Looking at it now, you might not believe that this artistic enclave was once one of the biggest Hollywood film distribution centers in the world. Today, we call it the Crossroads Arts District, but for four decades this area was affectionately referred to as “Film Row.”

Film Row

Paramount Film Row Kansas City
From the Collection of John and Naomi Shipp

Spanning four square blocks between 17th and 19th Streets, this area was the home to distribution centers for some of Hollywood's most prominent studios from the 1920s to the 1960s, including MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Disney, United Artists and many more.

These offices facilitated the distribution of Hollywood films to theaters across the country. Now, this creative crossroads is home to art galleries, local eateries, boutique shops and quite appropriately, several prominent KC production companies.

Film Row in Kansas City via KCHistory.org
Kansas City's Film Row in 1946 at 18th & Wyandotte. Photo via kchistory.org.

KC wasn’t just one of the largest distribution hubs in the country. It also exported some of Hollywood's greatest stars. Travel to the Crossroads Arts District at 18th Street between Wyandotte and Central in the heart of Film Row and you’ll find Kansas City’s own Walk of Fame, featuring actual stars on the sidewalk that represent some of KC’s most beloved native celebrities, including Joan Crawford, Walt Disney, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers and more.

Facts

First Fridays in Kansas City

Kansas City’s Old Film Row is a rare piece of surviving history. Most of the offices and structures built by the big studios are still standing, making up the only intact Film Row in the country.

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Food trucks are corralled like chuck wagons of old while the tantalizing smell of street tacos and gourmet appetizers wafts through the crowd, accompanying intricately displayed artwork in funky studios and multi-story art emporiums. These are the sights, sounds and flavors of First Fridays in the Crossroads Arts District, one of KC’s most unique events in one of its most unique neighborhoods.
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