Mt. Washington still a peaceful respite

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

This postcard published by the Webb-Freyschlag Mercantile Company shows a peaceful view of The Rest in Mount Washington Park.

The divided-back postcard was mailed on July 15, 1908 to Mrs. Grace Drake, fourth floor, in care of the Loose-Wiles Cracker Company (then located at Eighth and Santa Fe in the West Bottoms). Situated between what was then known as Van Horn Road and the old Independence Road, Mount Washington Park was one of the largest amusement parks in the area.

Four hundred of the park’s 2,400 acres were purchased by the Mount Washington Cemetery Association in 1900. This group of prominent Kansas Citians enlisted the services of noted landscape architect George Kessler to design the rustic park, emphasizing the land’s natural and rugged beauty. A 1902 brochure issued by the Union Bank Note Company lists 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 area pictured on the postcard, known as “The Rest.” was actually part of the 20-acre Swan Lake that was filled in and landscaped as part of the cemetery grounds in the early 1900s.

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