DATE OF EVENT: Thursday, Oct. 13, 1893
DATE PUBLISHED: Thursday, Oct. 13, 1893, in The Kansas City Star
Editor’s note: More than a decade after The Kansas City Star issued its clarion call for support of public parks, Kansas City joined the “City Beautiful” movement in a big way. The benchmark document of the movement was George Kessler’s report of the Board of Park and Boulevard Commissioners that outlined the plans to improve the city. It included a plan for a series of parks linked by boulevards, many of which are still in use today. Kessler’s plan would guide the development and extension of the system, building Kansas City’s reputation of having more boulevards than Paris.
The board of park and boulevard commissioners presented to Mayor Cowherd this afternoon its reports and plans for the establishment of a park and boulevard system. For several months the commissioners and Landscape Engineer George Kessler have been working on the plans. In the preliminary work the commissioners, to familiarize themselves with their duties, visited Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Brooklyn, New York, Buffalo, St. Louis and Chicago. From the park laws of these cities they culled the best points considering their application to Kansas City and in the report presented this afternoon they give the first comprehensive plan for securing public improvements of this kind. …
It is proposed by the board to establish three large parks and various small pleasure resorts for the people within the city limits. These are to be connected by a continuous boulevard system around and through the city. In the general plan are included the bluffs in the northwestern part of the city, the West Terrace bluffs looking down upon the West Bottoms and the Missouri river valley and the picturesque territory in the southwestern part of the city. Near the center of the city, convenient of access by all classes and connected by boulevards and driveways, available territory has been selected for additional parks to make the general system a harmonious whole. …
The report deals first with the growth of sentiment in favor of parks in Kansas City, which is shown to be steadily advancing. A comprehensive and detailed statement is made of the legislation in favor of parks and boulevards and the experience of other cities far in advance of Kansas City in improvements of this sort is treated at length. Under appropriate heads the whole diversified subject is exhaustively reviewed, and the recommendations of the board set forth.
The following park districts are to be established: West Terrace park district, extending along the bluffs over looking the Union depot, from Seventh street on the north to Seventeenth on the South…
North Terrace park district, including all the territory lying between Garfield avenue and Fairview avenue on the east.
Parade park, comprising the heavily wooded and level ground between Fifteenth street and the alley north of Seventeenth street, and Woodland on the east and Flora on the West. This is designed to be used for general purposes, out-of-door games, public demonstrations and parades. It is practically in the center of the city and is really the basic point for the entire system of parks and boulevards. …
Another park is to be in the southwestern part of the city embracing the old Field park. It is to be called Penn Valley park and already possesses great natural beauty. …
The boulevard system outlined, which includes a driveway girdling the entire city, is briefly described as follows:
The point of beginning will be at the corner of Ninth and Grove streets.
North to Grove on Sixth street.
Along Sixth to Dykington street.
North on Dykington street to Independence.
Thence east until it merges with the original plan for the Independence boulevard.
At the intersection of Gladstone avenue with Independence the boulevard will turn north on Gladstone to St. John avenue.
Thence skirting along the summit of the bluffs northeast to Scarritt avenue.
East on Scarritt avenue to the city limits and Cleveland avenue.
North on Cleveland to the bluffs and thence east to Fairview.
Connecting with this Boulevard is the East boulevard. …