The Kansas City Board of Trade was unofficially formed in 1856 when merchants organized a trading association for buying and selling grain. A testament to the city’s rapid economic growth, the group underwent significant changes over the next two decades. In 1876, the Kansas City Board of Trade officially incorporated and began trading in commodity futures, which allowed sellers and buyers to set price, quantity, and the date of a trade before the sale and protected each side from abrupt price changes. This type of trading encouraged buy-ins and placed Kansas City at the center of grain and wheat commerce and transportation.
This postcard depicts the Board of Trade’s second building at the turn of the twentieth century. Located at the northwest corner of Eighth and Wyandotte Streets, the 7-story building was the crown jewel of downtown when it opened in 1888. Constructed at a cost of $700,000, the building was designed by Burnham & Root of Chicago in an H-plan. It had two large wings connected by a grand entrance arch and featured an elevator tower, skylighted hall, marble stairways, and mezzanine offices. The exterior was a combination of pressed brick and ornamental terra cotta. This iconic building housed the Board of Trade until 1925 and was unfortunately demolished in 1968.
The Kansas City Board of Trade continued to thrive throughout the twentieth century, relocating to accommodate its growth a few more times. Abundant Kansas wheat harvests had created a lucrative grain trade, and many industry professionals continued to come to the city to cash in. These conditions fostered the Board’s growth and relocation to meet its expanding needs. In 1925, the organization moved south to a 14-story building at Tenth and Wyandotte streets, and in 1966 to 4800 Main Street. The Board of Trade became the first exchange in the world to trade stock index futures when Value Line launched in 1982. The Board of Trade made its last move in 2013 when Illinois-based CME Group bought the company for $126 million and moved it to Chicago.
Subject: Chambers of commerce; Board of trade
Collection Name: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection
Contributing Institution: Kansas City Public Library
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Region: Kansas City Metro