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City of Lee's Summit, Missouri
—  City  —
Location of Lee's Summit in Missouri
Coordinates: 38°55′21″N 94°22′27″W / 38.9225°N 94.37417°W / 38.9225; -94.37417Coordinates: 38°55′21″N 94°22′27″W / 38.9225°N 94.37417°W / 38.9225; -94.37417
Country United States
State Missouri
Counties Cass, Jackson
 - Mayor Karen Messerli
 - Total 61.7 sq mi (159.7 km2)
 - Land 59.5 sq mi (154.1 km2)
 - Water 2.2 sq mi (5.6 km2)
Elevation 1,037 ft (316 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total 84,208
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 816
FIPS code 29-41348[1]
GNIS feature ID 0735684[2]

Lee's Summit is a city in Cass and Jackson Counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. The U.S. Census extimated the city's population at 84,208 in 2008.[3] However, the city's development report estimated its population at 92,927 in 2009,[4] making it the sixth-largest city in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area and the sixth-largest city in Missouri. In 2006 CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Lee's Summit 44th on its list of the 100 Best Cities to Live in the United States.[5]


Origin of name

Lee's Summit circa 1877. From the 1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Jackson Co. Missouri.

Founded as the "Town of Strother", by William B. Howard for his wife, Maria D. Strother (daughter of William D. Strother formerly of Bardstown, Kentucky). Howard came to Jackson County in 1842 from Kentucky, married Maria in 1844, and by 1850 he and Maria had 833 acres (3.37 km2) and a homestead five miles (8 km) north of town. He was arrested for being a Confederate in October 1862, near the beginning of the Civil War, and after being paroled he took his family back to Kentucky for the duration of the war. After the war ended he returned and, knowing that the Missouri Pacific Railroad was surveying a route in the area, platted the town with 70 acres (280,000 m2) in the fall of 1865.[6][7]

In 1865 the town changed its name for early settler Dr. Pleasant John Graves Lea, who moved to Jackson County in 1849, from Bradley County, Tennessee. Lea was listed as the postmaster of Big Cedar in the 1855 United States Official Postal Guide.[8] Dr. Lea was killed in August 1862 by Kansas Jayhawkers (or Redlegs).[9]

When the surveyors for the Missouri Pacific Railroad came through, the local people and the railroad wanted to name the town in Dr. Lea's honor. He had a farm on the highest point and near the path of the tracks, and his murder had taken place near the site of the proposed depot. So they chose the name of "Lea's Summit", the "summit" portion to reflect its relatively highest elevation on the Missouri Pacific Railroad between St. Louis and Kansas City.[6] But they misspelled the name "Lees Summit" (with two "e's"; "Lee" instead of "Lea"; and leaving out the apostrophe) on a boxcar that was serving as a station and donated by the Missouri Pacific,[10] then a sign next to the tracks, and finally in the printed time schedule for the railroad.[11] Also the name was misspelled on the stone culvert near the station, on the side of the Missouri Pacific depot, but on the other side it was spelled correctly, accordingly the railroad used this spelling, as did travelers.[12][13]

Others, those with Southern sympathies, claim that the town was named after famed Civil War General Robert E. Lee after Southerners began moving north into Missouri after the war.[6] Attributed to a misquote in the Louisville Journal, January 3, 1866.[11]

Since the name was already being circulated and published with two "e's", the town petitioned the state capitol and incorporated its name in 1868 as: "Town of Lee's Summit".[6]


In 1912, R.A. Long, the owner of a lumber company, began building his estate, named Longview Farm, on the western edge of the city and into part of Kansas City. When complete, it had a mansion, five barns and 42 buildings in the 1,700 acres (6.9 km2). The farm also had a church, Longview Chapel Christian Church, which was completed in 1915. It soon became internationally known as a showplace farm. Today, one of the horse barns is home to Longview Farm Elementary, and the site of Longview Community College. The church and mansion are on the National Register of Historic Places. Other parts of the farm have been turned into Longview Lake, Longview Community College, and a development called New Longview.[6] Lee's Summit is also home to Lee's Summit Historical Cemetery.


The location of Lee's Summit in relation to counties and state

Lee's Summit is located at 38°55′21″N 94°22′27″W / 38.9225°N 94.37417°W / 38.9225; -94.37417 (38.922607, -94.374127)[14]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 61.7 square miles (159.7 km²), of which, 59.5 square miles (154.1 km²) of it is land and 2.2 square miles (5.6 km²) of it (3.50%) is water.


City Population [1]

1960 8,267
1965 12,813
1970 16,204
1975 21,765
1980 28,742
1985 33,846
1990 46,418
1995 57,466
1999 67,079
2004 82,528

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 70,700 people, 26,417 households, and 19,495 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,188.0 people per square mile (458.7/km²). There were 27,311 housing units at an average density of 458.9/sq mi (177.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.17% White, 3.47% African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.

There were 26,417 households out of which 40.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.1% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.2% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $60,905, and the median income for a family was $70,702. Males had a median income of $49,385 versus $32,837 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,891. About 2.8% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $71,821, and the median income for a family was $82,737.[2]


Lee's Summit is served by parts of three public school districts: Lee's Summit R-VII School District, Blue Springs R-IV School District, Raymore-Peculiar R-II School District. Lee's Summit has two religious private schools as well: Lee's Summit Community Christian School and Our Lady of Presentation Catholic School. Longview Community College is located on the extreme western edge of Lee's Summit. The college is part of Metropolitan Community College (Kansas City) or MCC for short. It also is home to the Summit Technology Center which is a branch campus of the University of Central Missouri. Lee's Summit is also home to a branch of Baker University.

Notable residents

Cole Younger after the 1876 Northfield Raid



Major roads



  • The feature film All Roads Lead Home has parts filmed in Lee's Summit.
  • The film Jesus Camp features footage of a children's prayer conference held at Christ Triumphant Church located at 401 NE Chipman Road.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lee's Summit Development Report 2008
  5. ^ Best Places to Live 2006 - Money Magazine
  6. ^ a b c d e History of the City of Lee's Summit
  7. ^ Wilcox, Pearl, (1975). - Jackson County Pioneers. - Independence, Missouri. - pp.107-108. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  8. ^ "List of Postmasters". - United States Official Postal Guide. - United States Post Office Dept. - July 1, 1855. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  9. ^ Lee's Summit Centennial, 1876-1965. - June 1965. - p.6. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  10. ^ "Introduction: History". - Lee's Summit Comprehensive Plan. - City of Lee's Summit, Missouri. - Retrieved: 2008-07-07
  11. ^ a b Historic Preservation Plan: City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. - Historic Preservation Services, LLC. - September 1, 2002. - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document). - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  12. ^ Historical Overview of 19th Century Stone Culverts: Prairie Township. - Architectural and Historical Research. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  13. ^ Kansas City Star. - April 27, 1908. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links


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