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Ruins of Quindaro: abandoned Underground Railroad town in Kansas City, Kansas

Picture of Quindaro overlook

The overlook view includes a forested descent down to the Missouri River.

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Answered No. 1. We asked you for 22 questions that we could help answer in 2022. We have our list, and we’re starting with this one:

“I’d love to know the history of our KC neighborhoods: both MO and KS, founders, years, fun facts.” — Reader, Joanie W.

Whew. That’s a big question with a lot of answers, but we will attempt to shed some light on little-known towns around the metro that still have an impact on our community today. Meet

Quindaro, KS | 1857-1862

This historic town served as an integral part of the Underground Railroad for those who sought freedom by escaping Missouri. Free-state advocate Abelard Guthrie founded the town and named it after his Wyandotte Native American wife, Nancy Quindaro Brown.

The townsite stretched from 17th Street to 42nd Street + Parallel Parkway to the Missouri River — what is now Kansas City, Kansas. At its peak, there were 100+ buildings and 1,000+ residents. The town even included several hotels and a number of churches.

Photo of Quindaro plaque

A plaque near the overlook site with a historical accounting of Quindaro, KS.

However, the town was largely abandoned after the start of the Civil War when the men went to fight and their families moved for safety. In 1862, the state legislature of Kansas repealed the act which had incorporated it.

Today, the name is all over the area (on schools, community centers, and parks), but only ruins remain of this once bustling town. The Quindaro Ruins Overlook siteon N. 27th near the Missouri River in KCK — is one of three National Commemorative Sites in the US National Park System. It’s open to the public, though little is visible from the observation deck. The trail to the ruins is closed unless you book a private tour by calling the city.

Photos of ruins

Pictures provided by Missouri Valley Special Collections,
Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.

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