Kansas City

Kansas City
1. a city in W Missouri, at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. 448,159.
2. a city in NE Kansas, adjacent to Kansas City, Mo. 161,087.

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City (pop., 2000: 441,545), western Missouri, U.S., on the Missouri River.

The city is contiguous with Kansas City, Kan. First settled by French fur traders in 1821, it was known as Westport Landing, prospering as a river port and as the terminus for the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail. Chartered in 1850 as the town of Kansas and as a city in 1853, it was renamed Kansas City in 1889 to distinguish it from the territory. The state's largest city, it is a railroad centre with stockyards, packing-houses, and grain-storage facilities. It is the seat of the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the world headquarters for the Church of the Nazarene.

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      city, seat (1866) of Wyandotte county, northeastern Kansas, U.S. It lies at the confluence of the Kansas (Kansas River) and Missouri (Missouri River) rivers and is contiguous with Kansas City, Missouri. When the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at the river junction in 1806, it was the site of several Osage and Kansa Indian camps; in his journal William Clark (Clark, William) described the spot as a desirable location for a fort or trading post.

      Present-day Kansas City was formed by the consolidation of eight separate towns. The earliest, Wyandotte, was bought from an Indian tribe, laid out in 1857 by a town company, and incorporated in 1859. The founding of rival settlements by proslavery and abolitionist supporters after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) brought rapid development. The Kansas constitution, under which the territory entered the Union in 1861, was written in Wyandotte. In 1863 Wyandotte became the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific, Eastern Division (from 1868 to 1880 known as the Kansas Pacific), which was a portion of the first transcontinental railroad. Vast herds of Texas cattle were driven to Kansas Pacific railheads, and Wyandotte became a major marketing and reshipment point, and by the 1870s stockyards and meatpacking plants had sprung up. Old Kansas City and Riverview (which became part of Wyandotte in 1880) developed during the 1870s. The settlement of Armstrong grew on a hill south of Wyandotte. North of the Kansas River an industrial district, Armourdale, named for a meatpacking plant, was laid out in 1880. South of the Kansas, Argentine grew up around the Santa Fe Railway shops and rail yards and became the site of a smelter. These, except for Argentine (annexed in 1910), combined as a first-class city on March 6, 1886, taking the name Kansas City. Rosedale, also south of the river and the seat of the University of Kansas Medical Center, was annexed in 1922. Absorbed earlier was Quindaro, which had been founded by antislavery leaders as a free port on the Missouri. The entire metropolitan area is subject to episodic flooding; during the 20th century, floods in 1903, 1951, 1977, and 1993 inflicted severe damage on the city.

      Much of the heavy industry of the Kansas City metropolitan area is within the city. Manufactures include chemicals, paper goods, automobiles, railroad cars, petroleum and soap products, fabricated steel, and dairy and agricultural commodities. In addition to the medical centre, Kansas City is the seat of Donnelly (junior) College (1949), Kansas City Kansas Community College (1923), Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Kansas State School for the Visually Handicapped. Places of interest are the Agricultural Hall of Fame and National Center, the Shawnee Methodist Mission (1839), and the Wyandotte County Museum. Pop. (1990) city, 149,767; Kansas City (Missouri-Kansas) MSA, 1,582,875; (2000) city, 146,866; Kansas City (Missouri-Kansas) MSA, 1,776,062.

 city, Clay, Jackson, and Platte counties, western Missouri, U.S. Located on the Missouri River at the confluence with the Kansas River, the city is contiguous with Kansas City, Kansas, forming part of a large urban complex that also includes Leavenworth, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, and Shawnee in Kansas and Blue Springs, Gladstone, Grandview, Independence, Lee's Summit, Liberty, North Kansas City, and Raytown in Missouri. Area city, 318 square miles (824 square km). Pop. (1990) city, 435,146; Kansas City MSA, 1,582,875; (2000) city, 441,545; Kansas City MSA, 1,776,062.

      French fur traders, led by François Chouteau, traveled up the Missouri River from St. Louis (Saint Louis) and were the first permanent settlers in the area (1821). Westport was laid out a few miles south of the trading post by John Calvin McCoy in 1833, and it flourished as an outfitting post for western overland expeditions. Nearby to the east, another major departure point for westbound settlers, Independence was the main river port for supplies, which were then taken overland to Westport. McCoy found an easier landing spot on the bank of the Missouri that was several miles closer to Westport, and soon riverboats began unloading there. Westport prospered as a terminus for the Santa Fe (Santa Fe Trail), California, and Oregon (Oregon Trail) trails. It was chartered as the town of Kansas (named for the Kansa Indians) in 1850 and as a city in 1853. It became Kansas City under an 1889 charter in order to distinguish it from the territory.

