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Kansas City, Missouri
City
City of Kansas City
From top left: Downtown Kansas City from Liberty Memorial, Crown Center at Christmas, KC Streetcar, Washington Square Park, Union Station lit blue for the World Series, the Thinker at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Liberty Memorial, and the Library area of Downtown.
From top left: Downtown Kansas City from Liberty Memorial, Crown Center at Christmas, KC Streetcar, Washington Square Park, Union Station lit blue for the World Series, the Thinker at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Liberty Memorial, and the Library area of Downtown.
Flag of Kansas City, Missouri
Flag
Official seal of Kansas City, Missouri
Seal
Nickname(s): "KC", "KCMO", the "City of Fountains", or the "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.
Country United States
State Missouri
Counties Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass
Incorporated June 1, 1850 (as the Town of Kansas); March 28, 1853 (as the City of Kansas)
Area
 • 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 (2015) 475,378
 • Rank US: 36th
MO: 1st
 • Density 1,474.2/sq mi (569.2/km2)
 • Urban 1,519,417 (US: 31st)
 • Metro 2,159,159 (US: 29th)
 • CSA 2,428,362 (US: 24th)
Demonym(s) Kansas Citian
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP Codes 64101-64102, 64105-64106, 64108-64114, 64116-64121, 64123-64134, 64136-64139, 64141, 64144-64149, 64151-64158, 64161, 64163-64168, 64170-64172, 64179-64180, 64183-64184, 64187-64188, 64190-64193, 64195-64199, 64999
Area code(s) 816, 975 (planned)
FIPS code 29000-38000
GNIS feature ID 0748198
Website KCMO.org

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and the sixth largest city in the Midwest. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 475,378 in 2015, making it the 36th largest city by population in the United States. It is the anchor city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the KansasMissouri border. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon thereafter.

Sitting on Missouri's western border, with Downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, the modern city encompasses some 319.03 square miles (826.3 km2), making it the 23rd largest city by total area in the United States. Most of the city lies within Jackson County, but portions spill into Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. Along with Independence, it serves as one of the two county seats for Jackson County. Major suburbs include the Missouri cities of Independence and Lee's Summit and the Kansas cities of Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City.

The city is composed of several neighborhoods, including the River Market District in the north, the 18th and Vine District in the east, and the Country Club Plaza in the south. Kansas City is also known for its cuisine (including its distinctive style of barbecue), its craft breweries and its major league sports teams.

History

See also: Timeline of Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri was officially incorporated as a town on June 1, 1850, and as a city 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.

The Antioch Christian Church, Dr. James Compton House, and Woodneath are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Exploration and settlement

Westport Pioneers Statue
Kansas City Pioneer Square monument in Westport features Pony Express founder Alexander Majors, Westport/Kansas City founder John Calvin McCoy, and Mountain-man 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 response to the Native American attack on Fort Détroit, he had deserted his post as fort commander and was avoiding French authorities. Bourgmont lived with a Native American wife in a village about 90 miles (140 km) east near Brunswick, Missouri, where he illegally traded furs.

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, making him the first to adopt those names. French cartographer Guillaume Delisle used the descriptions to make the area's first reasonably accurate map.

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

After the 1804 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 1831, a group of Mormons from New York settled in what would become the city. They built the first school within Kansas City's current boundaries, but were forced out by mob violence in 1833 and their settlement remained vacant.

In 1833 John McCoy established West Port along the Santa Fe Trail, 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) away from the river. In 1834 McCoy established Westport Landing on a bend in the Missouri 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 Independence, had become critical points in the United States' 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.

American Civil War

The Kansas City area was rife with animosity just prior to the U.S. Civil War. Kansas successfully petitioned the U.S. to enter the Union as a free state that did not allow slavery under the new doctrine of popular sovereignty. Missouri had many slaves, and slavery sympathizers crossed into Kansas to sway the state towards allowing slavery, at first by ballot box and then by bloodshed.

Loose-park-westport
A cannon and plaques mark the location of the Battle of Westport within modern day Loose Park.

During the Civil War, the city and its immediate surroundings were the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence in August 1862 resulted in a Confederate States Army victory, the Confederates were unable to leverage their win in any significant fashion, as Kansas City was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified to assault. The Second Battle of Independence, which occurred on October 21–22, 1864 as part of Sterling Price's Missouri expedition of 1864, also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again their victory proved hollow, as Price was decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to regain Missouri.

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

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 be extended 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.

Junction of Main and Delaware Streets, Kansas City, Mo (NYPL b12647398-68704)f
Junction of Main and Delaware Streets in 1898

Kansas City, guided by architect George Kessler, became a forefront example of the City Beautiful movement, offering a network of boulevards and parks.

The relocation of Union Station to its current location in 1914 and the opening of the Liberty Memorial in 1923 provided two of the city's 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. He built the R.A. Long Building for the Long-Bell Lumber Company, his home, Corinthian Hall (now the Kansas City Museum) and Longview Farm.

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

At the start of the 20th century, political machines gained clout in the city, with the one led by Tom Pendergast dominating the city by 1925. Several important buildings and structures were built during this time, including the Kansas City City Hall and the Jackson County Courthouse. The machine fell in 1939 when Pendergast, riddled with health problems, pleaded guilty to tax evasion after long federal investigations. His biographers have summed up Pendergast's uniqueness:

Pendergast may bear comparison to various big-city bosses, but his open alliance with hardened criminals, his cynical subversion of the democratic process, his monarchistic style of living, his increasingly insatiable gambling habit, his grasping for a business empire, and his promotion of Kansas City as a wide-open town with every kind of vice imaginable, combined with his professed compassion for the poor and very real role as city builder, made him bigger than life, difficult to characterize.

Post–World War II

Kansas City's suburban development began with a streetcar system 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 in 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, African Americans represented 12.2% of Kansas City's population. The sprawling characteristics of the city and its environs today mainly took shape after 1960s race riots. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was a catalyst for the 1968 Kansas City riot. At this time, slums were forming in the inner city, and many who could afford to do so, 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. The city's population continued to grow, but the inner city declined. The city's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic whites, declined from 89.5% in 1930 to 54.9% in 2010.

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 covered 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 US history.

21st century

Power & Light and the Sprint Center were constructed from 2005 to 2008, creating an entertainment district downtown. Both were built after a series of failed projects.

The Kansas City Streetcar was the first rail transit line in the region in almost 60 years, beginning operations on May 6, 2016. It was constructed after a series of ballot failures over the preceding decades. The project proceeded after a legal challenge that saw the project election validated by the state supreme court.

Geography

The city has an 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. Bluffs overlook the rivers and river bottom areas. Kansas City proper is bowl-shaped and is surrounded to the north and south by glacier-carved limestone and bedrock cliffs. Kansas City is 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 city. This valley is an eastward continuation of the Turkey Creek Valley. It is the closest major city to the geographic center of the contiguous United States, or "Lower 48".

Cityscape

A panoramic view from the top of Liberty Memorial looking north to downtown. Union Station is in the foreground and the Crown Center to the right.
Downtown View from Sheraton Hotel
View of downtown Kansas City from the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center
Plaza Night
Brush Creek on the Country Club Plaza at night.

Kansas City, Missouri, comprises more than 240 neighborhoods, some with histories as independent cities or as the sites of major events. Downtown is undergoing redevelopment with new condominiums, apartments, offices. The redeveloped Power & Light District offers indoor/outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment including bars, restaurants, a grocery store, a roof-top pool club called The Jones, a performing arts center and the Sprint Center. Downtown/midtown has become an attractive residential option. Nearby neighborhoods include 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.

Kansas City Skyline at sunset1221
Kansas City skyline at sunset

Architecture

Further information: List of fountains in the Kansas City metropolitan area and List of tallest buildings in Kansas City, Missouri
Community Christian Church KCMO
Community Christian Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and located adjacent to the Country Club Plaza.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum opened its Euro-Style Bloch addition in 2007, and the Safdie-designed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2011. The Power and Light Building is influenced by the Art Deco style and sports a glowing sky beacon. The new world headquarters of H&R Block is a 20-story all-glass oval bathed 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 (Missouri's tallest office tower), the KCTV-Tower (Missouri's tallest freestanding structure) and the Liberty Memorial, a World War I memorial and museum that flaunts simulated flames and smoke billowing into the night skyline. It was designated as the National World War I Museum and Memorial in 2004 by the United States Congress. 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 Community Christian Church there.

