New book showcases history of city’s parks and boulevards

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Northeast News
November 19, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series is “Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards” by veteran authors, Patrick Alley and Dona Boley.

Once called “the filthiest city in the United States”, Kansas City, Mo., had been transformed into a vibrant, healthy, well-planned community. Although the process came with many financial, legal and political setbacks, the outcome has been a pride of the city for more than 100 years.

Prior to the mid 1800s, life on the banks of the Missouri River was less than satisfying for its residents. The drainage of many houses emptied into gullies and cesspools. Improvements to the city were finally considered after years of unattractive scenery, unsanitary living conditions and consistently muddy streets.

Through the diligent efforts of a handful of recently arrived citizens, political, financial, and botanical skills were successfully applied to a nascent parks system. Cliffs and bluffs, ugly ravines, and shanties and slums were turned into a gridiron of green, with chains of parks and boulevards extending in all directions. Wherever the system penetrated well-settled localities, the policy was to provide playgrounds, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, pools, and field houses. By the time the city fathers were finished, Kansas City could boast of 90 miles of boulevards and 2,500 acres of urban parks.

Patrick Alley is an investment advisor and historian for his local historic neighborhood association. Dona Boley is an advocate for the historical Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Boulevard System. Alley and Boley also coauthored “Images of America: Kansas City’s Historic Hyde Park.”

“Images of America: Kansas City’s Parks and Boulevards” is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 “http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9781467112598/Kansas-Citys-Parks-and-Boulevards”online.

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