Octave Chanute (1832-1910) Papers (KC292)
Octave Chanute was critically important to the development of Kansas City, first as the engineer for the Kansas City Bridge (Hannibal Bridge), the first to span the Missouri River, and then as the designer of the Kansas City Stockyards. Born in Paris, France February 18, 1832, Chanute immigrated with parents to the United States in 1838. He began training as a railroad civil engineer in 1849 and between 1853 and 1863 was a civil engineer with various Western railroads. From his position as Chief engineer of the Chicago & Alton Railroad (1863-1867) he was chosen to planned and superintended construction of the first bridge across the Missouri River (the Kansas City Bridge) which began in 1867 and was opened July 3, 1869. A major engineering feat, the bridge assured Kansas City's position as a regional commercial center and a railroad hub. From 1867 to 1873, Chanute also served as Chief engineer of several railroads in Kansas, and in that role laid out the plans for the stockyards as well as other projects in the region. In the 1880s he returned for brief intervals to the Kansas and Missouri to work on various projects. Octave Chanute died in Chicago on November 23, 1910.
Note: Selected rolls of microfilm of the Papers of Octave Chanute from the Library of Congress. Of the 25 microfilm reels available, WHMC-KC holds only seven that covers the time periods when Chanute was active in Kansas City. They are his letterbooks in containers 19-21:
The collection consists of correspondence, family papers, articles, patents, photographs, sketches, kite diagrams, plans for Chanute's railroad bridge across the Missouri River, and clippings.
7 microfilm reels.
© WHMC-KC, University of Missouri
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City
(816) 235-1543 WHMCKC@umkc.edu