Independence & Kansas City!

While staying in Saint Joseph, we took a day trip south to visit Independence (where the majority of the western travelers hit the trails) and Kansas City.

We started the day with a visit to the National Frontier Trails Museum in Independence.  This museum was much smaller than some of the others we have visited in Missouri, but it did allow some perspective on the differences and similarities between the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail and the Santa Fe Trail.

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They had a beautiful map showing the trails.  You can see how the Mormon Trail tied in to the Oregon Trail.  The Oregon Trail follows the Platte River through Nebraska, which we will be doing, and continues on to Oregon.

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At the museum, you also have an opportunity to walk through a nearby field that retains swales with some evidence of the wagon train ruts left behind.  These are said to be from the Santa Fe Trail.  I know, it is kind of hard to tell with the grass, but the ruts run from right to left as the people left Independence.  We will be seeing more ruts farther on in our travels, but this shows you the beginnings.

 

We then headed to Kansas City!  Our impression (we were only there for half a day, keep in mind) was that the city was very laid back (compared to eastern cities) and clean, and was very easy to drive around and take in the sights.  We both wished we had more time to visit the World War I Museum, but it just didn’t work out for us.  We also wished we could be there after dark, as the lights in this place are incredible.  For other travelers, plan a few days stay near Kansas City, before heading North to Saint Joseph.  Oh, and I almost forgot, yes, KC has amazing water fountains everywhere (I think I read around 200 in the city)!

 

Looking down from the WWI Museum at Union Station and beyond.

Looking down from the WWI Museum at Union Station and beyond.

JC Nichols Fountain

JC Nichols Fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do I want to throw myself in to any available water in MO???

Why do I want to throw myself in to any available water in MO???

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National WWI Museum & Memorial

National WWI Museum & Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posterior View, Kauffman Center for  the Performing Arts

Posterior View, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Entrance View, Kauffman Center (We liked that it looks like the Guggenheim inside!)

Entrance View, Kauffman Center (We liked that it looks like the Guggenheim inside!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe's KC BBQ

Joe’s KC BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a hot afternoon in the city, we took Lynn’s advice and ate at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ!  They claim to have the best in KC, and we quickly agreed.  We were there at 3:30, and there was still a wait.  Others told us usually the line is out the door!  Pretty cool for a gas station!  We can 100% recommend it to anyone visiting KC.  Thank you, Lynn!

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4 comments on “Independence & Kansas City!

  1. Great pictures! I really liked seeing the map and it is amazing to still be able to see the wagon ruts. Never knew there were so many fountains and they are quite ornate – beautiful. The que looked delicious. Cannot wait to see where you go next!

  2. I’ve been listening to a biography on Harry Truman. He was from nearby and his wife was from Independence. It was a wild region in the 1800s. Did you come across anything about him while you were there?

    • Yes, Truman was well represented in Kansas City. We were only there for a day and did not make it to any of the sites about him. I don’t recall anything in Independence, but I wasn’t looking for it there either. Missouri was a great state to start our trip out West. It gives a great starting point for so many historical figures that you will later learn more about as you travel farther West. Following the historical path of settlement gave us so much more insight for the trip thru Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. The Santa Fe trail also started in MO, and we are looking forward to exploring that more as we head through the southwest this Spring. What amazes me is that settlement in the West wasn’t that long ago! I am reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose right now about Lewis & Clark. That is another trail that I am interested in seeing the pieces come together.

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