The south Missouri region of Harrisonville is something of a boom and bust area because there are lots of vacant buildings left behind by businesses that when bust. A good example of this is the large Bizarre Bazaar building, a big box store that stands empty. It has before it a huge asphalt lot with weeds growing in it, providing space to park an old British double decker bus and an old fire engine. This place is quite near where the new Walmart is located. Down the street is an old Veterans of Foreign Wars post with a sign forbidding the activities youth love--skateboarding, bicycling, etc. The town in general is certainly not friendly to bicyclists, although the downtown area has lots of promise in this regard for it's wide streets and thin traffic.
Underappreciated County Seat of Cass County
"45 minutes south of Kansas City..."
Having about 9,000 residents, Harrisonville has been the county seat of Cass County since 1849. Southern Missouri is of particular historical interest because of it's involvement in the Missouri Compromise and the American Civil War. Although north of the Mason-Dixon Line, and so not normally considered part of the south, Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state based on a compromise that the state of Maine would be simultaneously admitted as a free state. During the civil war, Missouri quickly joined the Union as a way to avoid the carnage of war, but southern sympathizers in Harrisonville attracted the wrath of Union army forces who forceably evicted town residents and then took all hay, grains, and other resources of valuable to the army.
"Underappreciated Old Downtown"
After the war, the town recovered and built a substantial downtown of brick buildings and brick paved streets that today are for the most part vacant and underappreciated as historical treasures today. A local businessman has found the wisdom of purchasing for renovation much of commercial downtown buildings, but the town has yet to remake itself into a place where adults would like to hang out for lunch or dinner, or at night. Some buildings in the downtown are still being used as the government buildings. During my few hours in town, I wandered around shooting pictures not only the fine old downtown, but also several blocks of fine old homes. These are presented for you appreciation here, as well as a review of a decent place to eat in town.
"The rest of town is typical corporate suburbia"
I had to park my truck at the Walmart and then walk about a mile into town. While the focus by most Harrisonville residents is upon the newer shopping and residential track neighborhoods away from downtown, there is an energetic effort by some residents to restore old homes in the historic center.