Advocates trying to secure National Historic Landmark status for the Quindaro Ruins area in Wyandotte County have won a $20,000 grant for hiring expert help on the labor-intensive project.
Founded as a free-state port during the Bleeding Kansas and Underground Railroad era, Quindaro became a booming city along the Missouri River bank just south of Parkville in the late 1850s. Though it quickly faded as a city after Kansas became a free state in 1861 and the Civil War began, the community continued to thrive for decades as a home to a diverse population that included hundreds of former slaves and their descendants. It also became home to the first African-American university west of the Mississippi River.
Though ruins of the old city still exist in northern Kansas City, Kan., the site lacks an interpretative center, marked trails and other tourist-friendly amenities. Advocates want to preserve and improve the site while spreading its story.
On Friday, the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review approved the $20,000 grant request from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., in partnership with the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, which has been collecting oral histories on the Quindaro area.
Freedom’s Frontier will hire an expert to spearhead the National Historic Landmark application. Only 26 Kansas historic sites claim that title, which is much rarer than National Register of Historic Places status.