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Kansas City offers a wealth of attractions. The striking landscape includes wide boulevards, beautiful parks, fantastic architecture and more than 200 fountains. In fact, the city is known as the City of Fountains and has more fountains than any other city in the world, except maybe Rome. The city's other diversions include world-class museums, a vibrant arts scene, superb shopping and great blues and jazz clubs.
Kansas City is forged by a rich history. The city was founded on the banks of the Missouri River and formally incorporated in 1850.
Kansas City is world renowned for its rich jazz and blues legacy. While jazz began in the 1920s with a bang, it flourished in the 1930s, mainly as a result of political boss Tom Pendergast. During prohibition, he allowed alcohol to flow in Kansas City. As an entertainment center, Kansas City had no equal during these dry times.
This "wide-open" town image attracted displaced musicians from everywhere in mid-America. Throughout the Depression, Kansas City bands continued to play while other bands across the nation folded. The city was shielded from the worst of the Depression due to an early form of New Deal-style public works projects that provided jobs, and affluence, that kept the dance-oriented nightlife in town swinging.
Only in Kansas City did jazz continue to flourish. At one time, there were more than 100 night clubs, dance halls and vaudeville houses in Kansas City regularly featuring jazz music. Legends like Count Basie, Andy Kirk, Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page and Jay McShann all played in Kansas City. A saxophone player named Charlie Parker began his ascent to fame here in his hometown in the 1930s.
Kansas City's 12th Street became nationally known for its jazz clubs, gambling parlors and brothels, earning the city the moniker, "The Paris of the Plains." At its height, 12th Street was home to more than 50 jazz clubs. Just six blocks to the north, jazz also flourished at 18th & Vine, which became nationally respected as the epicenter of the city's African-American community. Kansas City's jazz heritage continues today in clubs and events held throughout the city. More than 20 area nightclubs feature jazz on a regular basis.
Cool jazz mixes well with spicy and smoky Kansas City barbeque. The legend that is Kansas City barbecue began in the early 1900s in an old trolley barn. His name was Henry Perry who created an aroma that attracted daily crowds to the back of the barn, where he slow-smoked ribs and sold them, wrapped in newspaper, for 25-cents a slab.
Kansas Citians couldn't get enough of it. Currently there are nearly 100 barbecue joints smoking in Kansas City, there is a melding of flavors and styles from across the country that result in award-winning, mouth-watering, tummy-stuffing flavors that defy conventional adjectives.