KC March 2, 2023

A Tale of Two Kansas Cities

The story of two cities with the same name. Most of the U.S. may not know the difference between Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri – they may not even know that there are two Kansas Cities! However, when you ask a Kansas City area resident, they’ll tell you there’s a stark contrast between the two. 

Although KC area residents tend to know the exact differences between the two cities – oftentimes down to the difference in road construction – most don’t know how both cities ended with the same name. Click HERE for more Fun Facts about Kansas City.

The Man Who Started it All

During the 19th century, John Calvin McCoy became the “Father of Kansas City” when he purchased farmland near a trading post called West Port in Missouri. 

In doing so, McCoy started the Town of Kansas, which was named after the Kansas River and the Kansa Indians, also known as the Kaw people. 

In 1853, the City of Kansas was officially incorporated in Missouri, a whole year before Kansas was even established as a territory. 

When Kansas gained its statehood in 1861, the City of Kansas in Missouri was already thriving. To avoid confusion, the City of Kansas changed its name to Kansas City. 

Another Kansas City

According to historical folklore, Kansas gathered small areas in Wyandotte County and deemed the area Kansas City for two reasons. The first was to try and profit off Kansas City, Missouri’s (KCMO) success, which worked.  

Because KCMO was booming and rapidly growing in population and economic wealth, it’s believed that Kansas City, Kansas (or KCK) wanted some of that wealth and growth. 

The multiple names confused visitors and industries alike, and still does at times, which allowed KCK to gain more money and expand, much like KCMO. 

The second supposed reason for the two Kansas Cities is jealousy. It’s rumored the residents of Kansas were angered with Missouri and KCMO. In the eyes of Kansas residents, Missouri had taken the name of their state and used it, and created a wealthy successful city.

So Kansas City, Kansas was born and centered just a few short miles away from Kansas City, Missouri. The two cities still stand today, have maintained their historical roots, and are separated by State Line Road that hovers over the Kansas-Missouri border.

The Cities Today

Today, KCMO is the largest city in Missouri with a population of more than 488,000 people, and KCK grows with a population of more than 150,000. Both cities combined create the Kansas City Metropolitan area, with a population of more than two million. 

Although completely distinct from one another, the residents of both KCs share a passion for second-to-none barbeque, craft beer, various sports teams, and a deep love for their respective city. 

As the Kansas City metro area continues to expand in culture, wealth, and population, it becomes a great place to call home. 

Discover more about Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas and find your next home in the Kansas City Metro area!