Park a respite from city life

Postcard.9.18.2012.jpg

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
September 19, 2012 


This 3-acre lake shown on this real photo postcard published by the North American Postcard Company of Kansas City was once part of “Vinegar Hill,” considered by many to be a slum area of the city. It was described in a published account in 1921 as: “ugly old Vinegar Hill, shanty-clad, dirty and with many of those derelict elements that often crowd about railroad stations.”  

Those shacks and shanties were all razed in 1900 when the city acquired the land, and work on the 176-acre park began. Noted landscape architect George E. Kessler oversaw the construction of the park, and was ultimately responsible for the design of much of Kansas City’s growing parks and boulevards system. Kessler’s work with Kansas City’s park board started in 1892 when he was hired to transform the West Bluffs, Hyde Park and Vinegar Hill areas into some of Kansas City’s most beautiful parks and models for the burgeoning City Beautiful movement. Kessler’s plans continued through the years as part of the “Kansas City Plan.”

Kessler initially encountered much public opposition to his ambitious plans, but he was firmly backed by Park Board President A. R. Meyer and William Rockhill Nelson, publisher and owner of The Kansas City Star.

Penn Valley Park lies in what is now considered “midtown” Kansas City between 31st and Pershing Road, running from Wyandotte to Summit. In 1906, Kansas City was awarded second place among major U.S. cities for its “comprehensive, connected and completed park and boulevard system.” Much credit for that honor went to George Kessler.

The North American Postcard Company was owned by W.H. Martin of Ottawa, Kan. Martin was a prolific producer of real photo postcards of the American West as well as a full line of exaggeration postcards. Martin’s exaggeration postcards depicted huge fruits, vegetables and animals superimposed over seemingly “normal” sized human beings.

Comments are closed.

  • Celebrating with Uncle Sam: Happy Fourth of July!

    June 28th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Historians aren’t completely certain how the legendary character Uncle Sam was created, or for whom (if anyone) he was named.


    Kansas City’s old Convention Hall

    June 21st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This week, we feature a rare advertising postcard showing the old Convention Hall, which was destroyed by fire in early April 1900 — just 90 days prior to


    Century-old view of KC from river

    June 14th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s riverfront on the Missouri River is pictured in this old, turn-of-the-century postcard published by The Southwest News Company of Kansas City.


    Viaduct connected Kansas cities

    June 7th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This postcard, titled “United States Troops Crossing Intercity Viaduct, Kansas City, Mo.,” shows what seems to be an unending column of Army troops crossing the then-newly constructed bridge


    ‘The great white city’

    June 1st, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Electric Park was named for the 100,000 electric light bulbs outlining its buildings and rides.


  • Thoroughly modern courthouse

    May 25th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News This linen postcard, showing north and west sides of what at the time was the new Jackson County Courthouse and the intersection of 12th and Oak streets, was


    Summer brings rain, sometimes flooding

    May 17th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News As we approach the summer rain season, it is fitting that we run a postcard showing a scene in the West Bottoms during the great flood of 1908:


    Staley’s Educated Twins

    May 10th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Romeo and Aureo are identical twin pigs. They have traveled all over the country and are well educated.


    Roses are red … and pink, and white …

    May 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Between October 21-24 of 1864, the area we now know as Loose Park was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of


    ‘One of the greatest playgrounds in America’

    April 26th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News The description inside this vintage 1930s Curt Teich linen postcard folder of the Lake of the Ozarks reads, “Lake of the Ozarks is formed by a huge dam


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    KCPS announces free Pre-K programming for 1,100 students

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News July 1, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – New Kansas City Public Schools superintendent Dr. Mark […]

    Lost art from demolished Northeast building has been located

    Northeast News July 1, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – What was once lost has now been found. Despite assurances to […]

    KCPD calls for end to celebratory 4th of July gunfire

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News June 30, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri – On July 4, 2011, 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane […]