Roses are red … and pink … and white …

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

Between Oct. 21 and 24 of 1864, the area we now know as Loose Park was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River.

The Battle of Westport involved more than 30,000 troops and saw roughly 1,500 casualties on each side. The decisive Union victory put an end to the Confederacy’s threat to Missouri. A hotly contested border state, Missouri was now firmly in Union control. The Battle of Westport was the last major Confederate threat to the Union during the Civil War.

The rose garden shown here on this Max Bernstein linen postcard is the realization of a dream that began around 1931 under the leadership of Kansas City matron Laura Conyers-Smith, who envisioned a public garden of roses and established the Kansas City Rose Society.

Organized in a circular pattern under the design leadership of Herbert Hare (of the partnership of Hare & Hare, who went on to design the Cliff Drive Park Subdivision), the original planting consisted of a mere 120 rose plants.

Since its inception, the garden has grown to more than 4,000 rose plants, consisting of approximately 150 varieties, covering almost two acres of ground. The garden was officially re-named the Laura Conyers-Smith Rose Garden in 1965 and has been the site of thousands of wedding ceremonies over the years, including one of a former editor of this newspaper.

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