A Tale Of 2 Kansas Citys

The title says it all. Two Kansas Citys. And this is one of the reasons learning about geography is so crucial. In the world of sports, there are some who believe that Kansas City is in Kansas.

Wait a minute?

Kansas City is located in Kansas. However, that is not the Kansas City that MLB’s Kansas City Royals (1985 and 2015 World Champions) play in. That is not the city that NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs (Super Bowl LIV Champions) play in. Kansas City metropolitan area’s MLB and NFL teams play in Kansas City, Missouri. There are two Kansas Citys. Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) and Kansas City, Kansas (KCK). Both Kansas Citys are located next to each other.

Truman Sports Complex, Kansa City, Missouri. Kansas City Royals play baseball in Kauffman Stadium (on the right). Kansas City Chiefs play football in Arrowhead Stadium (on the left).

Both cities are along the Missouri River. However, KCMO and KCK share a land border between Missouri and Kansas. Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS sit where the Missouri and Kansas Rivers meet.

Kansas City ,Kansas. Next door is Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City, Missouri was founded first. It was incorporated in 1853. Many investors decided to buy land along the Missouri River, including in Westport Landing, a river boat landing founded by settler John McCoy. The area was located north of the town of Westport. Back in those days, rivers were like the highways. This was how trade was facilitated. Even today, rivers continue to be important for trade. That land could be incorporated into the Town of Kansas. Kansas City was not named for the state of Kansas or the Kansas Territory. It was named for the nearby Kansas River.

As for the settlement known as Westport, it was annexed into Kansas City in 1897. Today, it is the historic neighborhood of Westport in Kansas City, MO. It is a major entertainment district with alot of bars.

KCMO was important due to its position on the Missouri River. Railroads helped it grow. The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was the first railroad to cross the state of Missouri. The railroad bridge over the Missouri River would be built in Kansas City,MO. Consider how important this is. Railroad travel was becoming rapidly crucial as westward expansion in the USA was taking place. Kansas City would become a crossroads with railroads going north and south, east and west. It would soon grow in importance as the railroads would bring cattle to its stockyards.

Map of Kansas City, MO, 1869

Kansas City, Kansas, was founded in 1872. With westward expansion, settlements were being built on the western side of the Missouri River, in Kansas. They included places like Armoudale, Armstrong, Riverview, Wyandotte, and another city called Kansas City. Wyandotte was founded first though. Kansas City, Kansas named itself not for the state of Kansas, or the Kansas River, but for Kansas City,MO. The communities of Armstrong, Riverview, Wyandotte, and Armourdale were all joined with Kansas City to formed Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas City grew because it was a streetcar suburb of Kansas City, MO. People who worked in KCMO could take a streetcar to KCK. KCK would grow from 3,200 in 1880 to 101,177 in 1920. And KCK does had a major sports team, Sporting Kansas City, a soccer team. It is also home to the automobile plants that produce the Chevrolet Malibu.

KCMO, as of 2018, as a population of 491, 918. KCK has a population of 152,958 as of 2018. Kansas City, MO is the largest city in Missouri. Kansas City, Kansas is the 3rd largest city in Kansas (Overland Park, also part of the KC metropolitan area, ranks 2nd. Wichita ranks #1).

KCK and KCMO are both part of that crossroads to the western USA. Both formed differently and at different times. Both are at the center of a major metropolitan area in the USA. Consider Kansas City,MO and Kansas City, KS like Kansas City, and Kansas City Jr. Same name, part of the same family, one’s younger and smaller than the other. KCMO formed as a river port and later a railroad center. KCK formed after combining with other communities, and later being a streetcar suburb of KCMO.

Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, Kansas (credit: Americansroof)

Kansas City is in both Missouri and Kansas. There are two Kansas Citys. One in Kansas, one in Missouri. Both are part of a metropolitan area that is located in both Kansas and Missouri. KC is located in both because its sphere of influence covers both. Alot of Kansas City Royals fans in Kansas, as well as Missouri. Kansas is home to a Major League Soccer team, in KCK. Both Kansas Citys have proven crucial to the growth of the Kansas City, MO-KS metropolitan area. But this should be remembered. Kansas City,MO is home to the region’s baseball and football teams. Kansas City, Kansas is home to the region’s soccer team.

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