A hallmark of the Crossroads has been thoughtful and organic development. What was once a handful of artist studios and galleries has now blossomed into a cultural mecca for creative arts, tech innovation and destination dining.
Amidst former abandoned warehouses and historic buildings on Kansas City’s famous Film Row, one now finds cutting edge entrepreneurial ventures, contemporary office spaces and modern event venues.
In the 1930’s, Hollywood had a strong connection to Kansas City; when the movie industry needed more centralized distribution points to ship their features nationwide, Hollywood chose Kansas City as one of its largest and Film Row was born. The industrial enclave occupied nearly twenty buildings in a four square block area of the Crossroads District near downtown. Film Row included major studio tenants such as MGM, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount and United Artists. It also housed peripheral suppliers to the industry, notably the Manley Popcorn Company. Today, Kansas City has one of the most intact Film Row districts in the nation.
Before it was called the Crossroads, the area was considered part of “Midtown” or sometimes just “the area between Downtown and Crown Center.” When galleries arrived in the 1980s, the name Crossroads Arts District had already taken hold and became formalized with a new neighborhood association in 2001.
Major milestones in the history of the Crossroads
- 1985 || Leedy-Voulkos Gallery opens
- 1995 || First Fridays begin
- 1998 || Freight House renovation completed
- 1999 || Union Station reopens
- 2001 || Crossroads Community Association formed
- 2003 || Renovated buildings bring influx of residents
- 2012 || Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opens
- 2014 || KC Streetcar construction begins
- UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance relocates
- KC Streetcar starts carrying its first passengers (early 2016)