Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri (informally abbreviated KC) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses 318 square miles in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties. It is one of two county seats of Jackson County, the other being Independence, which is to the city's east. As of 2010, the population census was 459,787 with a metro area of 2.1 million.
Kansas City was founded in 1838 as the "Town of Kansas" at the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers and was incorporated in its present form in 1850. Situated opposite Kansas City, Kansas, the city was the location of several battles during the Civil War, including the Battle of Westport. The city is well known for its contributions to the musical styles of jazz and blues as well as to cuisine (Kansas City-style barbecue).
It is officially nicknamed the City of Fountains. With over 200 fountains, the city claims to have the second most in the world, just behind Rome. The fountains at Kauffman Stadium, commissioned by original Kansas City Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, are the largest privately-funded fountains in the world. The city also has more boulevards than any city except Paris and has been called "Paris of the Plains." It is sometimes referred to colloquially as the Heart of America as it is near both the population center of the United States and the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states.
The Kansas City area was rife with animosity during the period popularly known as Bleeding Kansas, which immediately preceded the Civil War. Already situated just inside a state bitterly divided on the issue of slavery, southern sympathizers in the area immediately recognized the threat posed by neighboring Kansas petitioning to enter the Union under the new doctrine of popular sovereignty. Infuriated by the idea of Kansas becoming a free state, many from the area crossed into Kansas to sway the state towards allowing slavery, at first by ballot box and then by bloodshed.
During the Civil War, the City of Kansas and its immediate environs were the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence in August 1862 resulted in a Confederate victory, the Southerners were unable to follow up their win in any significant fashion, as the City of Kansas was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified for them to assault. The Second Battle of Independence, part of Sterling Price's Missouri expedition of 1864, also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again the Southern victory proved hollow, as Price was decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport the next day, effectively ending Confederate efforts to occupy the city.
Moreover, General Thomas Ewing, in response to a successful raid on nearby Lawrence, Kansas, led by William Quantrill, issued General Order No. 11, forcing the eviction of residents in four western Missouri counties - including Jackson - except those living in the city and nearby communities and those whose allegiance to the Union was certified by Ewing.
After the Civil War, the City of Kansas grew rapidly. The selection of the city over Leavenworth, Kansas, for the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad bridge over the Missouri River brought about significant growth. The population exploded after 1869, when the Hannibal Bridge, designed by Octave Chanute, opened. The boom prompted a name change to Kansas City in 1889 and the city limits to extend south and east. Westport became part of Kansas City on December 2, 1897. In 1900, Kansas City was the 22nd largest city in the country, with 163,752 residents.