Lee’s Summit History

On October 28, 1865, William B. Howard founded the Town of Strother by filing a plat containing the 11 blocks that currently encompass the downtown business district. At the time of incorporation, the population count stood at one hundred people. In November of 1868, the name was changed and the area incorporated as the “Town of Lee’s Summit”. Although the “Summit” portion of the name was obviously based on the fact the town’s elevation is the highest point on the railroad between Kansas City and St. Louis, there are numerous opinions and theories on the origin of “Lee”. According to one theory, the town was named after Civil War General Robert E. Lee, since incorporation took place shortly after the war and the majority of citizens migrated from the Southern states. However, another version suggests the town was named after a prominent early settler, Dr. Pleasant Lea. The discrepancy in the spelling of “Lea” has been attributed to railroad sign painters.

The history of Lee’s Summit abounds with the tragedies and triumphs of courageous people who have never failed in their dream of creating a city that will continually progress and prosper. Most importantly, Lee’s Summit is comprised of dedicated people who never lose touch with the basic values that make a community livable. We feel Lee’s Summit has lived up to the dreams of its forefathers.

Visit the Lee’s Summit Historical Society for more of Lee’s Summit’s rich history: http://leessummithistory.net/pastpresent.html