Economic Boom, Depression, and Recovery

Fueled by the continued growth of industries, especially the railroads, stockyards, and garment district, Kansas City’s population and economy exploded from 163,000 in 1900 to over 399,000 by 1930. The effects of the Great Depression, however, arrested further growth until the U.S. entry into World War II sparked a new industrial expansion on the home front. Learn more about Kansas Citians’ experience of the economic conditions of the Roaring Twenties and Great Depression.

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There are world records for nearly everything, including cattle processing. And in September 1918, Kansas City broke them all. As World War I entered its final fateful months, the Kansas City stockyards handled more than 55,000 cattle in a single day and 475,000 for the month.  That fall, during a remarkable three-month span, more than 1.3 million cattle passed through the city’s yards. The Kansas City cattle business was impressive, but add to these figures hundreds of thousands of sheep, hogs, and horses, and more than 3.3 million animals were yarded in the city. First seven, then 12, then 34 railroads brought these animals into the city and out again to distant markets.