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Lee's Summit, Missouri

Lee's Summit
Lee's Summit, Missouri
Location of Lee's Summit in Missouri
Location of Lee's Summit in Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
Counties Cass, Jackson
 • Mayor Randy Rhoads
 • Total 65.39 sq mi (169.36 km2)
 • Land 63.35 sq mi (164.08 km2)
 • Water 2.04 sq mi (5.28 km2)
Elevation 1,037 ft (316 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 91,364
 • Estimate (2013)[3] 93,184
 • Density 1,442.2/sq mi (556.8/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 64015, 64063, 64064, 64081, 64082, 64083, 64086, 64134, 64139, 64149
Area code(s) 816
FIPS code 29-41348[4]
GNIS feature ID 0735684[5]
Website City Of Lee's Summit

Lee's Summit is a city in the state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson (primarily) and Cass. As of the 2010 census found the population at 91,364 making it the sixth-largest city in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area and the sixth-largest city in Missouri.[6] 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.[7] That ranking improved to 27th on the 2010 list.[8]


  • Origin of name 1
  • History 2
  • Geography 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 census 4.1
    • 2000 census 4.2
  • Education 5
  • Climate 6
  • Transportation 7
    • Major roads 7.1
    • Other 7.2
  • Media 8
  • Appearances in film 9
  • Notable people 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

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 as the town of Strother.[9][10]

In 1865 the town of Strother 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.[11] Dr. Lea was killed in August 1862 by Kansas Jayhawkers (or Redlegs).[12]

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.[9] 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,[13] then a sign next to the tracks, and finally in the printed time schedule for the railroad.[14] 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.[15][16]

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.[9] Attributed to a misquote in the Louisville Journal, January 3, 1866.[14]

Since the name was already being circulated and published with two "e's", the town petitioned the state legislature and incorporated its name in 1868 as: "Town of Lee's Summit".[9]


Growth of the town can be studied through historic Sanborn Maps, which document building types and uses in the city during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[17]

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). (Moses Metheny, the great-grandfather of jazz legend Pat Metheny, was a co-founder.) 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.[9]

Lee's Summit is also home to:


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

Lee's Summit is located at (38.922607, -94.374127).[18] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 65.39 square miles (169.36 km2), of which, 63.35 square miles (164.08 km2) is land and 2.04 square miles (5.28 km2) is water.[1]


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.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 91,364 people, 34,429 households, and 25,126 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,442.2 inhabitants per square mile (556.8/km2). There were 36,679 housing units at an average density of 579.0 per square mile (223.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.1% White, 8.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.9% of the population.

There were 34,429 households of which 39.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.0% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.11.

The median age in the city was 37.2 years. 28% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27% were from 25 to 44; 26.6% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] 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 per square mile (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.


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: Summit Christian Academy 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.


Lee's Summit experiences a four season humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with mild days and cold nights during the winter, and hot days and muggy nights during the summer.
Climate data for Lee's Summit, Missouri
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 39
Average low °F (°C) 20
Record low °F (°C) −19
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.13
Source: [21]


The Historic Jefferson Highway (known as the "Palm to Pine" highway) runs through town.

Major roads



Appearances in film

  • 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.
  • The film Full Count was filmed around Kansas City with a portion being filmed in Lee's Summit.

Notable people

Cole Younger after the 1876 Northfield Raid


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Best Places to Live 2006 - Money Magazine
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c d e History of the City of Lee's Summit
  10. ^ Wilcox, Pearl, (1975). - Jackson County Pioneers. - Independence, Missouri. - pp.107-108. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  11. ^ "List of Postmasters". - United States Official Postal Guide. - United States Post Office Dept. - July 1, 1855. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  12. ^ Lee's Summit Centennial, 1876-1965. - June 1965. - p.6. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  13. ^ "Introduction: History". - Lee's Summit Comprehensive Plan. - City of Lee's Summit, Missouri. - Retrieved: 2008-07-07
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Historical Overview of 19th Century Stone Culverts: Prairie Township. - Architectural and Historical Research. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  16. ^ Kansas City Star. - April 27, 1908. - Retrieved: 2008-07-06
  17. ^ Sanborn Maps of Missouri Collection at the University of Missouri
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links

  • City of Lee's Summit
  • Lee's Summit Chamber of Commerce
  • Lee's Summit Tourism Online
  • Lee's Summit Economic Development Council
  • Historic maps of Lee's Summit in the Sanborn Maps of Missouri Collection at the University of Missouri
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