The History and Future of the West Bottoms
Published: November 13, 2013
Original presentation by Darby Trotter, PhD, CEO of Kansas City River Trails, Inc.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tucked into the floodplain at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers is an area chock full of Kansas City history. The West Bottoms was the heartbeat of Kansas City expansion, being at times the center of river commerce, a railroad hub and the nexus of the Great Plains livestock industry. Today’s West Bottoms is an industrial center peppered with clubs, antique stores, art galleries and haunted houses, at times neglected and at other times full of promise.
H. Darby Trotter, PhD, retired from his 30 year career as a psychologist in 1998 to begin new work in strategic planning and community development. As Vice President of Community Affairs at Faultless Starch/Bon Ami, he focused his energies on the redevelopment of the 6 industrial districts surrounding downtown Kansas City, including the West Bottoms area. He served as President and CEO of Kansas City River Trails and President of the Kansas City Industrial Council successfully raising funds for infrastructure improvement, environmental mitigation, blight removal, and economic development. A history buff, Darby has been involved in uncovering the often buried heritage of the City by building appropriate historic public art along the Riverfront Heritage Trail. For example, he has been responsible for the construction of art in pocket parks commemorating Inca styled Pyramids, Lewis & Clark Canoes, a memorial to the contributions of the railroad, and art devoted to Slaves risking everything during their exodus to the free state of Kansas.
The Big Muddy Speakers Series in Kansas City
was hosted by Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, Little Blue River Watershed Coalition, Missouri River Relief, Friends of Big Muddy and Healthy Rivers Partnership with the following list of partners. All speakers are presenting for free. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us!
The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.
Resources and Links
- Homepage for Kansas City River Trails, Inc.
- “Understanding the True Character of the West Bottoms” by Darby Trotter (pdf)
- AUDIO – “What Should the West Bottoms Look Like” – KCUR, KC Currents, 10-30-13
- “Bottoms Up” – a history of the West Bottoms, Kansas City Public Library
- “Walking the West Bottoms”
- “Reframing the City – West Bottoms” – Kansas City Design Center – a plan for urban renewal
- “Reviving the City’s Forgotten Urban Center” – thisbigcity.net
- “Missouri and Kansas Rivers Roll By Mostly Unnoticed, but River Lovers have a plan to Change That” – Kansas City Star Magazine – 7-4-09