By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
July 24, 2013
Once a cornfield with a wood fence around it, Heathwood Park at 10th and L Road was created as part of the Parkwood residential district in Kansas City, Kan., in the early 1900s. In May of 1947, the park was profiled in an article entitled “Big Trees of the Midwest,” written for the American Midland Naturalist by Kendall Laughlin.
Laughlin, a tree enthusiast from Chicago Ill., traveled the Midwest extensively as part of the American Forestry Association’s Big Trees Registry, searching for the largest, old growth trees in the region. The tree in Heathwood Park had a diameter of 2.5 feet and a circumference of 8.8 feet.
In October of 2005, the park underwent a facelift of sorts when former Kansas City Chief (now St. Louis Ram) Dante Hall and his X-Factor Foundation in conjunction with KaBoom and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans installed a new jungle gym and made a host of façade improvements to the park. The park is still used by the surrounding community and is now under the management and care of Wyandotte County’s Unified Government.
The card was mailed to Mrs. Maggie Lewis of Rural Route 20, Berryton, Kan., on May 14, 1917. The message on back lacks most punctuation or capitalization, but reads like a telegram: “Dear Cousin, How are you getting along and how is Roy? Was sorry to hear that he got hurt. Hope he is feeling better. Uncle Will says he is feeling better this morning than he did yesterday. Seems to be getting along just as well as he can, will be back home soon so write and let us know how Roy is. As ever, Minnie.”
The “L Road,” as it is noted on the front of the card, was re-named “Parallel Parkway” and is part of the Kansas City, Kan., boulevard and parkway system.