behind disaster zone, Accessed September 10, 2006.
  6. Kansas City - Restaurants - Restaurant Guide
  7. "A walk through Kansas City history", Country Club Plaza website (online)
  8. Garvin, Alexander (2002): The American City: What Works, what doesn't. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0071373675. Pages 119-125
  9. Parks & Recreation, 2008 Reference Book
  10. Parks & Recreation, About Parks & Recreation
  11. TimeLine 150
  12. Focus Kansas City, Tri-Blenheim Neighbors United, report date: 29 April 2000
  13. Deborah Jowitt, Kansas City Ballet: Happy Fiftieth!, The Village Voice, March 18, 2008
  14. The Pitch, Best of 2007: "Best Festival" - Kansas City's Blues and Jazz Festival.
  15. Missouri Gaming Commission: The History of Riverboat Gambling in Missouri
  16. The Kansas City Star, June 13, 2008: Missouri riverboat casinos’ revenue increases in May.
  18. Harry Haskell, Boss-Busters and Sin Hounds: Kansas City and Its "Star" (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007) ISBN 9780826217691
  19. The Call
  20. Arbitron, Inc., Spring '08 Blue Book, "2008 Market Survey Schedule: All Markets,", p. 4
  21. TV by the Numbers, Nielsen People Meter Markets, November 6th, 2007: "Rank, Designated Market Area, Homes"
  22. A Foregone Conclusion: The Founding of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis by James Neal Primm - - Retrieved January 1, 2007.
  23. U.S. Manufacturing Sheet - - Retrieved August 25, 2008
  24. Kansas City Star - Kansas Tops List for Biodefense Lab
  25. Registered Voters in Missouri 2008
  26. " Post Office Location - KANSAS CITY." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  27. 25 Safest Cities Accessed November 2006
  28. Kevin Collison, "FBI crime data paint grim portrait", The Kansas City Star, September 26, 2006
  29. Kansas City Area Development Council
  30. Downtown News
  31. Murder Factory: 64130, the ZIP code of notoriety in Missouri - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - January 26, 2009 (reprint of original Kansas City Star article by Tony Rizzo)
  32. 1998 Sprawl Report- Sprawl - Sierra Club

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