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The West Bottoms - the industrial heart of Kansas City

Kansas City, KS, United States
12 Kudos
The West Bottoms area of Kansas City is not a tourist area by any stretch of the imagination. It is an old industrial district full of warehouses, railroad yards, vacant lots, and old railroad bridges over the Kansas River. The term “West Bottoms” is rather loosely defined, but it includes an area that spans both sides of the Kansas-Missouri Border. Some of its most famous landmarks include the American Royal Building, Kemper Arena, and the old Stockyards Building.

Yet, despite the run down appearance of the West Bottoms, it has a bit of a strange appeal. Many of the old brick warehouses that dominate the Missouri side would be quite beautiful if only they could be fixed up. The abandoned railroad bridges on the Kansas side were great feats of engineering in the early 1900s. The 1907 Intercity Viaduct has to be one of the oldest bridges on the Interstate Highway System. It was built when cars were just a novelty for the wealthy, but today the viaduct carries eastbound I-70 over the Kansas River.

Throughout the West Bottoms and the Argentine District (part of Kansas City, Kansas), one can see the many relics of a hardworking, blue collar, industrialized Kansas City. This is an area where products were cast, forged, assembled, machined, milled, refined, and transported to the rest of the world. Perhaps one of these days, this largely forgotten district of Kansas City can be revitalized and made beautiful again. The photograph above shows the West Bottoms as viewed from the Liberty Memorial.
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