Everything About Lee’s Summit, Missouri


Lee’s Summit was founded in 1865 by William B. Howard, who purchased over 240 acres of land in the area. He named the city after Dr. Pleasant John Graves Lea and John Lea, who were his father-in-law and brother-in-law. The Lea brothers had surveyed and platted the land where the town was built.

The city grew slowly at first, but the arrival of the railroad in 1870 helped establish Lee’s Summit as a regional commercial center. By the late 1800s, the town had multiple churches, a public school system, and a thriving downtown with businesses to serve the growing population.

In the 20th century, Lee’s Summit continued to develop as a suburban community in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The city saw steady population growth and economic expansion after World War II. Major attractions like the John Knox Village retirement community were established in the 1960s.

Today, Lee’s Summit is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, quality school districts, parks system, and mix of small businesses and major employers. Historic downtown Lee’s Summit has been revitalized with shops, restaurants, and community events.


Lee’s Summit is located in west-central Missouri, approximately 20 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City. The city lies in both Jackson County and Cass County. Lee’s Summit sits at an elevation of about 1,040 feet above sea level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Lee’s Summit has a total area of 65.8 square miles. 63.2 square miles of this is land, while 2.6 square miles is water. The city is situated along the north bank of the Missouri River.

Lee’s Summit has a humid continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters. The city receives an average of 40 inches of precipitation per year. Lee’s Summit enjoys four distinct seasons, with hot humid summers and generally mild to cold winters.


Lee’s Summit sits atop a landscape shaped by geologic forces over hundreds of millions of years. The bedrock beneath the city consists of sedimentary rock layers formed during the Mississippian Period around 300-350 million years ago. These marine sedimentary rocks contain many fossils of ancient marine organisms.

During the repeated glaciation of the Quaternary Period, massive ice sheets advanced and retreated across Missouri, drastically altering the landscape. Glacial deposits underlie much of Lee’s Summit, while meltwater from the glaciers helped carve out the Missouri River valley.

The city’s soil consists mainly of clayey and silty glacial till deposits. Areas along creeks and rivers contain more alluvial sandy loam soils. This mix of soil types and the hilly terrain lend themselves to a variety of land uses.

Seismic activity is generally low in the Lee’s Summit area compared to other parts of the country. However, minor earthquakes occasionally occur in the region as remnants of ancient fault lines buried deep underground are reactivated. The nearest major fault lines are the New Madrid Seismic Zone about 200 miles to the southeast.


Some of the major neighborhoods and subdivisions in Lee’s Summit include:

  • Downtown Lee’s Summit: The historic heart of the city featuring a vibrant business district. Homes date from the late 1800s to early 1900s in architectural styles like Craftsman, Tudor Revival, and Queen Anne.
  • Oldham: One of the oldest Lee’s Summit neighborhoods located to the north of downtown. Includes many mid-century homes built in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Greenwich: Large planned residential development on the north side established in the 1970s-80s. Mostly single-family homes with wooded common areas.
  • Woodland: Upscale subdivision on the south side filled with large custom homes and winding streets. Near the Summit Fair shopping center.
  • Longview: Fast-growing area with new neighborhoods like New Longview and Villas at Longview. Mix of housing from apartments to executive homes.
  • Langsford: Master-planned community on the west side with homes, recreational facilities, and shopping areas. Home to Cedar Creek Elementary.
  • Greenwood: Neighborhood named for the Greenwood School. Blends older and newer mid-sized family homes.
  • Pryor: Middle class neighborhood located between downtown and I-470. Mostly traditional suburban homes built from the 1960s to 1980s.

Each neighborhood contributes to the diverse fabric of housing, economic backgrounds, amenities, and community identities that make up Lee’s Summit.


Lee’s Summit has a humid continental climate zone (Koppen climate classification Dfa). The city sees warm, humid summers and cold winters.

Summers are hot and humid, with average highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit in June through August. The summer months frequently see highs in the 90s and 100s. Severe thunderstorms are common due to humid unstable air.

Winters are generally cold but variable, with average highs in the 30s from December to February. Lows frequently dip below freezing and occasionally into the single digits. Snowfall averages 20 inches but can vary a lot year to year. Sleet and freezing rain events also occur during winter.

