Lincoln Electric Park, a delight to the city’s Negro population

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News


As part of our Black History Month, we revisit a set of images we ran in 2019 featuring an amusement park dedicated specifically to the city’s Black Population, Lincoln Electric Park.


During the early days of the 20th century, Kansas City’s Black population enjoyed only limited access to the tennis courts on The Paseo and in Swope Park, where specific days were allotted for “colored” people to attend.


That changed in April of 1915 when a group of publicly-spirited financiers filed paperwork with the circuit court in Jackson County to establish an amusement park near 20th & Woodland Avenue for the enjoyment and patronage of the city’s Black community. Lincoln Electric Park was financed by local concrete contractor George Siedhoff, his vice president Locis Hector, and secretary Earl S. Ridge.


Financed for $60,000, the park stretched from Mayfield Avenue south to the Belt Line railroad between Woodland and Euclid avenues. It opened to much fanfare in the local Black-owned press outlets on Saturday, May 15, 1915, and boasted that it was the only park in the city being under “Negro management.” Its corporate motto was “Order at all times.”


Lincoln Electric Park had an Eli Ferris wheel, a large, three horse abreast merry-go-round, a dance pavilion with a live orchestra directed by Major N. Clark Smith, and a 750-foot promenade of Black owned concession booths. An article in the May 28, 1917 edition of the Kansas City Independent stated that the park was swiftly gaining favor among patrons as “the” place to see and be seen. While an opening crowd of 8,000 might not seem notable by today’s standards, it was something to cheer about for the Black community.


“The success along any line is to give your patrons the best on the market and that is where I figure a big season for Lincoln Electric Park as my attractions booked are nothing less than stars,” said the General Manager of the park on the prospect of the upcoming 1917 season. The opening “figured conspicuously in the nation’s patriotism by raising the stars and stripes at 12:30 p.m., followed by a few short patriotic speeches.”


The park’s life was short lived, however. 1925 Sanborn maps and city plat maps show no indication that an amusement park had occupied the site. The same 1925 map shows a row of commercial storefronts occupying Mayfield Avenue subdivided into two smaller residential plats. Mayfield Avenue was graded over sometime afterward, creating a larger, industrial use lot. Today the site is occupied by a beer distributor, a commercial laundry business, and an auto body paint distributor. Some quick calculations show that Mayfield Avenue would have roughly been where the entrance to the United Beverage Company parking lot is today.


Special thanks to Mr. Logan Thompson for clueing us in on the existence of Lincoln Electric Park and the role it played as a recreation destination for the city’s Black community. Additionally, to the Black newspapers of the day, The Kansas City Independent, The Kansas City Sun and the Kansas City Advocate. Thanks also to the Missouri Valley Special Collections staff for their ongoing assistance and research in the crafting of our weekly historic postcard column.


Lincoln Electric Park is also a stop along the African American Heritage Trail, a virtual, multi-stop trail that spotlights various locations of Black History importance in Kansas City. For more information on the AAHT, visit: https://aahtkc.org/.

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.

  • Remember This? Alvin & The Chipmunks

    23 hours ago
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor If a chipmunk could sing, what would it sound like? Under the stage name of David Seville, […]


    Steaming through Missouri history on the Steamboat Chester

    23 hours ago
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This Fred Harvey postcard shows a scene near the Municipal Wharf at First and Main streets. Two […]


    Remember This? Tax mills

    April 14th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor How do you pay a fraction of a cent? This was the dilemma when the Missouri Legislature […]


    Winwood Beach: the Atlantic City of the West!

    April 14th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher A mere three stops after boarding the interurban car of the KCCC&SJ’s (Kansas City, Clay County & […]


    Remember This: L’eggs

    April 7th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Just like the bright plastic candy-filled eggs found in Easter baskets or backyards, L’eggs hatched a new […]


    Kinney Shoes: The same shoe for less money

    April 7th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News To dovetail with our “Remember This” feature of the week that remembers L’eggs Panty Hose, we […]


    Remember This? Sacagawea dollar coins

    March 31st, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Nearly two centuries following the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, their young Native American guide […]


    Dedicated sisters founded Children’s Mercy

    March 17th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Katherine Berry was born in Cave Spring, Ky., in 1860, eight years after her sister, Alice Berry […]


  • Remember This? The Unsinkable Molly Brown

    March 17th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor The interesting life of Missouri native Margaret Tobin Brown has been presented in two acts on stages […]


    Remember This? Patty Duke

    March 10th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor In movies and on television, America watched Anna Marie “Patty” Duke grow up. Born in 1946, she […]


    From Bawdy House to House of God: the Life and Times of Annie Chambers

    March 10th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Born near Lexington, Ky., on June 6, 1843, young Leannah Loveall would go on to live a […]


    Remember This? Little LuLu Moppet

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor She may be little, but she hasn’t aged a bit while providing laughs to generations. “Little Lulu” […]


    “Her husband may have built landmarks, but Sarah Coates helped build lives.”

    March 3rd, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Sarah Walter Chandler was born on March 10, 1829, in Kennett Square, Penn., to Quaker parents John […]


    Remember This? Gates Ol’ Kentuck Barbecue

    February 24th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Countless barbeque restaurants dot the neighborhoods in and around Kansas City today, but during the early years […]


    Remember This? Ragtime two-step

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor More than 70 years after its composition, a Ragtime two step became a chart-topping recording. “The Entertainer” […]


    Paseo YMCA plays major role in Black History

    February 17th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week, as part of our ongoing Black History Month series, we spotlight the Paseo YMCA located […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • 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.