Michael Bushnell

Electric Park, originally located in Kansas City’s East Bottoms community was named for the over 100,000 electric light bulbs that lined the perimeter of park buildings and rides, turning night in to day at the city’s most popular new recreation spot.

Newspaper accounts referred to Electric Park as: “the great white city of Brush Creek valley.” Sanborn Fire Insurance maps from 1907, on file at the Kansas City Public Library’s Missouri Valley Room show the new, Electric Park located at the extreme southern city limits at what is today 46th street and The Paseo. Extending east to Woodland Avenue.

The original park was established in 1899 by the Heim Brewery family near Guinotte Ave. and Montgall, just to the north and east of the J. Rieger Distillery today. Park admission was all of 10 cents. Once in, you were essentially on your own. The park moved from the East Bottoms to its new location in May of 1907 and opened to a crowd of over 50,000 who were there for the park’s gala opening.

The park boasted roller coasters, shooting galleries, a bandstand and dance hall. As dusk fell, the Living Statuary show began at the lake, a spectacle to behold indeed. Beautiful young women rose mystically from the fountain, as if on gossamer wings each hour of the evening, holding the crowd spellbound with their graceful poses, all the while flooded with colored lights that merged and blended, changing shades over their wonderful forms.

Disaster struck on May 28th, 1925 when much of the park was destroyed by fire and was not rebuilt. Part of the park remained open for a dozen years or so but the magic was lost. Times were changing and the radio, the motor car and movies were now vying for the public’s attention. Following another fire in the mid 1930’s, the park closed for good. The Village Green apartments and a shopping center were built on the site in 1948. Today there is no hint that Brush Creek’s Great White Way ever existed.