      Prior to and during the American Civil War, the city was sharply divided (because of its location on the border between Missouri, a slave state, and Kansas, a free state) and was the target of several skirmishes, including raids by the Confederate guerrilla William C. Quantrill (Quantrill, William C.). It was the site of a decisive battle on October 23, 1864, in which a Confederate army led by General Sterling Price (Price, Sterling) was forced to retreat by a Union army commanded by General Samuel Curtis; it was the war's last major battle west of the Mississippi River. Rapid growth followed after Kansas City was reached (1865) by a railroad from St. Louis and linked (1869) with the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad by bridge across the Missouri River. A stockyard was opened in 1870, and Kansas City became a major cattle market and a centre of the meatpacking industry.

 Economic and population growth continued in the early 20th century, an era dominated by the political boss Thomas J. Pendergast (Pendergast, Thomas J). Both world wars also provided major boosts to the city's economy. The Kansas City style of jazz music emerged during the 1920s and '30s, made famous through artists such as saxophonist Lester Young (Young, Lester) and pianist-bandleader Count Basie (Basie, Count). Kansas City grew even more quickly after World War II, as it annexed adjacent land and increased its area more than fivefold. City population peaked in 1970—when it surpassed a half million—and then slowly declined until stabilizing in the 1990s. The proportion of African Americans steadily grew, reaching nearly one-third of Kansas City's residents by 2000.

The contemporary city
      Kansas City's long-important livestock-handling and meatpacking activities have disappeared, but the city remains the marketing and shipping centre for a vast agricultural region (including soybeans, corn [maize], dairy products, and wheat) and has extensive grain-storage and food-processing facilities. A major distribution centre, the city is one of the largest rail hubs in the country and an important trucking centre. It has an international airport and port facilities on the Missouri River. Services (including government, health care, telecommunications, and finance) constitute the largest share of the city's economy. Manufacturing (notably automobiles, greeting cards, weapons components, and pharmaceuticals), tourism (including riverboat casino gambling), and research and development of agricultural products are also important. A unique feature of the city is a vast underground industrial park known as SubTropolis, developed in the space created as the area was mined for its limestone deposits. The complex has streets and buildings and provides warehousing, storage, and office space. Nearby Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (Independence, Missouri) and Fort Leavenworth (Leavenworth, Kansas) are additional economic assets.

      The University of Missouri (Missouri, University of) at Kansas City opened in 1933; other institutions of higher education include Rockhurst University (1910), Avila University (1916), several Metropolitan Community College campuses, William Jewell College (1849; in Liberty), Park University (1875; in Parkville), the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine (1916), and the Kansas City Art Institute (1885). Kansas City is the world headquarters for the Church of the Nazarene (Nazarene, Church of the), the Unity School of Christianity, and People to People International.

      The American Royal, held each fall in the city, includes livestock and horse shows and a rodeo. The Liberty Memorial is a World War I monument that includes a 217-foot (66-metre) tower and a museum; the tower, dedicated in 1926, underwent a three-year restoration completed in 2002. Other museums include the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Lone Jack Civil War Battlefield and Museum, and Missouri Town 1855, a preservation of pioneer buildings at Lake Jacomo. The home and studio of artist Thomas Hart Benton (Benton, Thomas Hart) is preserved as a state historic site. The 18th and Vine Historic jazz District is home to the American Jazz Museum and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum; Kansas City's jazz heritage is also celebrated in annual music festivals. The city's historic connection to the meat industry survives in its distinctive spicy style of barbecue.

      Kansas City is known for its dozens of fountains (fountain) and claims to have more than any other city except Rome. Swope Park contains an open-air theatre and zoo. The city has a symphony orchestra, ballet, opera, and several theatre organizations. Kemper Arena (1975) hosts concerts, conventions, shows, and sports events. The Harry S. Truman Sports Complex houses Kansas City's professional gridiron football (Chiefs) and baseball (Royals) teams in two side-by-side stadiums; the city also has a professional soccer (football) team (Wizards). Crown Center, an 85-acre (34-hectare) cultural and business venue, opened in 1973; nearby Science City is an education and entertainment complex in the restored Union Station (1914). The James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area (southwest), Smithville Lake (north), and Watkins Mill and Weston Bend state parks (northeast and northwest, respectively) provide outdoor recreational opportunities. Sites devoted to famed outlaw Jesse James (James, Jesse; and James, Frank) are located northeast of the city in Liberty and Kearney.

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Universalium. 2010.

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