Michael Bushnell

Building the imposing new City Hall at Fifth and Main streets required the installation of roughly 60 circular caissons, five feet across, to support the massive structure. The building, Kansas City’s second City Hall, opened it door for service in 1892 under the leadership of then Kansas City Mayor W. W. Cowherd.

The building can be seen behind the market wholesale house in this early 20th century postcard of the city market. Some of those support caissons extended into the ground to bedrock as deep as 55 feet.
The area around Fourth, Fifth and Main streets had long been a gathering place for local farmers to hawk crops grown on their farm then brought to the city for sale to locals with a taste for fresh produce.
The area was also well known to pioneers seeking supplies for their westward trek into the great wilderness.

As the city’s population grew, the area became known as Market Square and later the City Market. As seen in this early postcard, streetcars dropped off passengers along Fourth, Fifth and Main so they could purchase everything including fresh produce from the farmer’s market and tools, planks or nails from area hardware operations.

The city experienced explosive growth in the 1920s and plans were laid out for a new City Hall and Courthouse complex at the corner of 12th and Oak streets. In 1938 the old Market House and City Hall were razed. The buildings we now know as City Market were constructed on the site and went into service in the early 1940s.