Interesting Facts about Kansas City

How Kansas City got its name…

It was almost named Rabbitville or Possom Trot. Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri are different and unique in their own ways! It may get confusing between the 2, but each have their own successes and style.

Some History… Movement west – Santa Fe, California, Oregon trails, and more!

In the mid 1800s, more than a quarter of a million people headed west to find their dreams in the “promised lands” of Mexico, California and the Oregon Territory. The “Queen City of the Trails” is the only city to serve as the launching point for the Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails.

KC is the home of barbecue. There are more than 100 barbecue restaurants, serving dishes liked pulled pork, ribs and burnt ends.

  1. Yes, we have a Kansas City Barbecue Society, at least 100 Barbecue restaurants in the city, and some of the largest competitions for barbecue throughout the country.
  2. The American Royal BBQ is one of the nation’s biggest and best barbecue competitions that brings grilling teams from across the globe to Kansas City for weekend of BBQing and fun. Teams fire up their grills on Friday and party while they cook until they race their entries to the judging hall on Saturday. The American Royal is something you don’t want to miss and yes, there are samples!
    The BBQ is traditionally held the first weekend in October, but the American Royal offers a full calendar of events September through November.
    If you miss the America Royal but still want to eat some of Kansas City’s famous barbecue, ask a local to recommend their favorite joint, or see what the Wall Street Journal says in its Smokin’ BBQ in Kansas City (BBQ Kansas City) story.
  3. Arthur Bryant actually created KC-style Barbecue when he added molasses to another man’s sauce to sweeten it. Style of BBQ
  4. A more recent addition, Joe’s Kansas City (, was voted the best southern barbecue in the country by readers of USA Today.
  5. There are more BBQ restaurants per capita than anywhere in the world.
  6. Evolution of BBQ
  7. Dotty Griffith, in her book, Celebrating Barbecue: The Ultimate Guide to America’s 4 Regional Styles of ‘Cue, calls Kansas City the Constantinople of barbecue, “where the pork tradition of the South meets head-on the beef tradition of Texas. Barbecue in Kansas City represents the best of both worlds.” (p.91) (,+south+meets+east&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ju_mUanLN_i84APn6IAo&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAA)
  1. This love of barbecue is probably because Kansas City was a US hub for the meat industry. The Kansas City Stock Yards (KC Stock Yards ) traded cattle, hogs, sheep, horses and mules. The Kansas City Stockyards operated in the West Bottoms of Kansas City from 1871 to 1991. It was the second largest stockyards in the nation and one of Kansas City’s most important industries.
    1. KC Stockyards
    2. In 1899, breeders established the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show, which, at the time, was the only livestock show in the country.
    3. The event is still held annually. (BBQ Events)

Arrowhead Stadium – home of the KC Chiefs – holds the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium, 142.2 dbA, set on 29 Sep 2014.

(They won the game 41 to 14.) For more about KC’s sports teams, go here. It was also the first scoreboard to even transmit instant replay.

The Cradle of Jazz

Legendary Charlie Parker played his first gig at the Country Club Plaza, at a club called Martin’s. He was born in KC in 1920. Now, Kansas City is home to the 18th & Vine district, known for its culture of Jazz.

Walt Disney!

His family moved to Kansas City when he was nine years old. While in elementary school, Disney took drawing classes on the weekend at the Kansas City Art Institute. Here in KC, he designed Mickey Mouse!

First Fridays

For some weekend fun, Kansas City is booming on the first weekend of the month! check our First Friday’s for Art and night life.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked Kansas City #6 in its list of 50 Smart Places to Live.

This makes our University stand out!

KC is called “The City of Fountains.”

Only Rome, Italy, has more fountains than Kansas City.

KC is the “Paris of the Plains.”

Only Paris, France, has more boulevards than Kansas City.

