Kansas City, MO

The historic West Bottoms is revived, and more renovations and additions are in the works

CJ Coombs

Bella Patina (pictured above) is located at 1320 W. 12th St. in the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Missouri. It was one of the first stores of vintage and antique items to open in the historic vintage district.

What makes the West Bottoms so special?

The main answer is that it used to be a stockyard and livestock exchange. The even larger answer is there’s a lot of history there.  When you visit this area, you see historic buildings and today, you can shop there. When you have a historic area in your community, you don't tear it down, you build it up so it's alive again.

The West Bottoms is near the border of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. It's an area worth celebrating because of its history. Most of the historic buildings from the early 1900s have been converted into shops, galleries, restaurants, antique shops, or offices.

Before Union Station was built, the Union Depot was located in the West Bottoms. What used to be the Kemper Arena housed the annual American Royal livestock show. If you weren't born until the 1980s, you may not know that the 1976 Republican National Convention was at Kemper Arena too.

In the early 1900s, there were many immigrants in the area working in meat packing houses. The historic neighborhood of Strawberry Hill was founded by Slavic immigrants, and a lot of the workers from the West Bottoms lived there. And those who can, recall the effects of flooding in the low-lying areas.

During the first weekend of each month, shoppers make their way to the West Bottoms. It's also known as First Friday Weekends and shops are open from Friday through Sunday, and some only on Friday and Saturday. In a way, it's similar to First Fridays occurring in the Crossroads District. The antique sellers are open for business.

Besides Bella Patina, other stores to check out are Rustic Vintage Rose in the old John Deere building and Good Ju Ju. Again, some stores are open only on the first weekend of the month.

The West Bottoms has a website dedicated to providing you information about the antique and vintage shops. It also lists the restaurants like the Ox Cafe and Bakery located in the old Livestock Exchange Building. Maybe you want to check out the West Bottoms Whiskey Co. Whatever appeals to you, visit the West Bottoms website and make a plan.

When visiting the West Bottoms, note the architecture on the old buildings. Remember, you're walking through history. Below are some of the historic buildings that were restored and are serving a purpose again:

In January 2023, real estate and development firm, SomeraRoad published, SomeraRoad hires local leader for $500M Kansas City development and other area office properties. This article is associated with the West Bottoms. Visit here to read about what's going on.

According to Flatland, as it reported in December 2022, "SomeraRoad won rezoning last summer for the 26-acre project, the largest investment in the West Bottoms in many years. The redevelopment calls for the renovation of historic structures and the construction of new buildings in five phases through 2035."

As for existing tenants of existing buildings, maybe they have cause to be concerned with this redevelopment project. Bringing more vitality to the area is good news, but protecting what's been working there for many including visitors is important too.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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