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Unit 13: Growth of the Cities

Explore our State's Urban Centers

Listed below are possible research or discussion topics, online lesson plans, resources and other materials.  As you look through this list please consider that this series can work for grades 4-12, with an emphasis on 7th grade. Also consider that the series will be used with different purposes for different grade levels. This is by no means a complete list of resources, and we cannot guarantee the life span and quality of the web site addresses.

Watch video via YouTube  |  Transcript 

Possible Research Topics

  • St. Louis
  • Kansas City
  • Wainwright Building
  • The World's First Sky Scraper
  • Louis Sullivan
  • Architecture
  • St. Louis Arch
  • James Eads
  • Railroad effects on commerce
  • Mississippi River 
  • Kansas City Stockyards
  • L.V. Morse
  • James Joy
  • City Market, Kansas City
  • Economic Supply and Demand
  • J.C. Nichols
  • George Kessler
  • Kansas City Country Club Plaza
  • Park and Boulevard System 


This website offers up an interesting surrogate. These digital Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Kansas City are provided as a public service by the Kansas City Public Library, and they consist of over 1,200 individual pages. The site includes a historical essay on the maps, a tutorial for guidance, and resources for students and teachers.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City has created this rather novel online exhibit that explores the world of Kansas City before the creation of this educational institution. The interactive map portion of the site features the map, complete with postcards that illustrate various aspects of the city's development during the early 20th century. Visitors can click on a postcard of the city's beautiful Paseo Boulevard, the stock yards, and Swope Park. Along the way, users will learn about local history, urban transportation, and the "City Beautiful" movement.


  • JC Nichols and the Shaping of Kansas City
    Worley, William
    University of Missouri Press
    Columbia, Mo.
  • A Legacy of Design: A Historical Survey of the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Boulevards System, 1893-1940
    Lee, Janice; Boutros, David; White, Charlotte R.; Wolfenbarger, Deon; editors
    Kansas City Center for Design Education and Research in cooperation with the Western Historical Manuscripts Collection 
    Kansas City, Mo.
  • St. Louis Lost: Uncovering the City’s Lost Architectural Treasures
    Bartley, Mary
    Virginia Publishing
    St. Louis, Mo.
  • What About Kansas City: A Historical Handbook
    DeAngelo, Dory
    Two Lane Press
    Kansas City, Mo.
  • The Eads Bridge
    Scott, Quinta
    University of Missouri Press
    Columbia, Mo.