Michael Bushnell

Opening to the public in 1888, Troost Park and adjoining Troost Lake were the brainchild of the Kansas City Cable Railway Company (later known as the Kansas City Public Service Company) in an effort to boost ridership for the streetcar line.

Anyone riding the Troost streetcar received a free admission to the then-newly created Troost Park Amusement Park that was developed on the site in 1887. The railway company leased land from the Porter family who had settled there in the mid-1830’s.

Opening in May 1888, park visitors were treated to forty acres of a beautiful woodland setting. Over time the cable company added a zoological garden full of exotic animals and added a pavilion and baseball diamond.

An area surrounding a natural spring was excavated and the lake was added for recreation activities such as fishing and boating.

During the mid-1890’s, when the city’s Parks Board was created, a grand north-south boulevard was planned that skirted the border of the park. Portions of the amusement park were included in the original plans for The Paseo. Property for the park and the lake were retained and an attempt was made by the Parks Board to rename the area Paseo Park. Residents however already knew the park as Troost Park, so the original name was retained.

The park, lake, and roadway were named for Dr. Benoist Troost, an early Kansas City pioneer who had large land holdings along the eastern edge of what is now Downtown near 16th and 17th streets.

A Mormon marker lies at the south end of Troost Lake, indicating  the site where Joseph Smith and 11 of his followers of the Colesville branch met and camped in August 1831. A log was laid for the first house and school as a foundation of Zion in Kaw Township.

Back of featured postcard

This Hall Bros. card was mailed to Mrs. J. V. Rose of DeKalb, Ill., in March 1924. It reads, “Dear Mary, News is scarce. Nothing unusual except a letter from Ernest saying Grandma was dead, which you knew of course. This is the lake just back of the garage I am at. I am building batteries now and like it fine. I made a 92 in my final so whenever I’m ready to leave I will get my diploma. I only have about halfa doz. letters to ans. tonight and nothing much to say. Love, Clarance.”

The Troost name may soon be cancelled from Kansas City history as there is an ordinance that is currently being advanced that would erase the Troost name from the city’s street maps. If you are an advocate of history, please make your voice heard.