Some people call it “Paris of the Plains,” – others call it the BBQ Capital of the World – or simply K.C. There are a lot of different names for Kansas City, Missouri but I just call it home.
From its early days as a settlement for traders and trappers, Kansas City has been a burgeoning center piece in the American story. Today, the metro area is home to over 2 million people, and is a major business sector and logistical hub in the heartland of the country.
Allow me to give you a short history of this great city.
Founding and Early Days
The area around Kansas City was initially inhabited by Native American tribes (primarily the Kansa Indians and the Shawnee tribe) in its early days before its development by French traders and Missouri’s later inclusion into the United States.
Kansas City itself was founded heavily by the activity of settlers and pioneers who made their way along the Kansas and Missouri Rivers – scouting out the land in search of animals, farmland and strategic points for traders. A prominent merchant and missionary named John Calvin McCoy opened up a store for fellow travelers, sprouting neighboring settlements and what would eventually become Kansas City.
By mid-century, Kansas City had emerged as a key port along the Missouri River, and had established itself as a primary point of interest for travelers as the great westward expansion was underway. The budding town was eventually incorporated into Missouri, although half of the metro still remains in Kansas state to this day.
In the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s, Kansas City went through a boom. Due to its prime location as a crossroads to the west, the city became a destination for travelers and newly arrived citizens which brought in some of its most defining qualities.
In 1881, the state of Kansas enacted prohibition laws for its residents – barring the consumption and selling of alcohol. Luckily for those residents located on the western side of the Kansas River, they could get a drink just over the bridge in Missouri where alcohol was still legal. This created a boom in taverns and saloons throughout Kansas City (especially along our famous 12th street.)
The explosion of profitability from these saloons brought in other forms of business (banks, manufacturing, hotels, etc.) and led to the expansion of Kansas City’s influence. The city soon gave birth to its own distinct form of Jazz, as well as placing itself on the map for the world’s best BBQ.
After the mid-1900’s Kansas City continued to develop along with the rest of the United States. Population growth has continued to climb as the city remains an attractive site for businesses, young professionals and families in the Midwest.
Today, we are the country’s 29th most populous metro area. We are home to a multitude of fabulous schools and universities. We enjoy a multitude of sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals – and yes, our BBQ is still number one.
We have more boulevards than Paris, filled with places to see and things to do. If you should be so lucky to find yourself in this part of the country, make sure to visit some of our most notable locations, like the National WWI Museum and Memorial or the famous Union Station.
Until next time.
~ Scott Asner Kansas City, Missouri