The New International Encyclopædia/Kansas City (Missouri)

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KANSAS CITY. The second city of Missouri, and an important railroad and commercial centre, in Jackson County, at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers; on the Kansas-Missouri boundary line, adjoining Kansas City, Kan., and 235 miles west by north of Saint Louis (Map: Missouri, B 2). Many of the most prominent railroads of the country pass through or have a terminus in the city, among them the Chicago and Alton; the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe; the Burlington Route; the Chicago Great Western; the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific; the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul; the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf; the Missouri, Kansas and Texas; the Missouri Pacific; the Union Pacific; the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis; and the Wabash. To facilitate this exceptionally large railroad transit, three great bridges have been constructed across the Missouri River, and a terminal circular railway. 30 miles in length, furnishes intercommunication among the several roads. Most of the roads, however, use in common a large union depot. Adequate local and suburban transit is afforded by 168 miles of street railways, including 46 miles outside the city limits, and the general transportation facilities are augmented by river steamboat lines.

Kansas City, occupying a site originally very uneven, is built partly on low ground and partly on high bluffs. Its streets are broad. Out of a total street mileage of 440 miles, there are 167 miles paved, chiefly with asphalt, brick, and macadam. Fine residences are numerous on both the hill and level sections. Among the notable public or business structures are the United States custom house, public library building, which contains 80,000 volumes, the art gallery and museum, the City Hall, Court House, Board of Trade building, Kansas City Club, Y. M. C. A. building, and the offices of the New York Life and the New England Life Insurance Companies. The charitable and educational institutions comprise the Kansas City School of Law, University Medical College, Scarritt Training School, and Scarritt, All Saints, and Saint Joseph's hospitals. There are several beautiful parks; among them, Fairmont, Troost, and Washington parks, Holmes Square, and Scarritt Point. Including 1354 acres outside of the city, there are in all 1941 acres of public parks.

Kansas City is highly important as a commercial centre. As the distributing point for a vast agricultural region to the west and south it controls large wholesale interests, its jobbing trade in farming implements ranking among the most extensive in the United States. In the grain, live-stock, and meat-packing business, Kansas City is closely allied with Kansas City, Kan. (q.v.), the two municipalities forming practically one industrial and commercial community. There are 27 elevators, having an aggregate storage capacity of about 6,200,000 bushels, and a handling capacity of 1,425,000 bushels. In 1901 the receipts of grain amounted to 46,769,000 bushels. The Kansas City stock yards for the same period handled about 125,000 cars of live stock (valued at over $130,000,000), including 2,000,000 head of cattle and 3,700,000 hogs, besides large numbers of sheep, calves, horses, and mules. According to the census of 1900, a total of $26,437,000 was invested in the various manufacturing industries, which had a production valued at $36,527,000, the milling industry being first in importance. The mills in 1901 had a total output of nearly 1,825,000 barrels of flour (1,430,000 barrels), oatmeal, and cornmeal. There are also extensive manufactures of foundry and machine-shop products, confectionery, clothing, malt liquors, etc.

The government is vested in a mayor, elected biennially; a bicameral council; and administrative departments as follows: Board of park commissioners, appointed by the Mayor; board of public works, and chief and assistant chiefs of the fire department, appointed by the Mayor, subject to the consent of the council; board of police commissioners, consisting of the Mayor, ex-officio, and two members appointed by the Governor of the State; and a school board, chosen by popular election. The city spends annually in maintenance and operation over $1,900,000, the main items of expenditure being about $500,000 for schools, $225,000 each for the fire and police departments, $160,000 for the water-works, $85,000 for street cleaning and sprinkling, and $75,000 for street lighting. The municipality owns the water-works. They were built at a cost exceeding $4,000,000, and were acquired by the city in 1895, the system now having 201 miles of mains.

The first permanent settlement at Kansas City was made in 1821 by a small company of French fur traders, headed by François Chouteau. In 1838 a town was laid out, and in 1853 it was incorporated as a city. It was the starting-point of the first railroad across the plains, and received its first commercial impetus in 1865, when the Missouri Pacific Railroad reached it. After this date its growth was exceedingly rapid. Population, in 1860, 4418; in 1870, 32,260; in 1880, 55,785; in 1890, 132,716; in 1900, 163,752, including 18,400 persons of foreign birth and 17,600 of negro descent. Consult Case, History of Kansas City, Missouri (Syracuse, N. Y., 1888).

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