The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, a city of Jackson co., Missouri, the second in the state in population and importance, situated on the right bank of the Missouri river, just below the mouth of the Kansas river, and near the Kansas border, 135 m. W. N. W. of Jefferson City, and 235 m. W. by N. of St. Louis; pop. in 1860, 4,418; in 1870, 32,260, of whom 3,770 were colored and 7,679 foreigners; in 1874, estimated by local authorities at 40,000. The site, which was originally very rough and uneven, has been levelled, and now presents a moderately even appearance, except where a high bluff divides the upper or hill part of the city from the “bottom” or low lands where the railroad depots are. It is not regularly laid out, but the streets are wide, and are graded and sewered, provided with sidewalks, and lighted with gas. The buildings are chiefly of brick. Waterworks are in process of construction. The Missouri is here spanned by a bridge 1,387 ft. long, resting on seven piers, erected at a cost of $1,000,000. Four lines of street railroad, with an aggregate length of 13½ m., run to various parts of the city and to the suburbs of Wyandotte, Kan., and Westport. The surrounding country is fertile, and abounds in coal, lead, iron, zinc, salt, gypsum, fire clay, and building stone. By means of seven railroads the city commands the trade not only of W. Missouri and Kansas, but also of N. Texas and part of Colorado and New Mexico. These lines, which centre at a common passenger depot, are the Hannibal and St. Joseph; Kansas Pacific; Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Council Bluffs; Leavenworth, Lawrence, and Galveston; Missouri River, Fort Scott, and Gulf; Missouri Pacific; and St. Louis, Kansas City, and Northern. The Kansas City and Memphis and the Kansas City, Wyandotte, and Northwestern railroads are in progress from the city, and the Kansas Midland line is expected to reach this point in 1874. The number of arrivals of steamboats in 1873 was 65. The organization of a system of barge navigation has been much discussed, and promises success. The sales of merchandise at wholesale in 1872 amounted to $13,844,440; in 1873 to $15,695,000; at retail in the latter year, to $5,555,000. The trade in cattle (chiefly from Texas) and in hogs is one of the most important branches. The receipts of cattle in 1871 were 120,827 head; in 1872, 236,802; in 1873, 227,669, valued at $3,415,035; of hogs in 1871, 41,036; in 1872, 104,639; in 1873, 220,956, valued at $2,131,177 60. The receipts of horses in 1873 were 4,202; of sheep, 5,975. The packing business is extensive, and has increased with great rapidity. The number of hogs packed in 1868 was 13,000; in 1869, 23,000; in 1870, 36,000; in 1871, 83,000; in 1872, 180,000; and in 1873, 194,944, the products being valued at $2,339,358. The number of cattle packed in 1872 was 20,500, value of products $615,000; in 1873, 26,549, value of products $796,470. There are four large packing houses, with capacity, during the season from Nov. 1 to March 1, for packing 480,000 hogs, and during the year 700,000. The receipts of grain in 1872 were 1,001,293 bushels; in 1873, 1,718,280, including 750,400 of wheat, 836,300 of Indian corn, and 105,200 of oats. The shipments in the latter year were 1,130,380 bushels; products of the mills, 98,500 barrels of flour and 100,000 bushels of corn meal. Manufacturing industry is limited, and with the exception of a few branches is confined to a single establishment of a kind. The principal items are cigars, tobacco, ale and beer, saddles and harness, furniture, brass castings, scales, soap, types, roofing, lightning rods, cooperage, carriages and wagons, crackers, bricks, and blank books. There are 12 banks and branches, with an aggregate capital of $1,257,500.—The city is divided into six wards, and is governed by a mayor and a board of aldermen. It has a well organized fire department and an efficient police force. The valuation of property in 1872 was $11,993,060; in 1873, $12,687,875; taxation in the latter year, $348,916 56; expenditures, $336,387 97. There are a city hospital and a workhouse, an orphan asylum, a woman's home, and a Catholic hospital with a large building in process of erection. The public schools are in a flourishing condition. The number of school houses in 1873 was 14, of which 9 were owned by the city and 5 rented; number of schools, 14 (1 high, 10 district, and 3 colored); rooms occupied, 59; sittings, 3,056; teachers, 59; children of school age (5 to 21), 6,636; number enrolled, 4,259; average attendance, 2,224. There are two medical colleges (the Kansas City college of physicians and surgeons and the medical college of Kansas City), a Catholic female college (St. Teresa's academy), an opera house, 2 theatres, 4 daily (1 German), 2 tri-weekly, and 8 weekly (1 German) newspapers, and 1 bimonthly periodical. The number of churches is 28, viz. : 2 Baptist, 1 Christian, 1 Congregational, 2 Episcopal, 1 German Evangelical, 2 Jewish, 2 Lutheran (1 German), 6 Methodist, 6 Presbyterian, 3 Roman Catholic, 1 Spiritualist, and 1 Unitarian.—Kansas City was laid out in 1830, but its growth was slow till 1856. Its progress was retarded by the civil war, but has since been remarkably rapid. Improved trade relations have recently been formed with Galveston and Houston, Texas, which are expected to enhance greatly the prosperity of the city.