Local Life and Lore in Kansas City

Blend in with native Kansas Citians by picking up the local history and colloquialisms.
By: Lisa Waterman Gray
Related To:
Child Wears Mickey Mouse Ears

Child Wears Mickey Mouse Ears

LOCAL LINGO

Pop: What most Kansas Citians call soft drinks

Missour-a: A secondary pronunciation of "Missouri"

KCMO: Abbreviation for Kansas City, Mo. – Pronounced "K-C-Moe"

JoCo: Abbreviation for Johnson County – Pronounced "Joe-Coe"

KCK: Abbreviation for Kansas City, Kan.. – Pronounced "K-C-K"

MU: Abbreviation for the University of Missouri (which has a Kansas City campus) . – Pronounced "M-U"

KU: Abbreviation for the University of Kansas – Pronounced "K-U"

K-State: Abbreviation for Kansas State University

Ju-Co: Nickname for Johnson County Community College, on the Kansas side of the metro area

A TALE OF TWO STATES

On the Border: State Line Road divides Missouri and Kansas. Travel north through Missouri. Travel south through Leawood, Mission Hills, Prairie Village, Westwood Hills, and Kansas City, Kan.

Tax Man: You’ll pay more to fill your tank on the Kansas side sue to higher taxes per gallon.

Liquor Laws: In Missouri, you can buy liquor at the grocery store. Kansans must buy spirits in a liquor store, except for 3-2 beer (lower alcohol content), which is available in the grocery store.

Phone Fun: If you live in Missouri, your area code is 816. If you live in Kansas, your area code is 913. And, if you want to call a friend in KCMO from KCK, you’ll have to include his area code.

WEATHER WISDOM

If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute: Locals often say this, particularly about weather fluctuations in early spring, when the temperature may change as much as 40 degrees from one day to the next.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

In the 1990s, KCMO and KCK had the highest number of freeway lane miles per 1,000 people among nearly 40 cities of similar size, at 1.24 miles.

FAMOUS FACES

Walt Disney opened his Laugh-O-Gram studio in Kansas City and created the Mickey Mouse character based on a resident mouse.

President Harry S. Truman’s hometown was Independence, Mo., east of KCMO.

Ernest Hemingway reported for the Kansas City Star from 1917-1918.

Jesse James was born, raised and died in the Kansas City area.

Other famous faces include Count Basie, Melissa Ethridge, Ed Asner, Walter Cronkite, and Don Cheadle.

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