History of The Paseo

 

 

Kansas City’s Paseo Boulevard is one of the city’s oldest and stateliest boulevards with roots tracing back to 1893 when the city’s fledgling Parks Board, led by August R. Meyer, proposed a boulevard to run from 9th street south to 17th street.

“Paseo,” translated from Spanish, means walk, way, or promenade.

The boulevard was designed after the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, a three-mile boulevard that ran from the Mexican capital to the old castle of Chapultepec where rulers of Mexico had lived since before the Spanish conquest.

The tree-lined Paseo de la Reforma featured beautifully cultivated flower beds, ornamental circles, fountains, and statues along its route through the center of Mexico City.

George Kessler, a noted landscape architect, was hired by Meyer and the Parks Board to carry out the work of creating a world-class Parks and Boulevards system in Kansas City as part of the City Beautiful Movement sweeping the country at the time.

One of the primary tenets of that movement was the introduction of beautification in terms of parks and boulevards and monumental grandeur in the form of pergolas, terraces, and fountains throughout the core of cities nationwide.

It was during this time in the late 1890s and early 1900s that a majority of Kansas City’s urban parks and boulevards were constructed under Kessler’s careful hand.

Kessler’s involvement in The Paseo’s construction was at all levels—from the inspection of construction sites to design changes made on the fly out in the field.

Kessler considered The Paseo both a boulevard and a park, often marking the location of tree plantings by stamping the heel of his boot into the ground.

Land acquisition for The Paseo began in 1893 and the first phase of construction was completed in 1899 between Admiral Boulevard and 17th Street.

The completion of that segment was marked by a speech and dedication by none other than President Theodore Roosevelt, who was in Kansas City at the time on business of national interest.

As the city’s population grew south, more land was secured for the continuation of The Paseo, linking it with Linwood and Armour Boulevards.

By 1917, land acquisition for The Paseo was complete and its length ran from Independence Boulevard south to 77th Street.

Along The Paseo’s route, terraces, sunken gardens, fountains, and memorials were erected including a memorial at 10th Street to the first president of the Board of Park Commissioners, August R. Meyer.

Kansas City’s oldest working fountain at 9th and The Paseo, now the Women’s Leadership Fountain, was originally dedicated in 1899 and is one of the centerpieces of The Paseo’s original construction phase.

The significance of The Paseo in Kansas City’s history can’t be understated. Not only does it represent some of George Kessler’s finest work, it remains today as one of the oldest, longest and most dominant boulevards in the Parks and Boulevard System.

While this history of The Paseo is abridged, more complete histories can be found in the Kansas City Public Library’s Missouri Valley Room or in the archives of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Some of the research for this article included:

“A City Within a Park: One-Hundred Years of Parks and Boulevards in Kansas City, Missouri” by Jane Mobley and Nancy Whitnell Harris.

“Passages Through Time: Stories about Kansas City Missouri and Its Northeast Neighborhood” by Dory DeAngelo.

“A Legacy of Design: An Historical Survey of the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Boulevards System, 1893-1940” by Janice Lee, David Boutros, Charlotte R. White Deon Wolfenbarger

“The City Beautiful Movement in Kansas City” by The Curators of the University of Missouri and reprinted in 1990 by the Centennial Books Committee of the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners and William H. Wilson.

 

 

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • KC Parks help community express gratitude

    October 30th, 2020
    by

    Even in trying times, the people of Kansas City have hope – for a new season, for the virus to […]


    Mayor recommends new city manager, council to vote today

    October 29th, 2020
    by

    On Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas made a formal recommendation to the City Council for the city’s 16th city […]


    Local panel considers future of Chouteau Courts property

    October 28th, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The Urban Land Institute (ULI) wrapped up its The Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) on the former […]


    Public theatre to perform Spanish radio drama

    October 28th, 2020
    by

    Abby HooverManaging Editor For many people, the lifestyle changes COVID-19 has imposed has been an opportunity to return to the […]


    Memorial to human trafficking victims installed in Lykins park

    October 28th, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Lykins Square Park is now home to a permanent art installation memorializing victims of human trafficking. […]


    RideKC and Mahomes foundation to transport voters to polls

    October 27th, 2020
    by

    Do you have a plan to vote in the Nov. 3 election? Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ 15 and […]


    Area public schools push for tax incentive reforms

    October 27th, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor This week, Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) shared a report of the staggering impact tax abatements […]


    Homicide suspect fatally shot by police at Admiral and The Paseo

    October 23rd, 2020
    by

    Around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) officers shot one person, believed to be a […]


  • November 3, 2020 Voting Guide

    October 21st, 2020
    by

    Find the Northeast News’ previous coverage of Clean Missouri at northeastnews.net.  http://northeastnews.net/pages/heres-missouri-voters-chose-midterm-elections/ http://northeastnews.net/pages/residents-gather-town-hall-meeting-state-representative-ingrid-burnett/ Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your […]


    Day of the Dead lives on at Kansas City Museum

    October 21st, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Like many events this year, the Kansas City Museum’s 7th Annual Día de los Muertos, or […]


    Book inspires paper route in Northeast

    October 21st, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Some readers may remember having a paper route as their first job, maybe with a canvas […]


    Local effort seeks to end prostitution ‘from all angles’

    October 21st, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor For those familiar with the fight to end prosititution on Independence Avenue in Northeast Kansas City, […]


    Library transitions to bookmobile during renovation, adds notary service

    October 20th, 2020
    by

    Those picking up holds from the North-East Branch of the Kansas City Public Library will have the opportunity to visit […]


    Local Foods, Local Places: a Virtual Community Workshop

    October 19th, 2020
    by

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have selected 16 communities under the “Local […]


    Ground broken for 2600 Independence Avenue development

    October 19th, 2020
    by

    Ground was officially broken this morning on a new mixed use development at 2600 Independence Avenue. The new development stands […]


    Moving Day, Week 2

    October 16th, 2020
    by

    Acting on citizen complaints, officials from the city’s Solid Waste Department and rangers from the Parks Department cleared out a […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.