The western portion of downtown includes Case Park and the Garment District. Case Park is a National Historic Trail site and it overlooks the West Bottoms. To the east of Case Park is the Quality Hill Center Historic District and the Wholesale Historic District (Garment District).
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Ermine Case, Jr., Park (N39⁰6’11” W94⁰35’34”) is 2 acres and part of the 31-acre West Terrace Park. The park extends from 7th Street south to 11th Street, west of Pennsylvania Avenue, Jefferson Street, and Summit Street. The traffic circle and overlook at 8th Street and Jefferson Street is known as Clark’s Point. This is one of only a handful of locations along the lower Missouri River that can be documented as a place that Lewis and Clark stood. They climbed this bluff in 1806 on the return journey and noted that it would be a good place to build a fort. They also gathered pawpaw fruits here. In 1804, on the western journey, they saw an immense flock of Carolina parakeets near here. In the center of the traffic circle is the Corps of Discovery statue by Eugene Daub, depicting William Clark, Meriwether Lewis, York, Sacagawea, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (her baby), and Seaman (Lewis’ dog). The statue contains an inscription, “of courage undaunted and a fidelity to truth,” along with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “I could have no hesitation in confiding the enterprise to him.” A rock wall at Clark’s point was constructed by the Works Progress Administration in 1941.
Also at Clark’s Point are markers erected by the Chouteau Society, describing the French settlement and heritage of the area. The Missouri River from St. Louis to north of Kansas City was initially mapped by Etienne Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont, in 1713. He noted the low range of hills on the south side of the river near the confluence with the Kansas River. In 1724, Bourgmont visited a Kansa village site near present-day Fort Leavenworth and also journeyed toward Santa Fe. In 1742, Verendryes explored the Missouri River to near its headwaters in Montana. Fort de Cavagnial (1744 to 1764) was a French trading post at the village of the Kansa. Le Page du Pratz published a 1758 map and narrative which described the river, and Indians told the French of the Great Salt Lake, Bitterroot Mountains, and the Snake and Columbia Rivers. The Kansa later moved to the mouth of the Kansas River, and Francois Choteau set up a trading post, Chez Les Canses, at what was called Kawsmouth. Because news of the Louisiana purchase from France may not have reached throughout the Louisiana territory, Lewis carried a French passport.
At 10th and Jefferson Street within the park is a Choteau Society marker describing Chez Les Canses, or Chouteauville settlement. In 1799, French-speaking traders and farmers moved from the French Colonial area of present-day Illinois to the present-day Kansas City area. One settlement was at Randolph Bluffs, near the Missouri River confluence with Rock Creek (Chouteau Bridge-State Route 210 area) on the north side of the Missouri River, and a second was at French Bottoms, now called the West Bottoms. The West Bottoms settlement was French speaking until at least 1840; and consisted of strip farms on either side of Turkey Creek. The community was served by a French Catholic church of St. Francis Regis near the present-day intersection of 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The settlement was eradicated by the flood of 1844.
Within Case Park is the James Pendergast Memorial statue, erected in 1913 in Mulkey Square Park and moved later to this location. It is surrounded by picnic tables. The monument was erected by his younger brother, Thomas Pendergast, who ran county politics at the time. It overlooks the West Bottoms, where he operated a saloon and began the Pendergast political machine.
A plaque by the Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project was located in the park until 2020, when it was vandalized. The historic marker memorialized the 1882 lynching of Levi Harrington by a mob of several hundred white people in Kansas City, for the crime of shooting a police officer. The next day another man was arrested for the killing. No one was held accountable for the lynching.
Case Park includes the off-leash West Terrace Dog Park at the north end. Adjacent to the dog park near the corner of 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue is a sculpture by Stacey Sharpe, called Air Play. Near 10th Street is a playground, including a structure called the Bamboo Jungle. West Terrace Park from 7th Street south to 17th Street was part of the original George Kessler 1906 Parks and Boulevard System plan. Case Park is crossed by the Riverfront Heritage Trail, which enters the park at 9th and Jefferson Streets and leaves at 10th and Summit Streets. The park adjoins the Quality Hill Historic District and Quality Hill Center Historic District.
