Kansas City’s first memorial

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

Dedicated on June 2, 1909, the August R. Meyer Memorial, at 10th Street and Paseo Boulevard, was the first memorial to be placed in a Kansas City park.

The monument was placed four years after Meyer’s death at age 54. This postcard, published by the Southwest News Company of Kansas City, Mo., shows the memorial from a vantage point on 10th Street. Built of Indiana Buff Limestone, the imposing memorial stands nearly 30 feet tall and measures close to 12 feet wide and more than a foot thick in places. In the pedestal beneath the bronze frieze of Meyer holding a set of binoculars standing beneath a mighty oak tree reviewing a set of blueprints, the following is carved: “In memory of August R. Meyer, first President of the Parks Commission of Kansas City. Horses and shops are man’s, but grass and flowers are God’s own handiwork. Undaunted, this man planned and toiled that dwellers in this place might ever freely taste the sweet delights of nature.”

Meyer was born in St. Louis to German immigrants in 1851. Educated in Europe, he came to Kansas City in 1881 after partnering in a successful mining operation in Colorado with partner H.W. Tabor of the “Baby-Doe” mine. Meyer opened a smelting plant in the Argentine district that eventually employed more than 1,000 men. Named President of the then fledgling Kansas City Parks Commission in 1898, it was Meyer who sought out the services of noted Landscape Architect George Kessler for the design of Kansas City’s new Parks and Boulevards system. Meyer’s 26-room mansion located at 44th Street and Warwick Boulevard is now part of the Kansas City Art Institute.

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department recently completed a renovation of the Meyer Memorial on Paseo Boulevard as part of an ongoing restoration project beginning on the north with the Women’s Fountain at 9th Street and stretching south to roughly 19th street.

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