History of Kansas City , Missouri
History of Kansas City
KANSAS CITY. The history of the Kansas City metropolitan area started in the 19th century as Frenchmen from St. Louis moved up the Missouri River to trap furs and trade with native Americans. Kansas City straddled the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and was a strategic point for commerce and security. It was founded in 1838 and became the predominant city west of St. Louis. The area played a major role in the westward movement of the United States. The Santa Fe and Oregon trails ran through the area. In 1854, when Kansas was opened to Euro-American settlement, the border became the battlefield in the conflict in the American Civil War.
The first documented French visitor was Etienne Bourgmont, who was also the first European to explore the lower Missouri River. The French rewarded Bourgmont by giving him their highest honor by naming him Commander of Missouri. He built the first fort in 1723 Fort Orleans. According to legend, the Native Americans then slaughtered everybody in the Fort Orleans garrison.
The Spanish took over the region in the Treaty of Paris in 1763, but were not to play a major role in the area other than taxing and licensing all traffic on the river.
Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left St. Louis on a mission to reach the Pacific Ocean. In 1804, they camped for 3 days at the confluence of the rivers in today’s Kansas City.
In 1812,after Louisiana officially became a state, the remaining portions of the original territory north of Arkansas the Missouri Territory. As part of the Missouri Compromise in 1821, Congress admitted Missouri to the Union as the 24th state ans as a slave state. The area was soon populated by trappers, scouts, traders and farmers leading to the incorporation of Jackson County. In 1827, the town of Independence was founded. In 1839, the area outside of Wesport Landing was renamed the Town of Kansas.
Throughout the 1840’s, the population swelled as it and nearby Independence and Wesport became starting points on the Oregon, Santa Fe, and California trails for settlers heading west. Between St. Louis and California, the Kansas and Missouri river junction was one of the few populated areas.
The first rail travel came to Town of Kansas in 1847.
Jackson County formally incorporated in 1850.
It’s population was about 1500. The first newspaper and first telegraph service were established in 1851.
Missouri officially incorporated the town 2 years later. It then changed it’s name to City of Kansas with 2500 residents. The town was 10 blocks west to east and 5 blocks north to south.
At the time of incorporation, Missouri was still a slave state. However, the population was deeply divided over the issue of slavery. In 1854, the US Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which rejected the 1820 Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery and allowed new territories to choose whether they wished to allow slavery. Thus, the Kansas Territory had been a free territory but now could permit slavery. As a result, slavery activists infiltrated from Missouri, which was a slave state. To abolitionists, they wanted Kansas to be admitted to the Union as a free state. In 1855, they declared the Kansas Territory bogus and elected their own representatives.
Despite the ongoing conflict, the City of Kansas continued to grow rapidly. It stayed in the Union during the Civil War. However, since the city’s first settlers were from the South, considerable tension existed between pro-Union and pro-confederate sympathizers. In 1864, Missouri was invaded in a last gasp Confederate offensive raid called Price’s Raid. Price was badly beaten and the Civil War ended soon thereafter.
In 1889, with a population of around 130,000, the city adopted a new charter and changed it’s name to Kansas City. In the mid-1940’s, the city began to annex land and the geographic increased 5 times. The new land helped KC retain its population while other cities were shrinking after World War II. It eventually became one of the largest cities in US. landwise. In 2000, it ranked 21st in land area. The current population is 491,918 ranking as the 36th most populous city in the states
An embarrassing moment occurred for the city on September 10, 2020. The 2019 Super Bowl champs Chiefs were hosting the Houston Texans before a national TV audience in the season opener. Because of the Covid-19, the attendance was restricted to 16,900. Because of the national civil unrest, both teams united at midfield for the National Anthem and were booed by the fans.
INDEPENDENCE is a satellite city of Kansas City.
It is known as the “Queen City of the Trails” because it was the point of departure of the California, Oregon, and the Santa Fe trails. The city is also sacred to many Latter Day Saints as the home of Joseph Smith’s 1831 Temple Lot which is the headquarters of several Latter Day Saints factions.
Originally inhabited by Missouri and Osage Indians and then followed by the Spanish and the French, it became part of the US with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was named after the Declaration of Independence when it was founded in 1827. It immediately became the jumping off place for the emerging fur trade, accommodating merchants and adventurers beginning their tract westward.
The town saw two important battles in the Civil War: In 1862,when the Confederate soldiers took control of the town, and the second in 1864, which also resulted in a southern victory. The Civil War took its toll on the town.
Today, the population of this delightful small town is 116,715 and has remained the county seat
LEE’S SUMMIT The area began as a lush prairie inhabited by the Osage Indians. In 1808, a treaty between the Indians and the US government was signed and the Indians moved to reservations. The word spread about the beauty of the area and early settlers arrived between 1830-1867. Originally called Town of Strother, the name was changed to Lee’s Summit in 1865. It is the highest point between Kansas City and St. Louis
In 2006, CNN and Money Magazine ranked Lee’s Summit #44 on the list of the 100 Best Cities in the United States.