Riverfront Heritage Trail is a 15-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Berkley Riverfront Park of Port KC (N39⁰7’5” W94⁰34’20”), City Market (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰34’57”), Westside (N39⁰5’15” W94⁰35’34”), Huron Park in Kansas City Kansas (N39⁰6’51” W94⁰37’31”), and the West Bottoms (N39⁰6’35” W94⁰36’50”). The trail continues in Kansas City, Kansas, as Jersey Creek Trail from 5th Street (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰37’18”) west to Westheight Park (N39⁰7’24” W94⁰39’41”). The trail is managed by Kansas City River Trails, Inc. (kcrivertrails.org). The trail passes through the Wholesale District Historic District and Quality Hill Center Historic District on 9th Street and Quality Hill Historic District on Pennsylvania Avenue and Washington Street. It passes adjacent to the West Bottoms-North Historic District.
Quality Hill Center Historic District
Quality Hill Center Historic District (N39o6’15” W94o35’30”) includes 4 apartment buildings on Jefferson and Pennsylvania Avenues between 8th and 10th Streets, dating to 1951 (817, 905, and 929 Jefferson Street, Quality Hill Towers) and 1958 (910 Pennsylvania Avenue). The apartments are typical of Modern Movement architecture. Three parking lots are considered contributing structures. The apartments were constructed as the first urban renewal project in Kansas City, under urban renewal legislation passed by the state and local government. The district adjoins the Quality Hill Historic District to the south of 10th Street. The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the historic district on 9th Street. Adjacent to the Historic District are the separately listed Pennbrooke Apartments, 604 West 10th Street at Pennsylvania Avenue (N39o6’10” W94o35’29”), which date to 1926. By the 1920s, Quality Hill was declining as people were moving out of the area downwind of the packinghouses and railroad yards. Architect Nelle Peters was commissioned to design this three-story, brown brick building for working class and middle-income dwellers as part of an attempt to revitalize the neighborhood. Ermine Case Jr. Park adjoins the historic district to the west.
Wholesale District (Garment District) Historic District includes 61 buildings in the vicinity of Broadway Boulevard at 7th and 8th Streets. It was a center of manufacturing for clothing, pharmaceuticals, furniture, printing, and hats between 1874 and 1931. After World War I, Kansas City became a national textile manufacturing center. The upper floors of buildings on Broadway were used for sewing space, with the garment industry centered on 8th and Broadway. Buildings on 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Streets, Bank Street, Broadway Boulevard, Central Street, and May Street are in the historic district.
Buildings that may be observed on 7th Street include McPike Drug Company Building at 306 and 312 West 7th Street (West, 1904; East, 1917). The Kansas City Paper House at 318 West 7th Street is now the West 7th Street Lofts. At 7th Street and May adjacent to the historic district is the Roaster’s Block barking lot, a small off-leash area.
On 8th Street are:
- Phoenix Hotel, 300 West 8th Street, dating to 1888, a Neo-Romanesque building, operating as the Phoenix Restaurant
- Exchange Hotel, 301 West 8th Street, dating to 1889
- Armour and Volker Building, 306 West 8th Street, dating to 1902, a Second Renaissance Revival building now operating as the Soho Lofts
- Lewis Printing Company, 307 West 8th Street, dating to 1930
- Burnham-Hanna-Munger Manufacturing Company Building, 313 West 8th Street, dating to 1903, which is a monumental Commercial/Second Renaissance Revival style building, now Lucas Place
- Bond Shoe Company, 312 West 8th Street at May Street, a Second Renaissance Revival building dating to 1899
- Noyes-Norman Shoe Company, 412 West 8th Street at Bank Street, dating to 1907
- Barton Brothers Shoe Company, 423 West 8th Street, dating to 1900
- Garment District Place (N39⁰6’17” W94⁰35’24”) is a ¾-acre park on West 8th Street between Washington Street and Broadway, within the boundaries of the historic district. The park contains benches, picnic tables, and bicycle rental, along with a grove of honey locust trees. The Needle Sculpture in the park is in memory of the wholesale textile and garment industry that flourished in this area. Just to the south of the park at the corner of Broadway and 8th Street is a branch of the Kansas City Museum, and across Broadway at the corner of 8th Street is the Historic Garment District Museum.
