Kansas City's Freedom Trail opening Thursday - connecting Kansas and Missouri

Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, Missouri, and Mayor Joe Rearden of Kansas City, Kansas, are joining together Thursday to celebrate the opening of the Freedom Trail, connecting the two cities.

The Freedom Trail is part of the Riverfront Heritage Trail, an ambitious plan to interconnect the two cities and two rivers across the state line. 

The trail will connect two cities and two states
The trail will connect two cities and two states

Darby Trotter and the board of Kansas City River Trails have been working for decades to put this trail together, and the opening Thursday represents one of the most significant connections the trail has made.  

The Opening of the Bi-State Freedom Trail and the Commemoration of the Riverfront Heritage Trailhead

Guests of honor: Mayor James, Mayor Reardon

Event Details:

Thursday, November 29, 2012, 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Faultless Starch / Bon Ami Event Space

1009 West 8th Street, Kansas City, MO, 64101

Open to the public - everyone is welcome. 


The Freedom Trail is a bi-state project, which begins in the Strawberry Hill area of Kansas City, Kan. before crossing over the Kansas River into Missouri.

The Freedom Trail is a section of the Riverfront Heritage Trail, a fully accessible bike and pedestrian trail hub of the metropolitan trail system. It links communities, parks, destinations, historic sites, and public artworks. It begins on the riverfront just east of the Paseo Bridge and winds its way west through the oldest and most historic parts of bi-state Kansas City. The entire trail is designed to follow the earliest and most historic parts of this region. 

Housed in the west bottoms, the Freedom Mall is the newest point of interest on the trail.

Riverfront Heritage Trail Map
Riverfront Heritage Trail Map

The only monument in the state of Missouri celebrating African Americans who escaped slavery, the Freedom Mall commemorates the years immediately preceding and during the Civil War when many slaves passed this point as they sought freedom in the new Free State of Kansas. To reach Kansas, they had to face the hurdle of the last few miles of the rugged river bottoms. For those escaping from north of the river, crossing the river was even more dangerous, as slaves were intentionally not taught to swim. 

"I wish that I had known these people," said Darby Trotter, president and CEO of the Kansas City River Trails, Inc. "To risk so much for freedom, they were true American heroes."

The Freedom Mall displays four sculptures designed by local artist Ed Hogan. The sculptures depict a slave family as they attempt to escape into Kansas. The sculptures were previously displayed on a wall inside the Faultless Starch building.

Trotter suggested taking the sculptures off of the wall and moving them to their new home at the Freedom Mall. Here, observers are able to get a more dynamic, three-dimensional view of the work. 

The sculptures are accompanied by four interpretive signs, where visitors will are to read the account of African Americans who sought freedom from slavery. 
Much more about the trail is on the Riverfront Heritage Trail web site.

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