Michael Bushnell

Dedicated  June 2, 1909, the August R. Meyer Memorial at 10th and The Paseo was the first memorial placed in a Kansas City park. This monument was placed four years after Meyer’s death at the age of 54.

This postcard, published by the Southwest News Company of Kansas City,  shows the memorial from a 10th St. vantage point. Built of Indiana buff limestone, the imposing memorial stands nearly 30 feet tall and measures close to 12 feet wide.

Beneath the bronze frieze, which shows Meyer standing under a mighty oak, holding a set of binoculars and reviewing a set of blueprints, the following is carved into its pedestal: “In memory of August R. Meyer, first President of the Parks Commission of Kansas City. Horses and shops are man’s, but grass and flowers are God’s own handiwork. Undaunted, this man planned and toiled that dwellers in this place might ever freely taste the sweet delights of nature.”

The commission for this sculpting was given to eminent, American sculptor Daniel French.

Meyer was born in St. Louis to German, immigrant parents in 1851. Europe educated, he moved to Kansas City in 1881, following a successful Colorado mining partnership with H.W. Tabor of the “Baby-Doe” mine. Meyer opened a smelting plant in the Argentine district that eventually employed over 1,000 men.

Named president of the fledgling Kansas City Parks Commission in 1898, it was Meyer who sought out the services of noted landscape architect George Kessler to design Kansas City’s parks and boulevards system.

Meyer’s 26-room mansion — located at 44th and Warwick — was purchased by Howard Vanderslice after Meyer’s death and is now part of  Kansas City Art Institute’s campus.