30 Fun Facts About Kansas City
By Tisha Foley
- Swope Park, at 1,805 acres, is more than twice the size of Central Park in New York City.
- Kansas City is the 29th most populated metropolitan area in the US.
- The scoreboard at Arrowhead Stadium was the first to transmit instant replay.
- Kansas City has more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other US city.
- The Country Club Plaza, opened in 1922, was the country’s first suburban shopping district.
- Possum Trot and Rabbitville were early name suggestions for our city. Town of Kansas was agreed upon, which later became City of Kansas and then Kansas City.
- 1934 was the hottest Kansas City summer on record, with an average temperature of 84.9 degrees.
- You probably know about the famous shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but did you know that the museum is supposed to be the net in the badminton game?
- By the late 1940s, 86 factories were manufacturing garments in Kansas City.
- In 1963, what is widely believed to be the first multiplex movie theater opened in Ward Parkway Shopping Center.
- More than 25 colleges and universities call the Kansas City area home.
- Before Harry S. Truman went into politics, he owned a Kansas City haberdashery.
- The Happy Meal was invented in Kansas City. Bob Bernstein, founder of local advertising agency Bernstein-Rein, got the idea after noticing his son staring at a cereal box during breakfast.
- Ernest Hemingway worked as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star from 1917 to 1918 and wrote the ending to his novel, “A Farewell to Arms,” while back in the city for the birth of his second son.
- Kansas City ignored Prohibition during the 1920s, leading to a surge of boozy jazz clubs, brothels and gambling joints.
- Russell Stover, the largest maker of boxed chocolate in the world, has been based in KC since 1932.
- Before Jackie Robinson became the first African-American major leaguer, he was a shortstop with the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro Leagues organization.
- Kansas City has over 200 fountains, giving it the nickname The City of Fountains.
- John Steinbeck’s book, “The Grapes of Wrath,” was banned in KCK in 1939.
- Jazz legend Charlie Parker’s first gig was in The Country Club Plaza, where restaurant Fogo De Chao is now located.
- The Plaza Christmas lights tradition started with a strand of 16 lights over a doorway in 1925.
- Walt Disney opened his first animation studio, called Laugh-O-Gram Studios, in Kansas City. Mickey Mouse was inspired by a real-life mouse in the building.
- Jam sessions originated in Kansas City, when jazz musicians would play into the wee hours of the morning.
- KCMO has over 220 parks, 29 lakes, 103 playgrounds and 134 miles of trails and bikeways.
- Joyce Hall, founder of Hallmark Cards, started out selling postcards out of a shoebox in Kansas City.
- The Jacksons’ Victory Tour, fresh off the success of Michael’s album “Thriller” launched at Arrowhead Stadium in 1984.
- Our airport was originally called Mid-Continent International but became Kansas City International when it opened in 1972. The designator code remained MCI, because K is reserved for broadcast station call letters.
- The Kansas City Royals got their name from the American Royal, the livestock show that's been held in KC since 1899.
- Kansas City has more boulevards than Paris.
- March 23, 1912 set a record for most snowfall in a single day in Kansas City–20.5 inches.
Belton resident Tisha Foley loves watching the Royals, eating barbeque and visiting Kansas City attractions with her family.
Sources: Visit KC, The Kansas City Star, Kansas City Public Library, KCMO Parks and Recreation, KSHB