The Neighborhood of Westport
Westport is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City, located roughly between 39th Terrace and 43rd Street to the north and south and Main Street and the SW Trafficway to the east and west. Originally called West Port, the neighborhood got its name as it was the westernmost village where settlers stocked up before venturing into the Kansas Territory.
Today the neighborhood is known for its blend of tasty eateries, trendy boutiques and popular nighttime hot spots. By day Westport buzzes with residents and tourists, but really comes to life at night as the restaurants and bars fill up.
Although much of “West Port” is long gone, today’s Westport continues to charm and entertain modern-day explorers.
The History of Westport
Nearly twenty years before Kansas City became Kansas City, John Calvin McCoy opened a trading post on the northeastern corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Over the next few decades, Westport grew by leaps and bounds into a thriving community where fur trappers and farmers traded goods and wagon trains of pioneer families stocked up for arduous journeys west via the nearby California, Oregon and Santa Fe trails.
This growth attracted entrepreneurs like Albert Gallatin Boone, who built his own grocery on the corner opposite McCoy’s in 1850. The original building still stands as Kelly’s Westport Inn.
Over a decade later, Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in The Battle of Westport, which essentially ended the Civil War in the western states. Visitors today may explore Westport to learn more about the battle that’s been called “the Gettysburg of the West.”
While the war damaged trade and growth in Westport, Kansas City continued expanding southward from the Missouri River and, in the late 1890s, annexed Westport. The legacy of John Calvin McCoy, “the father of Kansas City,” lives on in today’s Westport.
Westport District Plan
Westport is one of Kansas City’s most distinct places. Although the District is incredibly economically productive for the City, it faces many challenges for business owners, neighbors, property owners, and visitors. The Westport Regional Business League, Historic Kansas City, and City of Kansas City, Missouri have teamed up to develop a long-term District Plan for Westport. As Westport continues to evolve, a clear plan intends to provide those considering development of public and private properties within the District guidance about the physical qualities and attributes that make Westport unique and valuable.
The planning area is commonly known as The Town of Westport, that area captured within 39th Street to the north, 43rd Street to the south, Southwest Trafficway to the west, and Main Street to the east, approximately 170 acres within the city of Kansas City, Missouri.
The study area of this plan falls within the recently adopted Midtown Plaza Area Plan, and is intended to support the frameworks of the larger area plan while addressing more complex issues specific to Westport.
For full details on the plan, schedule of meetings and more, please visit the Westport Plan website.