Spring and fall are transition seasons with comfortable weather but substantial variation. Highs range from the 50s to 70s F in spring and fall. Severe weather is still possible, especially during the spring storm season.

Lee’s Summit averages around 40 inches of precipitation annually. Most rain falls in spring and summer, though winter snow contributes to moisture levels. Rainfall peaks in May and June. The area has experienced minor droughts as well as very wet periods.


According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Lee’s Summit had a population of 101,108 residents. This makes it the sixth largest city in Missouri.

The racial makeup of Lee’s Summit consists of:

  • 87.7% White
  • 4.9% African American
  • 3.8% Asian
  • 3.1% Hispanic/Latino
  • 3.3% Two or more races
  • 0.4% Native American
  • 0.1% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

The median age in Lee’s Summit is 37.1 years old. 27.4% of residents are under age 18, while 13.5% are over age 65.

There are roughly 36,600 households in the city. 67% are married couple families. The average household size is 2.73 people.

The median household income in Lee’s Summit is $80,751. Just 3.9% of families live below the poverty line. Over 97% of adults have a high school degree or higher, while 48.3% have a bachelor’s degree or above.


Lee’s Summit has a robust and diversified economy anchored by a strong healthcare and manufacturing base. Some major employers include:

  • Lee’s Summit Medical Center: Employs over 1,500 healthcare professionals and support staff. Large regional hospital and health network.
  • Woods Manufacturing: Global manufacturer of munitions and aerospace components. Employs over 1,300 in Lee’s Summit.
  • Marley Cooling Technologies: Manufactures cooling towers, fluid coolers, and evaporative condensers. Employs 900 locally.
  • Tutera: Owns and operates over 50 senior living communities and employs 850 corporate staff. Headquarters are in Lee’s Summit.
  • Home Depot Call Center: One of Lee’s Summit largest employers with over 800 customer service representatives.

Other major industries include finance, technology, education, construction, and retail. The city’s unemployment rate was just 2.7% in October 2021. New developments like Summit Technology Campus are adding high-skilled tech jobs.


Lee’s Summit offers a variety of cultural institutions and events that enrich the community. Some highlights include:

  • Lee’s Summit Symphony Orchestra: Talented local musicians who put on classical concerts throughout the year. Founded in 1997.
  • Lee’s Summit Community Theatre: Performances of popular musicals and plays at Legacy Park and local high school stages.
  • Lee’s Summit Historical Society: Operates the Harris-Kearney House and provides exhibits and programs about local history.
  • Powell Gardens: Large botanical garden and education center with over 2,000 acres of scenic trails and gardens.
  • Lee’s Summit Art Fair: Hugely popular annual fair in downtown Lee’s Summit featuring artwork from across the country.
  • Legacy Blast: Massive Independence Day fireworks show and music festival at Legacy Park. Attracts over 30,000 attendees.
  • Downtown Lee’s Summit Farmers Market: Weekly farmers market May through October with fresh local produce, baked goods, crafts and more.
  • Jazz in the Summit: New annual jazz festival with local and national acts held downtown.

From contemporary arts to historical heritage sites, Lee’s Summit’s cultural offerings create a vibrant sense of community.

Colleges and universities

Although no major colleges or universities are located directly within Lee’s Summit, the city is served by several nearby institutions:

  • University of Central Missouri: Public university in Warrensburg, about 30 miles southeast of Lee’s Summit. Offers over 150 academic programs. Enrolls around 11,000 students.
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City: Public research university located 15 miles to the north in Kansas City. Known for strong science, medicine and performing arts programs. Has an enrollment of over 16,000 students.
  • Metropolitan Community College: Major community college system based out of Kansas City. Operates a campus in nearby Blue Springs that offers associate’s degrees and career training programs.
  • Cleveland University – Kansas City: Private chiropractic school located 12 miles north of Lee’s Summit in Overland Park, Kansas. Grants Doctor of Chiropractic degrees.
  • Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: Christian seminary affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Located 20 miles north in Kansas City.

Lee’s Summit students can also readily access other colleges and universities in the Kansas City metro via I-470, Hwy 50 and other major transportation routes. These include Rockhurst University, Park University and more.


