I can’t think of another piece of landscape of similar size where so many things have happened that have been of significance in the story of America.
— David McCullough Pulitzer Prize winning historian and Harry S Truman biographer

From the JCHS Executive Director

Executive Director Blog

Jackson County Historical Society welcomes Caitlin Eckard to our staff filling a full-time position as operations manager and responsible for overseeing the JCHS Archives. 

Caitlin will join the JCHS staff on Sept. 1.

Eckard has an extensive background with regional historical organizations and has an undergraduate degree in history and masters in public history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

She has worked with the Johnson County (KS) County Museum and most recently worked for the American Truck Historical Society.

Her experiences include arranging exhibits, educational programming, digitization, historical sites and working in archives.

JCHS Administrative Offices


Featured Article

New JCHS Journal Available Online

The Summer 2015 JCHS Journal is now available online.

We share this in support of our educational mission and hope you will consider supporting our organization.

JCHS finds 1947 Santa Cali Gon video

The Jackson County Historical Society recently posted a 1947 home video made of the the second-ever Santa Cali Gon festival held.

The Independence community festival celebrates the community's role in outfitting those leaving for the West along the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails.

The video was featured in a story in The Examiner and there is more information on Santa Cali Gon our website including a copy of the 1940 program for the first festival.

The 17-minute video is being edited by local filmmaker Jefferson to promote this year's festival held over Labor Day.

Check out our Santa Cali Gon page.

JCHS recognizes award winners at  annual dinner

The Jackson County Historical Society recognized several individuals and organizations for their contributions to local history at its upcoming annual dinner.

The 2014 award winners are:

  • Historic Preservation Award: Historic Kansas City Foundation for 40 Years of Advocacy for our Built Environment
  • Bringing History to Life Award: R. Crosby Kemper III and Henry Fortunato for their roles in the Kansas City Library’s “Meet the Past” interview series
  • Local Group Making a Difference Award: The Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC)
  • Local History Book of the Year Award: Bruce Mathews for Windows of Kansas City
  • Collaboration in History Award: Ed Matheny Jr. for publication of Cowtown: Cattle Trails and West Bottom Tales in partnership with Mid-Continent Public Library
  • Volunteers of the Year Award: Paul White, Archives and Research Library and Timothy Truman, 1859 Jail Museum.

See a list of prior award winners.

JCHS News and Updates

News items
The Legacy of Walt Disney - A Story With Kansas City Roots

A new highly-regarded documentary on the life of Walt Disney is garnering new interest in the life of the well-known animator whose early career started in Kansas City. 

The two-part series on the PBS show American Experience shares how Walt Disney rose to cultural prominence through animation and his creation of Disneyland. Watch chapter one.

We recounted Disney's early career in a recent JCHS Journal article by Ron Green titled "The Roots of Animation in Kansas City."  

We also shared additional content including Disney-related locations in Kansas City and information about some of his Kansas City collaborators who helped build the Disney.

Two downtown Kansas City properties nominated for the National Register of Historic Places

Two downtown Kansas City businesses are being considered for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The nominations are Commerce Trust Company Historic District, bounded by East 9th St., Walnut St., East 10th St. and Main St. and also the Ten Main Center, 910-920 Main St. which is just across the street.

Frank Adams, a fourth generation Jackson County farmer, died Aug. 7th at age 91. He died at his home, on land that had been in his family since 1844.  

Adams was active in many historical organizations including the Jackson County Historical Society. He was also on many civic board including the Fort Osage School Board and chair of the Jackson County Planning Commission.

Adams was proud to be a  fourth generation descendant of Lynchburg Adams, first (in 1819) permanent settler to come to Jackson County, and who was sixteen years old at that time.  Lynchburg lost his first farm in Flood of 1844, then relocated to higher ground one mile south, which was later home to Frank and his wife Janann, who preceded him.

JCHS Journal index of nearly 1,000 articles available online

The Jackson County Historical Society has been publishing a local history journal since 1958. That's a lot of local history.

We recently posted a downloadable index listing every JCHS Journal article published from 1958 to 2009 which contains nearly 1,000 entries. The Excel file is searchable and is highly indexed.

Funds approved for State Historical Society building

The State Historical Society of Missouri should get a new $35 million headquarters in downtown Columbia, Mo. based on state funding approved by the Missouri General Assembly.

Preliminary plans for the new building are for a 125,000 to 150,000 square feet building including a 100- to 125-seat auditorium. The bill still requires approval by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.


Two KC sites nominated for the National Register

Two Kansas City buildings are being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places.

Nominated are the The Fairfax Building, 101 W. 11th St., and the Interstate Bakeries Corporation Headquarters Building, 12 E. Armour Blvd.

Missouri bicentennial focus group plans Kansas City session

The State Historical Society of Missouri is spearheading plans for commemorating the 200th anniversary of Missouri's statehood in 2021 and looking for ideas.

To that end, a Bicentennial Focus Group will be held in Kansas City area on Thurs, April 9th from 2-4 pm at the Midwest Genealogy Center located at 3440 S. Lee's Summit Rd., Independence, MO 64055.

Death on Pleasant Street: A Tale of Murder and Intrigue

The Swope Mansion murders remain one of the most intriguing local history tales in the Kansas City region.

The story is recounted in a book "Death on Pleasant Street: The Ghastly Enigma of Colonel Swope and Doctor Hyde" which is being read by a local book club.

KC Livestock history given to JCHS

Rich archival materials about the Kansas City Livestock Exchange have been given to the Jackson County Historical Society Archives at year's end.

The materials received included minutes from the Livestock Exchange's Board of Directors meetings  from 1886 to 1957 and three gorgeous volumes of photographs of exchange members - all men - totaling 282 portraits.

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