Visiting Kansas City – What to Do With The Family

Kansas City is a city that is actually composed of two seperate cities. It is located at the intersection of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. Part of the city is located in Missouri and is the largest city in the state. The other part of the city is located in Kansas and has a population of around one hundred thousand people. The two areas combined is known as the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Kansas City can trace its history back to the nineteenth century.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas

Liberty Memorial, Kansas

The first noted French visit to the Kansas City area was Etienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont. He was also the first European to investigate the bottom portion Missouri River. He was fleeing the government after he deserted his post as the commander of Fort Detroit. Sieur de Bourgmont had a Native American wife who lived in a Missouri town that was located close to Brunswick. He kept himself in gainful employment by dealing in the illegal fur trade. In order to redeem himself in the eyes of the French government, he did an extensive survey of the Missouri River, to be used as a guide for the establishment of a colony. His maps and essays clearly detailed the Kansas and Missouri Rivers and was the first document to name these locations. A French map maker named Guillaume Delisle used the essays and crude maps to make a map of the area that was pretty accurate for its time.

Sieur de Bourgmont was rewarded for his labor by being granted the highest French honor and being given the command of Missouri. In 1723, he built a fort and led a Native American expedition up the Kansas River to the southwest to make an alliance with the Commanche Indians to secure their help in the war against Spain. For this achievement, Sieur de Bourgmont was given nobel status and returned to Normandy, France. According to popular legend, when Sieur de Bourgmont did not return to the fort, the Native Americans then proceeded to slaughter everyone inside the garrison. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain took control of the area in 1763, but put little development into the area. French merchants continued to engage in the fur trade under direct license from the Spanish. Under the Louisiana Purchase, the United States aquired the area and Lewis and Clark explored the intersection of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, noting the strategic value of the location. Francois Chouteau, a French fur trader, established Chouteau Landing in the Kansas City area in 1821. In 1850, Kansas City Missouri was incorporated as a city. Eighteen years later in 1868, Kansas City Kansas was incorporated as a city.

In 1881, Kansas City, Kansas outlawed the sale of liquor and Kansas started a program of statewide prohibition. This wasn’t very successful however, because residents who lived in Kansas could simply cross to the Missouri portion of the city and drink. This caused a large number of taverns and saloons to be erected in the Missouri section of the city. In 1901, temperance crusader Carrie A. Nation crossed into the Missouri section of Kansas City and entered the bars located there, smashing liquor bottles with a hatchet. After entering a saloon named Flynn’s, she was arrested and forced to leave the city. When the eighteenth amendment was passed in the United States, outlawing liquor nationwide, very little changed in Kansas City, Missouri. Thanks to corruption in the government, the liquor kept flowing without missing a beat. In 1933, Prohibition was repealed, but little changed in Kansas City.

Kansas City is a city with a fair list of attractions on both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the city. A popular attraction in the city is the Liberty Memorial. The Liberty Memorial is home to the The National World War I Museum, which was constructed by an act of Congress in 2004. This memorial in Penn Valley Park was created by Harold Van Buren Magonigle. The main sculptor was Robert Aikten. The accesses were created by Wight and Wight. It was devoted on November 11, 1926, by United States President Calvin Coolidge. The building’s architectural style is in the Egyptian Revival style and the outside of the building is composed of limestone. Its foundation is set on granite and the outside of the ground level walls are composed of Bedford rock. The corridor and stairs of the first floor are composed of Kasota and terrazzo marble, while the railings are composed of tavernelle marble from Italy. The National World War One Museum tells the story of World War I and the progression of events from 1914 through 1918. Visitors enter the museum by passing over a glass bridge which is located a field of nine thousand poppies. Each poppy represents a thousand soldiers who have died during the war. The museum contains a couple of theaters, exhibitions featuring World War I artifacts, a twenty thousand square foot library and research facility, a museum store and a conference room.

National World War One Museum

National World War One Museum

Other attractions in Kansas City include the Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kauffman Stadium, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Country Club Plaza, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Science City at Union Station, The College Basketball Experience, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, City Market, Union Station, Kansas City Zoo, Toy and Miniature Museum, International House of Prayer, Crown Center, Arrowhead Stadium, Worlds Of Fun, Kaleidoscope, American Royal Museum, Hallmark Visitors Center, Coco Key Water Resort, Kansas City Museum, KC Fountains, American Jazz Museum, Loose Park, Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site, Gottlieb Planetarium, Oregon Trail, Kansas City Symphony, Airline History Museum, Coterie Theater, Black Archives of Mid-America, Starlight Theater, Mill Creek Park, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, Municipal Auditorium, Gangster Tours, Kansas City Convention Center, Union Station Theater District and Kids Quest. Kansas City is also home to many exciting clubs, fantastic restaurants and elegant hotels. There is a little bit of something for every member of the family and entertainment for young and old.