Kansas City hosts over 200 working fountains. Notable examples are on the Country Club Plaza. Designs range from French-inspired traditional to modern. Highlights include the Black Marble H&R Block fountain in front of Union Station, which features synchronized water jets; the Nichols Bronze Horses at the corner of Main and J,C, Nichols Parkway at the entrance to the Plaza Shopping District; and the fountain at Hallmark Cards World Headquarters in Crown Center.

City Market

BridgeTownofKansas
The Town of Kansas Bridge offers a connection for foot and bike traffic from the Riverfront Heritage Trail (starting at Berkley Riverfront Park) to the River Market.

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

Downtown

Downtown Kansas City, MO
Downtown Kansas City and the Crossroads Arts District as viewed from Liberty Memorial (March 2016).

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, 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, 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 Station is home to Science City, restaurants, shopping, theaters, and the city's Amtrak facility.

Alphamap
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.

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 sports and entertainment complex.

Climate

Snowy KC
A snowy winter day with Crown Center and the Liberty Memorial visible in the background
Blizzard in Kansas City
Truck driving through a snowstorm during the January 31 – February 2, 2011 North American blizzard on Main Street.
Late spring in KC.
Flowers in full bloom seen at Washington Square Park near Crown Center in downtown Kansas City (May 2016).

Kansas City lies in the Midwestern United States, as well as near the geographic center of the country, at the confluence of the longest river in the country, the Missouri River, and the Kansas River (also known as the Kaw River). The city lies in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical zone. but is interchangeable with the humid continental climate due to roughly 104 air frosts on average per annum. The city is part of USDA plant hardiness zones 5b and 6a. In the center of North America, far removed from a significant body of water, there is significant potential for extreme hot and cold swings all year long. Unless otherwise stated, normal figures below are based on 1981–2010 data at Downtown Airport. The year's warmest month is July, with a 24-hour average temperature of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C). The summer months are hot and unbearably 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. 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). 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. 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 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, 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. Kansas City and its outlying areas are also subject to flooding, including the Great Floods of 1951 and 1993.


Demographics

Historic Populations
Year Population ±% Area 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
2015 Est. 475,378 +1% 319.03 1,474
Race and ethnicity 2010- Kansas City (5560459588)
Map of racial distribution in Kansas City, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Other (yellow)

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

  • White: 59.2% (non-Hispanic white: 54.9%)
  • Black or African American: 29.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 10.0%
  • Some other race: 4.5% (primarily Latino)
  • Two or more races: 3.2%
  • Asian: 2.5%
  • Native American: 0.5%
  • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0.2%

Kansas City has the second largest Sudanese and Somali 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.

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 2010 Census counts, 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.

Racial composition 2010 1990 1970 1940
White 59.2% 66.8% 77.2% 89.5%
—Non-Hispanic white 54.9% 65.0% 75.0% 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% N/A

Culture

Abbreviations and nicknames

Kansas City is often abbreviated as KC (abbreviations often refer to the metropolitan area). It is officially nicknamed the "City of Fountains". The fountains at Kauffman Stadium, commissioned by original Kansas City Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, are the largest privately funded fountains in the world. The city has more boulevards than any other city except Paris and has been called "Paris of the Plains". Soccer's popularity, at both professional and youth levels, as well as Children's Mercy Park's popularity as a home stadium for the U.S. Men's National Team has to the appellation as the " Soccer Capital of America". Residents are known as Kansas Citians. The city is sometimes referred to 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

