Ask a Kansas Citian where Midtown is, and you’ll hear a pretty wide swath of responses.
Oleha Verlander, who lives in South Waldo, submitted a curiousKC question asking us to narrow it down. “Where/what exactly is considered Midtown,” she asked.
So curiousKC spent an afternoon crisscrossing the city to ask others that same question. We heard everything from, “Around Union Station,” (nope, that’s downtown) to “the Crossroads Arts District,” (nope, still downtown).
So where, exactly, is Midtown?
While the term midtown is generally defined as the middle section of a city, the Kansas City government marks our Midtown’s official modern-day borders from 31st to 55th streets from north to south, and from State Line Road to The Paseo for its east-west outline. That contains around 7 square miles.
The boundaries of Midtown have moved over time and with the sprawl of Kansas City. In 1977 — the earliest we could find Midtown on a map — marked the southern line at 47th Street, which is eight blocks shorter than it is today.
If Midtown were a person, its heart would be Westport, or perhaps 39th Street would argue it’s a beating hub. The greenery of Jacob L. Loose Park would be the left foot, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art the cultured left foot. The right knee would be Midtown’s inside-out mall, better known as the Country Club Plaza. The left shoulder — Martini Corner, and so on.
The anatomy of Midtown aside, there are more than 45,000 people who live in one of Midtown’s 22 neighborhoods.
A famous Midtowner? Painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton lived in Roanoke until his death in 1975. His home is now a historic landmark.
We gave you the official numbers, but watch the video above to hear where Kansas Citians mark the boundaries, and thanks, Oleha Verlander, for your question. Midtown, downtown or out of town, if there’s something you’d like us to investigate, ask us.
Got a question about Kansas City, the region or the people who live here? Anything you’ve always wondered about, found peculiar or downright confusing? Share your questions with KCPT’s curiousKC
— Ryan Hennessy is a research assistant at Flatland. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story has been updated to answer a follow-up curiousKC question and correct the spelling of Oleha Verlander’s first name.