Why is there a Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS?


KCMO + KCK: both pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. | Photo by @littlefixations

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It’s a tale as old as time — isn’t Kansas City in Kansas? Well, we’re not (only) in Kansas anymore. To understand how both Kansas City, Missouri + Kansas City, Kansas share the same name, let’s take a walk down memory lane… or should we say State Line Road?

Kansas City, MO (KCMO)

During the 1830s, John McCoy founded the settlement of Westport and established a river boat landing close to the Missouri River. The connection between these spots served as a catalyst for development. The city was named the City of Kansas in 1853, before Kansas was even a state. The city in Missouri derived the name from the Kansas river — named after the Native Americans of the Kaw Nation (Kanza people). Fun fact: “Possum Trot” and “Rabbitville” were also names in the running, which gives us better context as to why the “Father Of Kansas City Barbecue,” Henry Perry was cooking these animals. The city was renamed Kansas City in 1889. John McCoy’s Westport settlement was annexed in 1897.

Kansas City, KS (KCK)

In 1872, the small towns developing in Wyandotte County incorporated to form Kansas City, Kansas. Naming the town after the City of Kansas in Missouri was done to capitalize + benefit from the growth happening on the Missouri side. Kansas politicians even attempted to annex the Missouri side of Kansas City into their state, but KCMO remained a Missouri state.

So, what’s in a name? Well, for Missouri and Kansas, it’s the pride we share for the city, regardless of which state it’s in.

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