Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri, shortly after the end of the Civil War. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Notable Events:

Originally, Kansas City was little more than a landing on the Missouri River, where travelers disembarked to travel to the town of Westport and the Santa Fe Trail a few miles to the south. Over the years, the settlement grew and eventually came to be called the "Town of Kansas," and by the time of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, the newly-dubbed "City of Kansas" had 2,500 residents. During the Civil War, Kansas City served as the Union's District of the Border headquarters. Just to the east in Independence, however, the Confederates won two major victories in 1862 and 1864, and much of the countryside surrounding Kansas City harbored a militant pro-Southern population. Through the adversity, Kansas City remained under Union control. After the war, Kansas City expanded rapidly due to railroads and the cattle trade, and it annexed Westport. Thus, the Battle of Westport--the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River--actually occurred within the modern boundaries of Kansas City. That battle resulted in a defeat for General Sterling Price and effectively crushed his hopes of victory in his Missouri Expedition of October 1864. Today, few physical reminders of the Civil War remain in Kansas City, but there are numerous historical markers, a number of archival repositories with Civil War documents (including the Missouri Valley Special Collections at the Kansas City Public Library), and the Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum