Kansas City or K.C. is a city of 464,310 people. It is the largest municipality in the US state of Missouri. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which spans the Kansas–Missouri border. It was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port. Originally called Kansas, this became confusing upon the establishment of Kansas Territory in 1854. The name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish the two. Sitting on Missouri's western border, with downtown near the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, the modern city encompasses in Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. It is one of Jackson County's two county seats. The 18th and Vine Neighborhood gave birth to the musical styles of Kansas City jazz and Kansas City blues. It is also known for Kansas City-style barbecue. The area is infamous for the Border War that occurred during the American Civil War, including the Battle of Westport and Bleeding Kansas. Major suburbs include Independence and Lee's Summit in Missouri and Overland Park, Olathe and Kansas City in Kansas.
Kansas City, Missouri, was officially incorporated on March 28, 1853. The territory straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers was considered a good place to build settlements.
Exploration and settlement
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 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 KC'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, 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 America's westward expansion. Three major trails – the Santa Fe, California, and Oregon – all passed through Jackson County.
On February 22, 1853, the City of Kansas was created with a newly elected mayor. It had an area of 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.
The Kansas City area was rife with animosity just prior to the Civil War. Kansas successfully petitioned the US to enter the Union as a free state that did not allow slavery under the new doctrine of popular sovereignty. Missouri had many slaves. Slavery sympathizers crossed into Kansas to sway the state towards allowing slavery, at first by ballot box and then by bloodshed.
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.
After the Civil War, Kansas City grew rapidly. The selection of the city over Leavenworth, Kansas, for the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad bridge over the Missouri River brought about significant growth. The population exploded after 1869, when the Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute, opened. The boom prompted a name change to Kansas City in 1889 and the city limits to extend south and east. Westport became part of Kansas City on December 2, 1897. In 1900, Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with a population of 163,752 residents.
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.
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, pled guilty to tax evasion.
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 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 , 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.
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 1. 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.
Kansas City, Missouri research opportunities
Although I live in Kansas City, Missouri, none of my ancestors lived in this area. However, I’m well acquainted with the vast opportunities to do genealogical research here. At one time, I did research work here for clients, particularly for that part of the city north of the Missouri River in Clay and Platte Counties, what the locals call “Kansas City North.” I also volunteered at the Clay County Archives, a storehouse of information on Clay County, Missouri. And I edit the newsletter for our Northland Genealogy Society.
Although I no longer do research for others, as a professional genealogist, I wanted to share the potential for doing research in this area. I placed some of that information on my Internet web sites, including: (1) Kansas City History (chart of the 4 counties that make up Kansas City,Missouri)  (2) Genealogy Research in Kansas City  (3) Genealogy Tutor Tips (general advice for beginning genealogists in any area)  --IowaGal 15:24, 12 April 2007 (MDT)
This is a list (not comprehensive) of public places located in Kansas City (Jackson Co.) which will not be found as separate Place pages but that may be mentioned in ancestral research.