Kansas City, United States of America

Reference work entry


Kansas City is along the state border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Kansas City, Kansas is predominantly a suburban residential area while Kansas City, Missouri is one of the most important distribution and market centres in the United States.


Kansas City was first settled by Europeans after the arrival of French fur traders in 1821. An important river port it was originally established as the Town of Kansas in 1850 and renamed Kansas City in 1889. The city acted as a staging point for gold prospectors heading west and was joined to St Louis by a railroad in 1865. The railroads helped the meat packing and distribution industry to establish itself in the city and Kansas grew rapidly at the beginning of the twentieth century, with the population doubling between 1910 and 1960. During the prohibition era Kansas City’s controversial Mayor Prenderghast ensured that the city’s jazz clubs could sell alcohol. In 1951 the Kansas River flooded, damaging the city’s manufacturing industries and meat stockyards. By 1992 the last of the stockyards had closed but Kansas City’s jazz scene and its many restaurants and theme parks remain popular with tourists.

Modern City

The city’s main airport is located 25 miles from the downtown area and can be reached from the city centre by Shuttle Bus. There is a Metro Bus system, a Greyhound bus terminal and an Amtrak rail station. Kansas City’s industries include food processing, metal production and transport equipment. Owing to its geographical location in the centre of the United States and excellent transport links, the city is a distribution and market centre for a variety of goods, including crops and livestock.

The city’s institutions of higher education include the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Avila College, Rockhurst College and the Kansas City Art Institute (1885).

Places of Interest

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art includes a collection of Oriental art while the Black Archives of Mid-America houses a gallery of Afro-American art and sculpture. There is a Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and a jazz museum partly devoted to Charlie Parker, who was born in Kansas. Other cultural attractions include the Toy and Miniatures Museum and the Kansas City museum.

Kansas City Zoo and the tropical-themed water park Oceans of Fun are popular with visitors. The Harry S. Truman Sports Complex houses the Starlight Theater. Royal Stadium, where the Kansas City Royals baseball team is based, and Arrowhead Stadium, where the Kansas City Chiefs American football team play.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Personalised recommendations