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"In the United States of the late 19th century, iron works personified the strength and grit of an emerging industrial power.

Pittsburgh became the Steel City, but far to the west, another corner of the industry was growing along the banks of the Blue River — on the eastern outskirts of Kansas City, Missouri. From humble beginnings in the late 1880s, Kansas City Bolt & Nut Co. grew to Armco Steel.

As workers flocked to this rapidly industrializing area, which eventually included a Ford Motor Co. plant along with Armco, the Blue Valley neighborhood became a working-class enclave. Yet jobs and employers dwindled as the U.S. steel industry struggled in the late 20th century, and the Ford plant moved to a new plant in Claycomo, Missouri, that opened in 1951."

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"Cottages and craft rental outfitters lined the banks of the Blue from near its confluence with the Missouri, all the way south into the Leeds area. At the time this photo was taken (bottom right), the Blue River was a primary recreation area for Kansas City residents. Transportation was still difficult outside of the city, and the Blue could be reached by streetcar, automobile or horse and buggy very easily along a variety of east-west primary arteries. Warm spring days found boat and cottage owners alike, working vigorously to ready their cottages and watercraft for the summer boating season.


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