See also: Kansas City jazz
Kauffman Center
A view of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as seen from the Kansas City Convention Center.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre is the metropolitan area's top professional theatre company. The Starlight Theatre is an 8,105-seat outdoor theatre designed by Edward Delk. The Kansas City Symphony was founded by R. Crosby Kemper Jr. in 1982 to replace the defunct Kansas City Philharmonic, which was founded in 1933. The symphony performs 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, performs at the Kauffman Center, offers one American contemporary opera production during its season, consisting of either four or five productions. The Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City performs at the downtown Folly Theater and at the UMKC Performing Arts Center. Every summer from mid-June to early July, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival performs 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 combined with Dance St. Louis to form the State Ballet of Missouri, although it remained 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, performing classical to contemporary ballets. The Ballet also performs at the Kauffman Center. Kansas City is home to The Kansas City Chorale, a professional 24-voice chorus conducted by Charles Bruffy. The chorus performs an annual concert series and a concert in Phoenix each year with their sister choir, the Phoenix Chorale. The Chorale has made nine recordings (three with the Phoenix Chorale).

Negro Leage Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum
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 local jazz notables. In the 1970s, Kansas City attempted to resurrect the glory of the jazz era in a 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 gang war. Three of the new clubs were blown up in what ultimately ended Kansas City mob influence in Las Vegas casinos. The annual "Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival" attracts top jazz stars and large out-of-town audiences. It was rated Kansas City's "best festival." by Pitch.com.

Live music venues are 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 there, including musicians Janelle Monáe, Puddle of Mudd, Isaac James, 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, The Republic Tigers, Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun, Skatterman & Snug Brim, Mac Lethal, Ces Cru and Solè.

KCMO Auditorium and ConventionCenter
Municipal Auditorium and Bartle Hall Convention Center, Kansas City.

Irish culture

The large community of Irish-Americans numbers over 50,000. The Irish were the first large immigrant group to settle in Kansas City and founded its first newspaper. The Irish community includes bands, dancers, newspapers, Irish stores and the Kansas City Irish Center at Drexel Hall in Midtown. 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

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). The combined revenues for four casinos exceeded $153 million per month in May 2008. 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

See also: Kansas City-style barbecue
Bull-kemper
The American Hereford Association bull and Kemper Arena and the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange Building in the former Kansas City Stockyard of the West Bottoms as seen from Quality Hill

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 its steakhouses is the Golden Ox in the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange in the West Bottoms stockyards. These stockyards were second only to those of Chicago in size, but they never recovered from the Great Flood of 1951 and eventually closed. Founded in 1938, Jess & Jim's Steakhouse in the Martin City neighborhood was also well known.

The Kansas City Strip cut of steak is similar to the New York Strip cut, and is sometimes referred to just as a strip steak. Along with Texas, Memphis, North and South Carolina, Kansas City is lauded as a "world capital of barbecue." More than 90 barbecue restaurants operate in the metropolitan area. The American Royal each fall hosts what it claims is the world's biggest barbecue contest.

Classic Kansas City-style barbecue was an inner-city phenomenon that evolved from the pit of Henry Perry from Memphis in the early 20th century and blossomed in the 18th and Vine neighborhood. Arthur Bryant's took over the Perry restaurant and added molasses to sweeten the recipe. In 1946 one of Perry's cooks opened Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q.

P072914PS-1794 (14992509108)
President Obama visits Arthur Bryant's barbecue in Kansas City

The Gates recipe added even more molasses. Bryant's and Gates are the two definitive Kansas City barbecue restaurants. Both have only recently begun expanding outside of Kansas City. Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue is also well regarded. 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 recipe 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 barbecue, among other factors.

