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A Brief History of Westport

The four historic trails of the National Trail system (California, Lewis & Clark, Oregon and Santa Fe) were all located in Kansas City. Which made it an ideal location for outfitting the early pioneers before they made the journey west with every thing they would need: foodstuffs, wagons, animals and other provisions. Westport became rather prosperous by outfitting, which in turn drew people to the area. Eventually the two towns of Kansas and Westport grew into Kansas City.

Reverend Isaac McCoy moved to Westport with his wife Christiana and their family in 1831. He originally came as a Missionary to the Native Americans. His son John Calvin McCoy would be the founder of Westport as well as one of 14 founders of Kansas City.

Founders Statue

By 1833 John McCoy had built a two-story log building on the northeast corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania to serve as a business structure and residence. After purchasing land, McCoy platted the town in 1834 and called it Westport. The name likely denoted it as a port of entry to the largely unknown west.

In May 1834, a post office was established as West Port (two words), and John Calvin McCoy was appointed Postmaster. McCoy filed his town plat at the courthouse in Independence on February 13, 1835. Westport was incorporated on February 12, 1857. Lot #1, Block One, of McCoy's plat is the northeast corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania. This historic site can truly be said to be the birthplace of Kansas City.

All three of the western trails - the California, the Oregon and the Santa Fe passed through the town on present day Westport Road. Prior to the Civil War, Westport prospered as the eastern portal of the western trails. The population probably peaked in 1858 at about 2,000. After the Civil War, Kansas City, which was platted in 1839 by McCoy, became the dominant community and Westport declined. It was annexed to Kansas City in 1897, but a court challenge to the annexation was not settled by the Missouri Supreme Court until 1899.

Today as a part of Kansas City, Westport still retains its own identity. The historical legacy of Old Westport remains with us. Very little original frontier village is left, but the heritage and history of this community shall be preserved.