Economic Boom, Depression, and Recovery

Fueled by the continued growth of industries, especially the railroads, stockyards, and garment district, Kansas City’s population and economy exploded from 163,000 in 1900 to over 399,000 by 1930. The effects of the Great Depression, however, arrested further growth until the U.S. entry into World War II sparked a new industrial expansion on the home front. Learn more about Kansas Citians’ experience of the economic conditions of the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression.

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Kansas City, like other American cities, added new suburban-style developments at its edges during the early decades of the 20th century. What makes it a unique case for understanding this shift is the character of Jesse Clyde (J.C.) Nichols. Born in Olathe, Kansas, in 1880, Nichols had a career that spanned the first half of the 20th century, and included transforming thousands of acres of land into a planned suburban community.