Shawnee is a great place to live. In fact, the city was named as the no. 17 best place to live in the United States on CNN Money's 2010 list. Shawnee boasts an unrivaled sense of community with friendly local residents who are open and welcoming to newcomers. Nestled in the southwestern suburbs of Kansas City, Shawnee has always stood on its own with a plethora of local opportunities. The city lives under the slogan "Shawnee, Kansas... Good Starts Here," which shows how much people here believe in the community. Look for Shawnee apartments for rent, and join more than 63,000 residents who enjoy a high quality of life in the Midwest.
Shawnee's history dates back to the prehistoric era when the Shawnee Indians used the location as the political and religious center of the tribe. With a location on the Ft. Leavenworth/Ft. Scott military road, Shawnee was tied to the government-organized transportation routes that connected settlements in the Civil War era. In the mid-1800s, branches of the Oregon, California and Santa Fe Trails forged through the area, leading to increased trade and accessibility with other parts of the country. After the war, Shawnee became a very important agricultural service town, known as one of the leading fruit and vegetable producers in the Midwest. Local farmers supported the town through the Great Depression and allowed Shawnee residents to have a more favorable fare than many other parts of the country.
In the second half of the 20th century, Shawnee emerged as a rapidly growing city with an ethnic population and stimulating community involvement. Although Shawnee is a suburb of Kansas City, many people identify Monrovia and Zarah as suburbs of Shawnee. Residents fuel the local landscape with a larger range of activities and opportunities than most suburbs, allowing Shawnee to become a self-contained community and keeping Shawnee apartments in high demand.
The Central Baptist Theological Seminary may be the only school in town, but there are a number of traditional college opportunities located in the Kansas City metropolitan area. MidAmerica Nazarene University, Johnson County Community College and the Art Institutes International Kansas City join Avila University, the University of Missouri at Kansas City and Rockhurst University downtown in offering students a well-rounded college experience.
For those seeking work, Shawnee is home to a number of lucrative business industries. Professional and business services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare and social services are the dominant sectors in the area, joined by education, F.I.R.E, construction and natural resources, information and transportation and warehousing to make up most of the Shawnee workforce. The Shawnee Mission Medical Center is one of the largest employers in town with approximately 2,800 people working in medical, administrative and other support positions. Quest Diagnostics, Ivy Investment Management Company and the JCPenney Distribution Center are other top employers here, each providing jobs for more than 1,200 local residents.
With all of the perks of the Midwestern lifestyle, residents in Shawnee pay very reasonable rent prices. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the standard apartment in Shawnee costs $770 a month. That's $100 less than the national average. Everyday living expenses are also very affordable in Shawnee. The city received a cost of living index of 88.1, which is well below the United States average of 100.
Shawnee has many must-see attractions. The 1950s All-Electric House at the Johnson County Museum of History offers an eye-opening look at the technology of the era, with "futuristic" features like electric curtain openers, trendy appliances, moon glow lighting and hidden televisions. Visitors can take a guided tour and understand why a home in the suburbs was part of the American dream in the 1950s. Residents can also get a taste of the past on the Historical Walking Tour, which showcases 18 points of interest around Shawnee for historians and trail enthusiasts.
Shawnee is home to the annual Scarecrow Festival, where kids can paint pumpkins and build scarecrows, and local businesses can participate in the Scarecrow Contest. The festival also features a farmers market and a baking contest with pumpkin pie, fruit pie and pumpkin bread categories. The Shawnee Great Grillers Blues and Barbeque State Championship also takes place annually in town, featuring the best of Midwestern barbeque. More than 100 teams compete for cash prizes and bragging rights in many different barbeque categories including a "People's Choice" that is voted on by public judges. Other local favorite events include Oktoberfest, the John Glaser Memorial 5K and Holiday Treasures Craft Festival.
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