Martin City’s PAST
In the early 1900s, Martin City had a train depot, a hotel, a blacksmith shop and a general store to serve local residents. In 1911, a bank was built to accommodate townspeople and by 1926, bank assets were over $59,000. Like many banking services that declined because of the Depression, the Martin City bank closed in 1933.
Martin City was full of activity in the roaring 20s. During Prohibition, one resident recalled, there was a drugstore in Martin City where customers could “get a little nip” at a window in the back of the store.The dry goods store had a dance hall upstairs where children and adults could roller-skate. And during the 1920s, Martin City men organized a gun club and a basketball team. There were around 250 people living in the town in 1926, with 80 students in the local school, and two teachers.
The Methodist Church in Martin City was organized in 1888. A church building was dedicated in 1890 on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Martin. In 1929, the church basement was completed and was used as a community gathering place for town meetings.
During the tornado of 1957, 30 people survived during a church supper in the basement as the sanctuary was blowing away above. The sanctuary was rebuilt and consecrated in 1959. When the congregation disbanded, Martin City Melodrama took over the building. They were there 16 years before moving to a shopping center.
Growth in Education
Children from the Martin City area attended Mount Pleasant school, located at 128th and Wornall Road. In 1910, Martin City built its own school. The Martin City School grew to include 25 classrooms and 280 students. In 1999 a cafeteria, gymnasium and more classrooms were added to accommodate grades six through eight.
Martin City was annexed into the Kansas City, MO city limits in 1963 along with much of south Jackson County.
Martin City TODAY
In January 2005, over 70 of the business in the Martin City area joined together to form a Community Improvement District (CID), levying special sales and property taxes to improve economic development in the area.
District boundaries have since expanded to include 300+ acres with 80 businesses residing in the district. Martin City schools became part of the Grandview School District and now offer classes for K-8th grade.
Future of Martin City
Martin City future improvement plans include landscaping many parts of the district, widening portions of 135th street, adding curbs, sidewalks, attractive streetscape and other amenities. New signage when entering the district and bike lanes are also in the works. Trails are planned to wind through the area as part of the greater KCMO Metro Trails Plan.