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Delaware Avenue
Delaware Avenue
TitleDelaware Avenue
DescriptionPostcard of Delaware Avenue
Historical ArticleDelaware is one of Kansas City's oldest thoroughfares. Just after the Platte Purchase in 1873, when many were eager to cross the Missouri River to see and take up land in the former Indian country (Platte County), Pierre Roi built a narrow crooked road to his flat-boat ferry landing on the river, part of which later became Delaware.

The road started at the forest (now about Truman and Walnut) angled down toward what became the old Junction (9th and Main) and then followed a rough ravine northward.The road crossed the market square diagonallly and ended at Pierre's landing. (now about 3rd and Grand.)

During the administration of Mayor Milton J. Payne (1855-1860) Delaware was one of the first five streets to be graded through the steep hillsides from the river. Main, Broadway, Wyandotte and Market (Grand) were the other four. The Herculean task of cutting through a rugged rocky terrain was accomplished after the edge of the bluff was cut away and the levee paved for a quarter of a mile along the river. In places, cuts made for streets were as much as 80 feet deep.

Indian names were not popular with the pioneer settlers, and only two early Kansas City streets received Indian names, Wyandotte for the Indians just across the Kaw, and Delaware for the Indians whose reservation was farther west.

The post card, photographed in the early 1900s, shows Delaware north from 8th, with street car tracks and considerable horse and buggy traffic.

Whitney's history says Delaware from 6th to 9th was filled about 15 feet. The complete change in topography shows the achievements of early builders and the labor that must have gone on with the pick, shovel and horse grading equipment.

Today the scene is again changed. Many of the buildings in the background on the old post card were removed to make way for the 6th Street Expressway.

A recent revival of interest in the old town has brought new life to the area between the expressway and the river. Old buildings are being overhauled, a merchant's association formed and 21 new enterprises are now open in an area designated as River Quay.

Kansas City Times
August 18, 1972

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectStreets
Delaware Avenue
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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