Stories Behind KC Neighborhoods And Parks

Loose Park is the third largest park in Kansas City. On this segment of KCUR's Central Standard, panelists shared the stories behind the names of public spaces and communities in Kansas City.

KCUR Panelists Discuss What’s in a Name

Listen to the story here.

Ever wonder how local neighborhoods and parks got their names? On a recent segment of KCUR-FM’s Central Standard, Jeremy Drouin of the Kansas City Public Library, David Jackson of the Jackson County Historical Society and Ann McFerrin of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department shared the stories behind the names of public spaces and communities in Kansas City.

A few highlights:

  • Hyde Park was created as a private park for people living in the Hyde Park and Janssen Place neighborhoods to reclaim it from squatters who had settled there. A golf course, tennis courts and a walking trail were all built as part of this urban renewal project.
  • Westport was originally an independent city and was established before Kansas City itself in 1834 by the McCoy family. The California, Oregon and Santa Fe trails passed through. Residents of Westport eventually voted to become part of the city in the 1890s.
  • Thomas Swope originally planned to use what is now Swope Park as a farm. Swope, though generous with his philanthropic causes, wasn’t a proponent of using public land for parks. He originally wanted to donate a library to the city, but one already existed. The story goes that a friend talked him into donating the land for a park, which opened in1896 to a crowd of about 20,000 people.

KCUR-FM is a service of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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