Welcome to Harrisonville

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Harrisonville is ready to be a place where tradition meets innovation. Over more than a century, the community has established itself as a quintessential small town with significant historic assets, high quality of life, and strong regional positioning. The continued evolution of the community will focus on building upon these assets to make Harrisonville a competitive, highly sought-after place to grow up, raise a family, build a career, start a business and enjoy retirement within the Kansas City region – A place to call home.

Harrisonville is a small town located 40 miles from Kansas City’s central business district. The area was first settled in 1830, five years before Cass County was established. The Town of Harrisonville was officially established in 1837 and named after Missouri Representative Albert G Harrison. Harrisonville’s early years saw growth in population to about 600 people, but the town was greatly affected by the American Civil War. Order No. 11, which placed Missouri’s border counties under Marshall Law and gave residents 15 days to flee rural areas, greatly stifled the growth of Harrisonville for years following the Civil War. The community did not see meaningful repopulation and reinvestment until the 1880s. The connection of the Kansas City and Southern Railroad in 1885 enabled Harrisonville to leverage its agricultural assets and reposition itself within the regional economy until the Panic of 1893 which caused thousands of banks to fail nationwide. Despite national economic turmoil, Cass County successfully rebuilt the County Courthouse in 1897, which was destroyed during the Civil War.

Harrisonville flourished during the first part of the 20th century and benefited from the establishment of new transportation and utility infrastructure. The Jefferson Highway was built in 1916 through downtown Harrisonville along what is now Independence Street; and by the 1920s Highway 71 provided a significant roadway connection to Kansas City. The population of Harrisonville reached 2,300 by the 1930s. The Great Depression again stifled growth in Harrisonville, but federal programs enabled the city to purchase Lake Luna and the water plant and create a new park. Following World War II, Harrisonville’s population began to grow again, as the population tripled between 1950 and 1990. Expansion of Highway 71 to a four-lane highway in the 1960s attracted national chains and new shopping centers that drew business away from the Historic Square. Disinvestment in downtown during this era created growing safety concerns. However, some preservation pioneers began to rediscover the city’s unique downtown and historic neighborhoods in the 1980s, and philanthropist Del Dunmire purchased 80% of the buildings on the square in the 1990s. A Historic Preservation Commission was established in 1993. Harrisonville today is a community strongly defined by its connection to the region, a high quality of life and unique historical roots. Even as an established and stable community, Harrisonville has accomplished many catalytic investments in the 2000s and 2010s and is well-positioned to support continued growth in business and housing.

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