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.