Latitude / Longitude:
39° 9′ 14″ N, 94° 39′ 42″ W
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Quindaro Townsite is an archaeological district in the vicinity of North 27th Street and the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks in Kansas City, Kansas. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 2002.
The settlement was established by abolitionists in late 1856, with construction starting in 1857. The town was rapidly settled by migrants aided by the New England Emigrant Aid Company, who were trying to help secure Kansas as a free territory. One of a number of villages hugging the narrow bank of the Missouri River under the bluffs, the town was a Free State port-of-entry for abolitionist forces of Kansas. It was established as part of the resistance to stop the westward spread of slavery. Quindaro’s people also aided escaped slaves from Missouri and linked them to the Underground Railroad.
An archaeological study in 1987-1988 required for a public project revealed the remains of the 1850s townsite. The foundations of 20 main buildings, two outbuildings, three wells, and one cistern were found. From original maps, newspapers and letters, researchers know other structures exist. Because of the significance of the town, the townsite has been designated an archaeological district on the National Register of Historic Places. A number of public history projects have been undertaken to engage the public and share the discoveries.
After Kansas was established as a free state, there was less unique need for the port and the growth slowed in the commercial district. At the same time the economy in Kansas suffered from over-speculation. In 1862 classes were started for children of former slaves, and in 1865 a group of men chartered Quindaro Freedman’s School (later Western University), the first black school west of the Mississippi River. Former slaves continued to gather in the residential community, which became mostly African American by the late 19th century. The was incorporated into Kansas City in the early 20th century. Gradually the lower commercial townsite was abandoned and became overgrown. The townsite was rediscovered during archaeological study in the late 1980s, which revealed many aspects of the 1850s town.