Happy 160th birthday, Kansas City

By LESLIE COLLINS
Northeast News 
April 3, 2013 

Celebrating Kansas City. Kansas City turned 160 March 28 and city officials along with Kansas City residents celebrated the milestone at City Hall with cake and punch. Kansas City’s beginnings can be traced to the early 1800s when French fur traders, including Francois Chouteau, followed the Missouri River from St. Louis to the area now known as the Northeast Industrial District, where they established trading posts on the waterway. Above, Kansas City Mayor Sly James talks about Kansas City’s history and future. Leslie Collins

“Happy birthday, Kansas City. You don’t look a day older than 150,” City Council member Ed Ford said during the 160th birthday celebration at City Hall March 28.

As area residents and city officials gathered for cake and punch, they were reminded of Kansas City’s rich history and how the city continues to thrive.

Kansas City, however, almost received a different name: the City of Possum Trot.

“I think they made a wise choice back then (of naming it Kansas City),” Schulte said.

Kansas City Celebration. General Services employees serve cake to attendees. Leslie Collins

During the March 28, 1853 election, 67 residents voted to officially incorporate the area as the Town of Kansas, named after the Kansa Indians who inhabited the area. The town consisted of 10 blocks west to east and five blocks north to south. Geographical borders consisted of Independence Avenue on the south, Holmes Road on the east, the Missouri River on the north and Summitt Street on the west, City Council member Jermaine Reed said.

“There were a lot of cities that all started out about the same time; nobody knew which cities would grow and which cities wouldn’t,” City Council member John Sharp said. “A lot of these cities have faded away and Kansas City has grown and we continue to grow.”

“Although we’ve done some great things in the past, the really great part about Kansas City is our future,” Mayor Sly James said. “We have established ourselves as an entrepreneurial haven, Google Fiber has set us on a different course, young people fight to get into Kansas City.”

There’s the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Management, the new digital sandbox and business incubator for start-up technology businesses, James said, naming just a few of Kansas City’s assets.

“We ought to be looking forward and being optimistic, happy and very excited about the things that we have going forward,” James said.

Schulte also mentioned Kansas City’s bright future and compared the city to his grandmother. When she celebrated her 90th birthday, family members asked her how it felt to turn 90.

“She said there’s a lot of vinegar left in these here bones,” Schulte said. “That raises the indication that there’s still a lot of spirit, a lot of energy, a lot of passion left in this city. Here’s to the next 160 years of Kansas City.”

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