1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kansas City (Kansas)

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KANSAS CITY, a city and the county-seat of Wyandotte county, Kansas, U.S.A., on the W. bank of the Missouri River, at the mouth of the Kansas, altitude about 800 ft. It is separated from its greater neighbour, Kansas City, Missouri, only by the state line, and is the largest city in the state. Pop. (1890), 38,315; (1900), 51,418, of whom 6,377 were foreign-born and 6509 were negroes; (1910 census) 82,331. It is served by the Union Pacific, the Missouri Pacific, the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and the Chicago Great Western railways, and by electric lines connecting with Leavenworth and with Kansas City, Missouri. There are several bridges across the Kansas river. The city covers the low, level bottom-land at the junction of the two rivers, and spreads over the surrounding highlands to the W., the principal residential district. Its plan is regular. The first effective steps toward a city park and boulevard system were taken in 1907, when a board of park commissioners, consisting of three members, was appointed by the mayor. The city has been divided into the South Park District and the North Park District, and at the close of 1908 there were 10 m. of boulevards and parks aggregating 160 acres. A massive steel and concrete toll viaduct, about 1¾ m. in length, extends from the bluffs of Kansas City, Kan., across the Kansas valley to the bluffs of Kansas City, Mo., and is used by pedestrians, vehicles and street cars. There is a fine public library building given by Andrew Carnegie. The charities of the city are co-ordinated through the associated charities. Among charitable state-aided institutions are the St Margaret’s hospital (Roman Catholic), Bethany hospital (Methodist), a children’s home (1893), and, for negroes, the Douglass hospital training school for nurses (1898)—the last the largest private charity of the state. The medical department of the Kansas state university, the other departments of which are in Lawrence, is in Kansas City; and among the other educational institutions of the city are the Western university and industrial school (a co-educational school for negroes), the Kansas City Baptist theological seminary (1902), and the Kansas City university (Methodist Protestant, 1896), which had 454 students in 1908-1909 and comprises Mather college (for liberal arts), Wilson high school (preparatory), a school of elocution and oratory (in Kansas City, Mo.), a Normal School, Kansas City Hahnemann Medical College (in Kansas City, Mo.), and a school of theology. The city is the seat of the Kansas (State) school for the blind. Kansas City is one of the largest cities in the country without a drinking saloon. Industrially the city is important for its stockyards and its meat-packing interests. With the exception of Chicago, it is the largest livestock market in the United States. The product-value of the city’s factories in 1905 was $96,473,050; 93.5% consisting of the product of the wholesale slaughtering and meat-packing houses. Especially in the South-west markets Kansas City has an advantage over Chicago, St Louis, and other large packing centres (except St Joseph), not only in freights, but in its situation among the “corn and beef” states; it shares also the extraordinary railway facilities of Kansas City, Missouri. There are various important manufactures, such as soap and candles, subsidiary to the packing industry; and the city has large flour mills, railway and machine shops, and foundries. A large cotton-mill, producing coarse fabrics, was opened in 1907. Natural gas derived from the Kansas fields became available for lighting and heating, and crude oil for fuel, in 1906.

Kansas City was founded in 1886 by the consolidation of “old” Kansas City, Armourdale and Wyandotte (in which Armstrong and Riverview were then included). Of these municipalities Wyandotte, the oldest, was originally settled by the Wyandotte Indians in 1843; it was platted and settled by whites in 1857; and was incorporated as a town in 1858, and as a city in 1859. At Wyandotte were made the first moves for the Territorial organization of Kansas and Nebraska. During the Kansas struggle Wyandotte was a pro-slavery town, while Quindaro (1856), a few miles up the Missouri, was a free-state settlement and Wyandotte’s commercial rival until after the Civil War. The convention that framed the constitution, the Wyandotte Constitution, under which Kansas was admitted to the Union, met here in July 1859. “Old” Kansas City was surveyed in 1869 and was incorporated as a city in 1872. Armourdale was laid out in 1880 and incorporated in 1882. The packing interest was first established in 1867; the first large packing plant was that of Armour & Co., which was removed to what is now Kansas City in 1871. Kansas City adopted government by commission in 1909.