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Kansas City in Jackson County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Kansas City's Old Square / Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City

 
 
Kansas City's Old Square Marker (Side A) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
1. Kansas City's Old Square Marker (Side A)
Inscription.

(Side A)
Like New Orleans' "Vieux Carre," Kansas City's old market square and its surrounding Old Town streets in River Quay are oriented on the bias to the river in the Old World fashion, rather than on the strict east-west Yankee survey. That is because when Francois Chouteau, the French-speaking founder of what is now Kansas City, first laid out his trading post and adjoining trails in 1821, the Missouri river was his superhighway to St. Louis and to the Northwest hinterland. The scatered French settlers who first permanently occupied Kansas City, around 1799, togehter with those who came with the Chouteaus in the early 1800s, maintained fields extending from the west (on Quality Hill) and up the hill from their cabins located eastward down along the Missouri. These tracts backed up to this open area, which formed a sort of "common fields." Unlike St. Louis, it was not fenced, and was not formally maintained.

All this open area and adjacent land (114 acres) was claimed by an enterprising French grocer, farmer and tavern owner, Gabriel Prudhomme (from whom a number of Kansas Citians are descended), and he was given a patent to the land. Prudhomme, who showed much promise, was not destined to develop Kansas City, however. In 1831 he was "shot in a free fight by some fellow Canadians. It was a fierce brawl.
Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City Marker (Side B) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
2. Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City Marker (Side B)
When the fight was over there were many wounds and much blood spilt, and Prudhomme lay on the ground, still and dead." Thus it was that on the widow Prudhomme's land the "Town of Kansas" was platted in 1846 and, since the old residents, both French and American, probably had some informal community claim to the general area where the Market Square now stands, it is not surprising that it was dedicated as the square or village green of the new town.

(Side B)
Tout comme le Vieux Carré de la Nouvelle Orléans, le carré de vieux marché de Kansas City et les rues avoisinantes de la vieille ville sont orientés en biais par rapport à la rivière à la façon de l'Arcien Continent plutôt que d'après les relevés rigides établis d'est en ouest par les Yankees. Cela est dû au fait que lorsque François Chouteau, le fondateur francophone de ce qui est aujourd'hui Kansas City, établit son comptoir d'échanges et les pistes avoisinantes en 1821. Le Missouri était sa route principale vers Saint Louis et vers l'arrière pays du Nord-Ouest. Les colons français disséminés qui furent les premiers à occuper Kansas City de façon permanente aux environs de 1799 avec ceux qui vinrent avec les Chouteau an début des années 1800, cultiver les champs s'étendant de l'ouest (Quality Hill) et montant de leurs cabanes au bord du Missouri côté est vers la colline. Ces parcelles de terrain étaient
Kansas City's Old Square / Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2011
3. Kansas City's Old Square / Le Vieux Carre de Kansas City Marker
At right of photo
adossées à cet espace ouvert qui constituait une sorte de champ communautaire qui, au contraire de celui de Saint Louis, n'était ni clôturé, ni entretenu officiellement.

Cet endroit ouvert ainsi qui le terrain adjacent (114 acres) fut revendiqué par un homme à la fois épicier, fermier et propriétaire d'une taverne, Gabriel Prudhomme (de qui descendent pas mal d'habitants de Kansas-City) à qui fut donné un titre de propriété. Cependant, Prudhomme, malgré ses allures prometteuses, n'était pas destiné à développer la ville de Kansas-City. En 1831 il fut tué lors d'une rixe provoquée par des canadiens. Ce fut une bagarre féroce. Lorsque la bataille fut finle, il y avait nombre de blessures et beaucoup de sang répandu. Prudhomme était étendu sur le sol, immobile et sans vie. Ce fut donc sur ce terrain de la veuve Prudhomme que la ville de Kansas-City fut établie en 1846. Puisqu'il semble que ses anciens habitants, tant français qu'américains aient eu chacun de leur côté un droit non officiel de propriété de l'ensemble de ce terrain communautaire, il n'est donc pas surprenant qu'il fut choisi comme le carré ou le parc communal de la nouvelle ville.
 
Erected by The Chouteau Society and The Francis Families Foundation.
 
Location. 39° 6.558′ N, 94° 34.866′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Jackson County. Marker is on Grand Boulevard south of 4th Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 400 Grand Boulevard, Kansas City MO 64106, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Old Chouteau Trading Post / Le Vieil Etablissement Commercial Chouteau (within shouting distance of this marker); Oldham Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); City Market (about 700 feet away); The Pacific House (approx. 0.2 miles away); J. P. Campbell & Company Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Orders No. 11 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tootle, Hanna & Leach Dry Goods (approx. 0.2 miles away); W. H. Morgan & Company (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kansas City.
 
Also see . . .  A Tour of Old French Kansas City. (Submitted on November 19, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Charity & Public WorkMan-Made FeaturesSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 19, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 443 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 20, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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