On 9th Street are the building at 408 West 9th Street, an Italianate Building dating to 1889, now the Los Corrals Restaurant; and Easter Brothers Restaurant, 418 West 9th Street, dating to 1901, now the Peanut Downtown Restaurant. At the northeast corner of Broadway at 9th Street is the Descent of Civilization sculpture (Bison Memorial). This serves as a memorial to the great herds of plains buffalo, a reminder of what was compromised in the development of our great nation and is now lost from the landscape, according to Marc Swanson, the artist. The memorial includes a quote from William T. Hornaday, zoologist (1854-1937), “the primary cause of the buffalo’s extermination, and the one which embraced all others, was the descent of civilization, with all its elements of destructiveness, upon the whole of the country inhabited by the animal.” The Riverfront Heritage Trail passes through the district along West 9th Street.
On 10th Street is the Adler Building, 314 West 10th Street, a Neo-Classic Revival building dating to 1908; and the Missouri Interstate Paper Company Building, 412 West 10th Street, dating to 1909.
On Broadway Boulevard are:
- Montgomery Ward Company Building, 626 Broadway, dating to 1902, now the Mid-America Regional Council offices
- Reicher and Sons, Robinson and Sons Building, 628 Broadway, dating to 1904, now Mid-Amerida Regional Council offices
- Maxwell-McClure Notions Company, 704 Broadway, dating to 1900
- J. Roe Hat Company, 708 Broadway, dating to 1902
- Faxon, Horton, and Gallagher Company, 712 Broadway, dating to 1903, is a Second Renaissance Revival Style building, now the Popham Law Firm
- Harvey-Dutton Dry Goods Company, 800 Broadway, dating to 1903, now the Kansas City Museum annex.
- Burnham-Hanna-Munger Dry Goods Building, 801 Broadway, dating to 1901, which is a monumental Commercial/Second Renaissance Revival style building, now the Historic Garment District Museum
- Butler Brothers Company, 804 Broadway, dating to 1909, now Butler Brothers Lofts
- Goldstandt-Powell Hat Company, 806 Broadway, dating to 1902
- Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Gulf Railroad Building, 816 Broadway, a Victorian Eclectic Style building dating to 1889
- Gatlin Building, 819 Broadway, a Second Renaissance Revival style building dating to 1910
- Thayer Building, 820 Broadway, a Victorian Eclectic Style Building dating to 1883, now the Crossroads Preparatory Academy
- Liebstradter Millinery Company Building, 905 Broadway, dates to 1902 and is now the Mulberry Lofts
- Adler and Company and Kelly-Williams Company Building, 908 Broadway, dates to 1903.
- Jay and King Hat Company Building, 909 Broadway, dates to 1904
- Hershberger and Rosenthal Company Building, 915 Broadway, dates to 1909.
- George P. Ide and Company, Inc., 920 Broadway, is now the Jewell Lofts, named after the builder
- Rothenberg and Schloss Building, 930 Broadway, dates to 1912 and is now the Opera House Lofts.
- Fitzpatrick Saloon Building, 931 Broadway, dates to 1911 and operates as the Majestic Restaurant.
- Frankel, Frank & Company Building, 1000 Broadway, dates to 1905. It contains the Garment House on Broadway and the Broadway Bistro.
- Lorraine Apartments, 1012 Broadway, is a Georgian Revival building dating to 1901 (vacant, 2021).
- Estill Hotel, 1018 Broadway, is a Georgian Revival building dating to 1897 (vacant, 2021).
On Central Street are:
- Commercial Building, 600 Central, dating to 1909
- Barton Brothers Shoe Company, 609 Central, dating to 1895, Second Renaissance Revival style
- Burnham-Munger Manufacturing Company, 612 Central, dating to 1892
- Builders and Traders Exchange, 616 Central, dating to 1889, a rare surviving example of High Victorian Italianate architecture
On May Street is Burd and Fletcher Company, 701 May Street, dating to 1916; Lechtman Printing Company, 715 May Street, dating to 1915.
Coates House Hotel, 1005 Broadway Boulevard at 10th Street (N39o6’8” W94o35’17”), dates to 1886, is separately listed on the NRHP, and is adjacent to the Wholesale District. The hotel is an example of a late 19th century luxurious urban hotel. The original hotel on the site was built in the 1860s, on the foundation of an 1861 federal fort. The hotel was named after Kersey Coates, a Pennsylvania quaker who moved to Kansas City in 1854. The 1886 hotel was an early project of the architect Henry Van Brunt, who moved to Kansas City from Boston to open a practice. The hotel was visited by President Grover Cleveland in 1887 and Benjamin Harrison in 1890. In 1912, the first meeting of the Sertoma International (Co-Operative Club) was held. It is now the Quality Hill leasing office.