Lee’s Summit is served by numerous media outlets including:


  • The Kansas City Star: Major Kansas City newspaper that covers Lee’s Summit news regularly.
  • The Lee’s Summit Journal: Local weekly print and online newspaper focused solely on Lee’s Summit.


  • KSHB-TV NBC Action News: NBC affiliate based in Kansas City that reports Lee’s Summit news.
  • KCTV5 CBS News: Prominent CBS affiliate serving the metro area.
  • KMBC 9 ABC: Long-running station covering greater Kansas City.


  • KBEQ Q104: Top 40 radio station licensed to Lee’s Summit.
  • KCXL 1140AM: Local AM news, sports and talk radio station.
  • KCFX 101 The Fox: Popular Kansas City FM rock station.


  • LSMO.info: Hyperlocal news site offering Lee’s Summit headlines, features and event coverage.
  • LSJournal.com: Website companion to the weekly Lee’s Summit Journal newspaper.
  • Lees Summit Tribune: Online-only news outlet reporting on the Lee’s Summit area.

Residents also have access to the major national TV networks and all Kansas City media outlets for metro news and entertainment.


Some key roadways serving Lee’s Summit are:

  • Interstate 470: Primary east-west highway that bypasses Lee’s Summit to the south. Connects to I-70 and goes into Kansas.
  • US Route 50: Major east-west highway that runs through the center of Lee’s Summit as a freeway. Stretches coast to coast.
  • Missouri Route 291: Freeway that links Lee’s Summit with Interstate 470, downtown Kansas City, Independence and points north.
  • Interstate 470 Inner Belt: Under construction freeway loop that will encircle metro Kansas City, including Lee’s Summit’s far north side.
  • Missouri Route 150: Arterial street that travels east-west through the middle of Lee’s Summit. Historic route.
  • M-291 Highway: Arterial road that spans diagonally from southeast to northwest Lee’s Summit.

Other notable roads include Ward Road, Langsford Road, Chipman Road, View High Drive and Todd George Parkway. The city maintains over 900 total lane miles of roadways.

Lee’s Summit’s roads connect residents to the entire Kansas City metropolitan region. Easy access to major interstates allows convenient commutes.

Major Landmarks

Some of the major landmarks and points of interest in Lee’s Summit include:

  • John Knox Village: Sprawling senior living campus offering independent and assisted living. Established in 1965 as one of the nation’s first retirement communities.
  • Legacy Park: Massive 645-acre city park featuring a events center, amphitheater, nature center, sporting facilities, and walking trails.
  • Powell Gardens: Beautiful public garden with lush botanical displays across 915 acres of meadows and woodlands. Home to historic Powell homestead.
  • Harris-Kearney House: Historic home built in the 1860s that served as a Civil War hospital. Operated as a museum by the Lee’s Summit Historical Society.
  • Woodneath Oaks Amphitheater: Outdoor performance space nestled amidst the woods of Woodneath Oaks Park. Hosts concerts and events.
  • Amtrak Lee’s Summit Station: Revival of the historic 1903 Missouri Pacific Railroad Depot as an Amtrak station serving Kansas City-St. Louis trains.
  • Greenwood Methodist Church: Striking neo-Gothic limestone church constructed in 1928. Historic downtown landmark.
  • Summit Waves: Large municipal aquatic center with a million-gallon wave pool, slides, and recreational pools.
  • Missouri Town 1855: Outdoor museum recreating a pre-Civil War Missouri village with over 30 historic buildings.

From iconic parks to historic sites, Lee’s Summit offers many distinctive landmarks for locals and visitors to appreciate.


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  • Option 1: From Downtown Lee’s Summit, MO Head northeast on SE Green St, turning left onto NE Douglas St. Continue until you reach NE Skyline Dr. Turn left, and 20 NE Skyline Dr is on the right.
  • Option 2: From I-470 East Take the Douglas St/Colbern Rd exit from I-470 E. Merge onto NE Colbern Rd, turn right on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. Find 20 NE Skyline Dr on the right.
  • Option 3: From Unity Village, MO Travel east on NW Colbern Rd, turn right on NW Woods Chapel Rd. Left on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. 20 NE Skyline Dr will be on your right.