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

Points of interest

See List of points of interest in Kansas City, Missouri
Name Description Photo
Country Club Plaza District A district developed in 1922 featuring Spanish-styled architecture and upscale shops and restaurants. Two universities have locations near the district (University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Kansas City Art Institute). The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are around the district as well. Country Club Plaza 2 Kansas City MO.jpg
18th & Vine District Cradle of distinctive Kansas City styled jazz. Home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, American Jazz Museum, and the future home of the MLB Urban Youth Academy. The district contains several jazz clubs and venues, such as the Gem Theater and the Blue Room. There are currently talks of the city diverting $27 million to the district to connect the district to the rest of downtown. Negro Leage Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum.jpg
Crossroads Arts District Home to several restaurants, art galleries, and hotels. First Friday is a popular monthly event in the district. Pop-up galleries, food trucks, venue deals, and music events are planned for First Fridays. Union Station and the Kauffman Center are within the district. Union Station also has exhibits that change frequently, as well as Science City within the building. TWA Headquarters (4719002602).jpg
Westport District Originally a separate town before being annexed by Kansas City, the district contains several restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. Along with the Power and Light District, it serves as one of the city's main entertainment areas. The University of Kansas Hospital is close to the district, just across State Line Road. Westport Square Kansas City MO.jpg
Power and Light District A new shopping and entertainment district within the Central Business District. It was developed by the Cordish Companies; several apartment towers are being constructed by the company as well. The Sprint Center is within the district and is a major anchor development for the area. The Midland Theater, a popular concert venue, is also in the district. PLD KCLive.jpg
River Market District/ Berkley Riverfront Park Kansas City's original neighborhood on the Missouri River. The district contains one of the country's largest and longest lasting public farmers' markets in the nation. There are several unique shops and restaurants throughout the area. Steamboat Arabia Museum is right next to the City Market. Residents and visitors traveling by foot or bike can take the Town of Kansas Bridge connection to get to the Riverfront Heritage Trail which leads to Berkley Riverfront Park, which is operated by Port KC. River Market KCMO1.JPG
Crown Center A district developed by Hallmark. Within Crown Center, kids can enjoy an aquarium, Legoland, and Kaleidoscope. There are several mid to upscale stores, and visitors can stay at the Sheraton Crown Center or the Westin Crown Center. The district is a short walk from Liberty Memorial (which features a world-class World War One museum). Visitors can connect to Union Station and the rest of Crown Center via a skywalk called the Link. Crown Center 1 Kansas City MO.jpg
The West Bottoms The West Bottoms used to be used primarily as stockyards and for industrial uses, but today the district is slowly being revitalized through the development and redevelopment of apartments and shops. The district is home to the soon-to-be repurposed Kemper Arena, which regularly hosted the American Royal. The arena hosted the 1976 Republican National Convention. GoldenOxKC.jpg
Kansas City, North The city north of the Missouri River has several attractions. There's Zona Rosa, a mixed-used development that has a large variety of shopping, dining, and events. Directly across the river is the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport; it features the Aviation History Museum. The city's northern area also has an amusement park, Worlds of Fun, as well as a water park called Oceans of Fun; the two are operated under the same management and are next to one other. MambaLiftHillWOF.jpg
Swope Park Swope Park has an area of 1,805 acres, and it has several attractions. The award-winning Kansas City Zoo, encompassing some 200 acres, features over 1,000 animals from across the planet; it was ranked as one of the top 60 zoos in the United States. Starlight Theatre, the second largest outdoor musical theatre venue in the U.S., is also within the park. There is also a soccer complex, in which the players of Sporting Kansas City practice. KCMO Zoo Nima 09.JPG

Religion

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

Walt Disney in Kansas City

In 1911, Elias Disney moved his family from Marceline to Kansas City. They lived in a new home with a garage built by Elias Disney, which became the location for Walt's very first animation, at 3028 Bellefontaine. In 1919, Walt Disney returned from France where he had served as a Red Cross Ambulance Driver in World War I. Walt started the first animation company Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City. Later, the company went bankrupt, Walt Disney moved to Hollywood, and started The Walt Disney Company on October 16, 1923.

Parks and boulevards

JC Nichols Fountain by Henri-Léon Gréber Kansas City
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 boulevards and parkways, 214 urban parks, 49 ornamental fountains, 152 ball diamonds, 10 community centers, 105 tennis courts, 5 golf courses, 5 museums and attractions, 30 pools, and 47 park shelters. These amenities are found across 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 largest and most elaborate 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), more than twice the size of New York City's Central Park. It features a zoo, a woodland nature and wildlife rescue center, 2 golf courses, 2 lakes, an amphitheatre, a day-camp, 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.

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

Sister cities

Kansas City has 14 sister cities:

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

Images for kids


Kansas City, Missouri Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.