Neighborhood

Explore the Historic Garment District of Kansas City

The site where Roaster’s Block now stands is one of the most historically significant in Kansas City. Known as the Garment District, the area was bordered north and south by 6th and 10th Streets and on the east and west by Washington and Wyandotte. The first building constructed in 1898 for distribution of wholesale textiles and fashion wear was Swofford Brothers Dry Goods Company. Soon after, the garment industry became Kansas City’s 2nd largest employer and was second only to New York in size of textile production. Post-WWI, one in every seven women in America owned a garment that was designed and made in Kansas City.

In 1908, Henry Perry, the so-called father of KC-style barbecue, started selling food from a small stand in an alley of the district. His legacy lives on in some of today’s most noted local BBQ restaurants. In 1917, the Boss Building was built. The company specialized in making women’s cotton gloves and men’s work gloves. In 1950, Folgers Coffee Company, the #1 selling coffee in America at the time, purchased the Swofford and Boss buildings and relocated their roasting plant here. From then until 2012, the aroma of fresh-roasted coffee permeated KC's downtown. The Roaster’s Block name is a tribute to Folgers six-decades of success.