Why did the area of 18th and Vine become famous?
All Library locations will be closed on Monday, September 7th in observance of Labor Day.
Located just east of downtown, this historic area includes a number of city blocks surrounding the intersection of 18th and Vine Streets. African-American Kansas Citians began settling in this area in the late 1800s, and by the 1920s the 18th and Vine District was a thriving commercial, residential, and entertainment center. From shopping for clothes and food to visiting a doctor or lawyer, it has been said that one could find anything and everything near 18th and Vine.
During the Prohibition era, when Kansas City was under the control of political boss Tom Pendergast, the 18th and Vine area also became known for its rollicking nightlife, personified by the music that accompanied it: Kansas City jazz. From the nightclubs in the district could be heard the sounds of players who would become legends, such as Bennie Moten, Big Joe Turner, George and Julia Lee, Count Basie, and Charlie “Bird” Parker.
For more information search the Local History Index.
Librarian Dan Coleman
Next FAQ >> 10. Is the Kansas City Stock Yards still open and operating?
<< Return to all Kansas City FAQs.