Wandering the West Bottoms

The rain finally came last night. It came softly last night and stayed thru today, at first a gentle shower and continued as a fine mist, covering all who dare linger for long without cover. The weatherman on KCTV 5 says that it will turn into snow flurries that will continue into tomorrow, the non-committal ‘wintry mix’ . Maybe it took that furry groundhog seeing his shadow to finally bring winter to our doorsteps, but I remain skeptical.

Walking thru the alleys, I watch the colors reflecting off the pools on the decrepit asphalt, morphing, dancing.  I am amazed that the only sounds I hear are my footsteps and the fluttering of wings of pigeons above. What was once a bustling hub of Kansas City industry, now still, waiting…for whatever’s next.

Originally dubbed the ‘French Bottoms’ when commerce had sprung up in this area between the French trappers and the Indians alongside the Missouri river, the area now is just simply the affectionately known as the ‘Bottoms’. Known for its flooding and its fires, this area of forgotten land wedged under the 12th Street Bridge has always held a little bit of an apocalyptic charm for me.

A few blocks over the usual Saturday crowd is rushing around, crawling thru the big old relics from the industrial age who are host to flea markets, vintage clothing stores and antique shops. Scattered in between are a few kitsch restaurants, some light industry and the big haunted houses waiting for the year to fast forward to fall once again. Artists have found their way to this area as well, both in galleries and apartments in old stately warehouses, but on the streets as well.

The city on the hills above is shrouded in fog, almost invisible as the drizzle keeps steadily falling from the sky. It gives a sheen to the graffiti on the walls, the grey day making the colors themselves more vibrant, more noticeable.

a jungle of
culture and
now a city.
Dull grey
buildings, wailing
cries of bustling
cars in the

all part of
the immutable
progression of
of the long
and dreary
process we call


31 responses to “Wandering the West Bottoms

  1. Hi Chloe! Snow is on the city here.
    I’m going to stay in my cocoon waiting for the spring voilà!

  2. La Goulue dancing with Valentin-le-Désossé 1895
    By Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

  3. Un petit “clic” – et on se retrouve en Amérique… Bonne semaine Chloé ! yolaine

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