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Land of Oz - Emerald City

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

This year, we’re excited to roll out the red carpet right here in our hometown* of Kansas City! You may be thinking to yourself, “Ah, Kansas…the land of tornados, the Jayhawks, and the Wizard of Oz.” And while those are all true of Kansas…

Kansas City is in Missouri. Not Kansas.

Dorothy and Toto - Wizard of Oz

Dorothy gets it. Source


It’s an easy mistake to make. After all, New York City is in New York and Oklahoma City is in Oklahoma. And Missouri City, a small town about 20 miles northeast of KC is, naturally, in Missouri (don’t mind the one in Texas)! So how did Kansas City end up in Missouri instead of neighboring Kansas?

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

The short answer is that Kansas City was there first, though it had a slightly different name back then.

Drawing of Kansas City, Missouri in 1869

Kansas City, Missouri in 1869. Source.

KC was originally founded as the Town of Kansas in 1850, near the meeting point of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. At this time, Kansas – as a state or a territory – didn’t yet exist. Lands west of Missouri, more specifically St. Louis, Missouri, were still considered the frontier during this era (Kansas was admitted to the Union as a full-fledged state in 1861).

A few years later, as the town grew, it was officially incorporated in Jackson County, Missouri as the City of Kansas. It wouldn’t be until 1889 that the city formally adopted its current name of Kansas City.

As an aside, the name “Kansas” is derived from “Kanza,” the name of a Native American tribe that inhabited the area. Today, they’re better known as the Kaw Nation, a federally-recognized tribe that still exists in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.

A Tale of Two Cities

Remember when I said Kansas City is in Missouri? Truthfully, Kansas City is also in Kansas. As in there are actually two separate cities, in two states, bordering each other, with the name of Kansas City. It’s confusing, so to distinguish one from another, locals often call the city in Missouri, “KCMO” (pronounced Kay-Cee-Mo) while the city in Kansas is called, “KCK.” The latter was originally incorporated in the State of Kansas in 1872.

Map of KCMO and KCK

Two Cities, United. Source.

KCMO is the larger of the two cities and the location of #ACBSP2018, right in the heart of Downtown. When people refer to Kansas City, the one in Missouri is typically the one they’re talking about.

In the end, it doesn’t matter which side of State Line Road one is from. All Kansas Citians enjoy arguing spirited debate about the best BBQ in town, rooting for the Royals, and celebrating our jazz legacy.

We’re excited to have you in our hometown and can’t wait to show you everything our two Kansas Cities have to offer! Register by April 15 to take advantage of early registration discounts.

*Technically speaking, ACBSP’s hometown is Overland Park, Kansas, a major suburb about 20 miles southwest of the city.