The West Bottoms Antiques

A Historic District Celebrating Small Business

Every First Friday weekend, over 20 old warehouses teeming with antique and vintage merchandise open to the public. During which, local restaurants, food vendors, and shops join in to create an exciting retail atmosphere.

On a visit to the Historic District of the West Bottoms, you will find shopping, dining and attractions like Kemper Arena, haunted houses, and Kansas City’s Ghosts & Gangster Tours. The West Bottoms boasts over 10 antique stores, 3 restaurants, and as well as other businesses.

The History of Kansas City Begins at the West Bottoms

The West Bottoms was originally referred to as the “French Bottoms”. It was the site of trade between French trappers and Kansas Indians. The West Bottoms became the receiving point for goods offloaded from steamships traveling upstream on the Missouri river due in part of the western immigration and trade with Mexico over the Santa Fe Trail.

The importance of the area increased with the advent of the railroad. The stockyards, established in 1871, then chose to develop there because of the livestock that came in from the Southwest over the rails. A whole city grew around the stockyards. The Union Depot was built on Union Avenue where hotels, bars and restaurants flourished. Over 90 percent of the value in Kansas City lay in the West Bottoms.

Economic hard times hit the West Bottoms with the ending of World War II. The second economic blow came in 1951 with a major flood. Packing companies and supportive industries moved out of the area and many closed their doors forever.

Kemper Arena was built in 1974, bringing with it many legendary rock bands, revitalizing the historic district and bringing along with it the American Royal annual event that is now the largest annual city event held every year during the fall season. Kemper Arena was also the site of the 1976 Republican National Convention.

Along with the building of Kemper Arena, there have been many buildings constructed and several multimillion dollar companies have set up shop in the West Bottoms area. This redevelopment has begun to attract upscale and artistic tenants to redevelop buildings and helping reestablish the West Bottoms area. The original trade hub of the Midwest is now one of the most entrepreneurial markets in the country.

Artisans & Collectors Unite

Every First Friday weekend, you will find a world of vintage, repurposed, and reclaimed items sold by antique lovers and vintage collectors. This unique, creative and inspiring environment has also attracted some of Kansas City’s best artisans. From metal work to painting, along with wood carving and furniture making, you will find some of the most interesting items in Kansas City.

Admission is free, as well as the parking. Find the West Bottoms underneath the monumental 12th Street Bridge, the oldest standing bridge in the city.

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01 Dec 2015

By Kim Montague