Kansas City, MO City Guides

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There’s real drama in our town’s 180-plus-year history, a story filled with fascinating heroes and colorful rascals. Yet, unlike an old-fashioned Western it’s not always easy to tell if the central characters are wearing white hats or black.

In our struggle to change from mudville to metropolis, we’ve endured heartbreak such as cholera, fires, and a Civil War that left emerging towns on both sides of the state line bloodied and raw.

Yet our history is also filled with stories of pluck and perseverance. Our early trailblazers—men such as McCoy, Swope, Nelson, Van Horn, Vanderslice, and Volker—often came here looking to make a buck or build a reputation, fell in love with the town, and became our most staunch boosters. Today, a century and a half later, we honor the new pioneers who are taking us forward with vision and vitality. These are the leaders who keep Kansas City in the forefront in the world of the arts, commerce, and health care.

Our story starts where it all began: at the river.

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