By Michael Bushnell
This postcard, published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company, shows a peaceful view of Swan Lake in Mount Washington Park.
Situated between what was then known as Van Horn Road and the old Independence Road, Mount Washington Park was one of the largest parks in the area.
In 1900, Mount Washington Cemetery Association purchased 400 of the parks’ 2,400 acres in order to build a large cemetery. The ownership group, made up of prominent Kansas Citians, enlisted the services of noted landscape architect George Kessler to design and landscape the rustic park, emphasizing the land’s natural and rugged beauty.
The 20-acre lake shown here was filled in and developed as part of the cemetery grounds.
A 1902 brochure issued by the Union Bank Note Company lists the names of the 100 “gentlemen” who incorporated the cemetery association and states: “Under the direction of Mr. George E. Kessler the grounds are being laid out on a most elaborate and extensive scale. It is expected the grounds will be opened to the public in the summer of 1902. Mount Washington will become one of the most noted cemeteries in the United States, it having so many natural advantages and under the skillful treatment as directed by Mr. Kessler, who has at his disposal the necessary funds to carry out his ideas.”
The cemetery is the final resting place for such noted Kansas Citians as Jim Bridger, Adriance Van Brunt, Robert T. Van Horn, John Calvin McCoy and Nathan Scarritt.
The divided back postcard was mailed from the Stockyards Station on Oct. 5, 1907, at 11:30 a.m. to Miss Mildred Phillips of Lawson, Mo. Another postmark on the back indicates that the card was received in Lawson at 6 p.m. that same day.
In 2019, local historians Judith King and Bruce Mathews, along with 30 civic-minded contributing authors, explored the history of Mount Washington Cemetery and the lives of many of the people buried there through the pages of the book, “Mount Washington Cemetery, In Search of Lost Time.” Sales of the book benefit the Mt. Washington Historical Society to fund their ongoing preservation efforts at the cemetery. Roof repair at the Nelson Chapel was completed in 2020 from the proceeds of the book.
Here’s a link to our piece on the book’s release: http://northeastnews.net/pages/book-to-raise-funds-for-mount-washington-cemetery/