Taste & See KC: The history of Troost Avenue

Posted at 3:31 PM, Jan 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 13:19:38-05

Troost Avenue is a major street that runs north to south in Kansas City, Missouri.

It’s 10.7 miles long and runs from 4th Street to Bannister Road.

The street is named after Dr. Benoist Troost. He was born in Holland and served as a surgeon to Napoleon's regiments. 

Troost moved to the United States in 1815. He lived in Pittsburgh and St. Louis before he settled in Independence, Missouri in 1844. 

He’s considered the first physician to live in Kansas City.

Development of Troost Avenue began in 1834 near 31st Street, according to a 1998 article in Pitch Weekly. The street continued to develop into the 1900s, bringing movie theaters, apartments, retail stores and more. 

Historically, Troost Avenue has been a racial dividing line in Kansas City. 

In "Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011," James Shortridge wrote African-Americans began buying homes in the area east of Troost Avenue in the early 1900s. It's unclear why, but Shortridge says dropping home prices and good public transportation may have been factors. 

Another factor could be school district boundaries. The Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954. UMKC's Whitney Terrell said after the decision, a local school board drew the school district boundaries at Troost Ave. in order to keep a white-only school. 

Troost Avenue was a popular commercial district into the 1960s, but after that store owners started to leave the area. 

In recent years, the city and groups have worked to bring new developments to east of Troost Avenue 

Watch the video for more on the history of Troost Ave. 

See more from Taste & See KC: 

History behind Linwood Boulevard

History behind Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard

Armour Blvd honors man who helped KC grow



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