Something’s amiss on Midtown’s Genessee Street


After a tip from a reader, the Midtown KC Post took a trip along Genessee Street from 47th to 33rd Street, and what we found was somewhat confusing. Well, see what we mean.

Of the 15 street signs on Genessee Street, 10 have the street name spelled Genessee. Five signs, and one set of those blue and white street tiles, spell the street name “Gennessee.”

gennessee-street-tiles The city confirms that by its official records, the spelling is Genessee, and the folks at city hall say now that they’ve been alerted they will fix the signs.

By the way, seems like the spelling of the street has been in flux for a while. Old city records from the late 1800s and early 1900s used the spelling Genesee. And its not just confusing in Kansas City. Historians say the word comes from the Seneca Indian phrase for “beautiful valley.” In New York, its spelled Genessee. In Minnesota, in San Francisco and in Lawrence, Kansas, its spelled Gennessee.

According to our tipster, clearly the spelling should be Genesee, just like the beer.

What do you think?



  1. Lynda McClelland says:

    And don’t forget the spelling on the I-670 coming into Missouri. The street is spelled “Genesee.”

  2. Mary Byrne says:

    I’ve lived on Genessee for 53 years. Up until about 20 years ago, it was Genesee and then it became Genessee which is the way you have to spell it if you are looking in City records. I’ll look at my 1961 deed and see what it says.

  3. David Hyche says:

    I live in midtown and I’ve been noticing that some street signs are white, like those on Main St. and others are the regular green and some others are blue in color. Is there an official street sign of Kansas City?

  4. Aaron Barnhart says:

    Well, for starters it’s spelled it’s.

    Secondly, it is NOT spelled “Genessee” in New York, except by a single developer in Amsterdam who can’t spell. Genesee as a street name probably originated there, having to do with the fact they have a Genesee County. Had you googled “Genessee New York,” with two S’s, and gone through the first screen of results, you would see that every single one of them is a TYPO. That Denny’s at 5201 W. “Genessee” is actually on Genesee. Denny’s can’t spell. “Genessee Way” in Olmstedsville is still spelled the way Frederick Law Olmsted meant it to be spelled, with one S. Zillow can’t spell. And so on. That commercial cul-de-sac in Amsterdam is actually a Genessee, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

    There is a Genesee Street in L.A. that is one block east of Beverly Boulevard; it runs right into CBS Television City. If people could figure out how to get that name from New York State to California without screwing it up, it’s not asking too much of the City of Kansas City to do the same.

    All of which your friendly tipster would have been happy to share, along with a can of Genesee beer, had you called him back. AB

  5. Michael Grimaldi says:

    I have in my possession a copy of a local Stylebook distributed to the staffs of The Kansas City Star and The Kansas City Times in 1987. The prescribed spelling in that book is Genessee Street. That doesn’t necessarily make that spelling right or any other spelling wrong. But if we needed to name the street in a news story in 1987, that’s the way it was going to spelled.

    Missouri Valley Room at the Kansas City Public Library might have something on this.

  6. Lynn Price says:


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