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History of Kansas City: Welcome to the Heart of America

This month’s FSG branch focus takes us to Kansas City.  If you are the kind of person with a serious statist bent, and you demand to know if we’re talking about Kansas or Missouri, the answer is “yes”.

And, in case you were wondering, we have branches right next to KC and Tampa. So we’re not picking Super Bowl winners this week.

Kansas City lies very near the geographic center of the United States, at the confluence of the nation’s longest river, the Missouri River, and the Kansas River.

In 1915, the city adopted the official slogan “Heart of America”.  While that might still be true, it should be noted that at various other times Kansas City has also been known as “The City of Fountains”.  Residents have been known to make the claim that Kansas City boasts more fountains than even Rome in Italy, although Rome city officials have not yet officially replied to requests for comment.

Looking Back at the History of Kansas City

In the early 1800s, the frontier outpost that would later grow to become the metropolitan area known today as Kansas City was valued for its strategic location more than for any particular industry or offering.  

At that time, fur trappers from St. Louis took advantage of the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers to set up shop, trading with Native Americans in a location that offered several options for easy ingress and speedy egress.

In 1838, “Town of Kansas” Missouri was officially founded on the east shore of the Kansas River, just south of where it flows into the Missouri River, and quickly became the most important and established city west of St. Louis.  

Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

With the Oregon Trail, the California Trail, and the Santa Fe Trail all beginning just on the outskirts of town, the city’s role in the ongoing westward expansion of the United States was firmly established, and the Town of Kansas was growing fast.

On June 3, 1850, Jackson County Missouri officially incorporated the Town of Kansas, giving the 1,500 residents there a solid dose of civic pride.  That civic pride was goosed again on March 28, 1853, when the state of Missouri officially incorporated the city with a slightly grander name, “City of Kansas”.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

The next ten years would prove to be very difficult for the City of Kansas residents.  The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 would officially name the land across the river “Kansas”, and the American Civil War would find Missouri and Kansas involved in early and tragic fighting that would shade life in the region for generations.

John Barber, and Henry Howe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Common

In 1865, the Missouri Pacific railroad was extended to the City of Kansas. Two years later, in 1867, work began on the Hannibal Bridge, the first permanent rail crossing of the Missouri River.  With the opening of the bridge in 1869, the City of Kansas was off and running, and its population would quadruple over the next 50 years.

Another significant growth factor for the City of Kansas involved the world-famous Kansas City Stockyards.

With the city’s thriving stockyards and its ever-expanding importance to the nation’s rail system, the local economy boomed.  The explosive growth of both the cattle industry and the national rail system saw the city grow to be the #2 busiest rail hub in the country, right behind Chicago.

By 1889, the residents of the City of Kansas had had enough. They officially changed the city name to Kansas City

Life was good, the city was growing, Kansas City steaks were a treat folks traveled long distances to enjoy, and all around town beautiful fountains were being installed.  

The 1900s saw more growth, more industry, more fountains, and a long stream of colorful characters and important industries that would leave their mark on the city.  

For a time, a young cartoonist named Walt Disney set up shop in Kansas City, as did a young shop owner named Harry Truman.  Aviation giants Charles Lindbergh and Howard Hughes helped bring TWA to Kansas City, where it quickly became the most important hub of air travel in the country.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the Kansas City metropolitan area was still growing, with a population that would exceed 2 million by 2010. 

Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past several years, the list of the city’s important milestones and achievements has continued to grow, as Kansas City has worked to build upon the lessons of the past, to maintain its impressive network of fountains, and to lay the groundwork for brighter days to come.

Oh, and the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes.

Building, Expanding, Renovating, and Growing

Recent years have seen a construction boom taking place in Kansas City.  In 2018, the online publication Electrical Wholesaling released a ranking of the busiest commercial construction markets in the U.S. that showed Kansas City ranked #14.

More importantly, the percentage of change in the commercial construction market between 2017 and 2018 was a whopping 52%, with only Boston reporting higher numbers for that important trend indicator.

The Kansas City Area Development Council provides even more good news in a 2020 report that points to strong industrial growth across the metropolitan area

The same factors that made Kansas City an attractive location back in the 1830s are still a strong selling point for developers in 2021.  The ideal geography and transportation infrastructure of the Kansas City area remain as valuable today as they were back when the city was founded, and the future looks bright for Kansas City.

In Kansas City, the Future is Now

Today, Kansas City is the 29th most populated metropolitan area in the United States.  Local residents see the metro area as a “hidden gem” for families.  With several of the top school districts in the country on the Kansas side, families are flocking to raise their children here.  

For culture lovers, internationally-famous barbeque, farmer’s markets, museums, local music venues with a proud connection to Kansas City jazz, and too many restaurants to count make the city and surrounding areas fun, culturally appealing, and vital.

For fountain lovers, we’ve definitely got you covered:

User:Charvex, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

FSG – Right at Home in Kansas City

Our Kansas City branch fits right in amid the hustle and bustle of the construction market at the “Crossroads of America”.  With each important new project, the FSG team grows deeper roots within a community with a proud history and an exciting future ahead.

Our office is located just west of downtown in Shawnee, and we routinely provide industry-leading service to businesses and facilities of every size in the following areas:

  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lee’s Summit, MO
  • Blue Springs, MO
  • Independence, MO
  • Liberty, MO
  • Riverside, MO
  • Raytown, MO
  • Grandview, MO
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Overland Park, KS
  • Lenexa, KS
  • Prairie Village, KS

Note: The Kansas Jayhawks (the greatest basketball team ever according to our KC Branch VP) is located a mere 40 miles to the west of Kansas City

We’re All About the People of KC

FSG Kansas City is different from other electrical contractors in the area for one big reason – we care about the people first. FSG Kansas City offers remarkable, memorable, and exceptional customer service. 

We take our customer’s satisfaction personally.  Our 24-hour service line is always available, and our customers have peace of mind knowing their emergency is our emergency, too.   

Our office maintains a strong connection to the community in Kansas City.  FSG Kansas City is a member of the local branches of both the Building Owners and Management Association (BOMA) and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), and we proudly support annual golf tournaments and other special events to further expand our contacts within those organizations.  

Additionally, our office supports many non-profit organizations in Kansas City.  We have worked together at the St. James Food Kitchen and served hundreds of meals for the homeless.  Our team has united to collect items and assemble bags for the local Ronald McDonald House.  We’ve supported the Red Nose Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Special Olympics.  

We participate in our community because Kansas City is our home, and we’re here to stay.  Making a difference in our local community brings us  together and builds a sense of teamwork outside of the office. 

Lasse Fuss, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most importantly, we believe that our mission at FSG is to willingly contribute to the quality of life of our employees, customers, vendors, and the community in which we live.  Every day at FSG Kansas City, we accomplish this mission through the delivery of truly exceptional service.

For Kansas City lighting, electrical, facility disinfection, signage, and technology solutions that allow you to do more call FSG today at (512) 886-1258 or visit the FSG Kansas City webpage.

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