Union Station

The train station not only is a place of departure or arrival for the city and surrounding areas, but it also contains museum exhibits such as Science City, Irish Museum and Cultural Center, and the Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity.

Union Station in Kansas City opened in 1914, and during WWII, an estimated one million travelers passed through the station.

Louisburg Cider Mill Ciderfest

As soon as the leaves turn red and gold you should head south of KC to the Louisburg Cider Mill (Louisberg Cider Mill). Each year during the last weekend in September and first weekend in October the Cider Mill host Ciderfest. Ciderfest offers something fun for everyone including a pumpkin patch, corn maze, live music, booths and the best part: fresh homemade cider and warm donuts!

Boulevard Brewery

…on Southwest Boulevard is the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.

Boulevard Brewery

Power & Light District

As part of an effort to revitalize the downtown area, the Power and Light District, a shopping and entertainment neighborhood, was opened in 2008. Eight blocks of the area are exempt from the city’s open container laws.

FAST Internet!

In 2011, it was announced that Kansas City would be the first city in the country to receive Google Fiber, the company’s broadband internet service that boasts speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

Some Fun History..

People all over the world are familiar with cowboys and the Old West. Kansas City was the home base for the James gang. Their first daytime bank robbery happened in Liberty, MO. Robbed by the James Gang, governed by the corrupt Pendergast Machine…it even had its own mini-massacre where Pretty Boy Floyd and a few fellow gangsters shot it out with FBI agents at Union Station.

Prohibition Days

In the early 20th century, the city was controlled by political boss Tom Pendergast who ran the local Democratic Party. Pendergast directed the flow of illegal alcohol during Prohibition and rigged elections to keep his friends in power, including hand-picking Harry S. Truman as the next U.S. senator from Missouri.

Famous Kansas Citian, President Harry S. Truman

The 33rd President of the United States, Harry S Truman, lived in Independence, MO. The father of one of our staff members used to delivery Mr. Truman’s newspapers when he was a boy.

You can tour his home, which served as the “Summer White House” during his presidency.

Greeting Card Galore!

One of the most famous greeting card companies in the world was started in Kansas City in 1910: Hallmark Cards. It was started by J.C. Hall.

Civil War History

During the Civil War, there were several squirmishes over slavery. Missouri entered the Union as a slave state and Kansas entered as a free state. Pro-slavery activists wanted Kansas to allow slavery. Kansas became known as Bleeding Kansas during this period (Bleeding Kansas).

It’s a US pop culture reference!

Kansas City has been immortalized in music ranging from the Lieber and Stoller song about all the “crazy little women” to Tech N9ne’s “It’s Alive.” It has also featured in such movie classics as the Betty Boop cartoon “Kitty from Kansas City” and Raquel Welch’s roller derby epic “The Kansas City Bomber.”

Stroud’s Restaurant

Michael Stern of “Road Food” declared Stroud’s the most delicious fried chicken in America. The servings are humongous and served “family style.”

Kansas City PIZZA

Kansas City was chosen by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of America’s best cities for pizza. They gave the nod to Minsky’s and Pizzabella, but other local faves include Kelso’s, Spin and Waldo Pizza.

LaMar’s Donuts was founded here. YUM

A City of Bookworms

Kansas City has not only been the setting for books ranging from history to mystery to the cheesiest of romances, but it also ranks among the top 13 most literate cities in the U.S.


The Country Club Plaza shopping district (only a few blocks from UMKC) was modeled after Seville, Spain. It’s considered the first suburban shopping center, built by developer J.C. Nichols. It’s a mix of stores, restaurants, courtyards, fountains and lots of public art.

By the way, you can hardly call yourself a Kansas Citian if you don’t know what happens every Thanksgiving evening on the Plaza. That’s when the switch is flipped on the Plaza Lights, one of the city’s most enduring holiday traditions. Throw in some softly falling snow and you’ll feel like you’re in a dream.

Read more here: 50 Things Every Kansas Citian Should Know

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