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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why the West Bottoms?

I often hear this question when I tell someone where my office is. I love Kansas City’s West Bottoms and founded The Dickson Law Firm here for couple of reasons. First, the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Division is located in the West Bottoms at 1410 Genessee Street, Suite 210, Kansas City, MO 64102. Second, I enjoy history and the West Bottoms is one of the oldest parts of Kansas City and I would argue the most preserved.

The West Bottoms was founded in the 1700s by French beaver trappers and was initially referred to as the French Bottoms. Since that time the area has had its share of rises and falls. The West Bottom’s low laying footprint on the Missouri and Kansas Rivers made an excellent landing point for steamboats heading west on the Missouri River. But, it was in the middle to late 1800s when railroad tracks began traversing the area that the area really took off. Many factories, packing houses and stock yards filled the area in the early 1900s.  In 1900, 90% of Kansas City’s value was in The West Bottoms. One of the largest factories was Darby Steel Corporation who built amphibious tanks for World War II. After the War, 20,000 jobs were lost. But the flood of 1951 had an even greater impact on the area. Following the flood, many of the factories, packing houses, and stock yards left for good. The area had a resurgence in the 1970s when Kemper Arena was built. However, the flood of 1993 was yet another set back.

The West Bottoms is in another upswing and I think this one is here to stay. So the next time you are in the area, whether you are antiquing, attending the American Royal, or going to the Work Comp Division, take your time and look around. The Dickson Law Firm, located just blocks from the MO Workers’ Compensation Division, is at 1414 Wyoming Street in a freight house that was built around 1900.

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