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Swope Park, Lagoon
Swope Park, Lagoon
TitleSwope Park, Lagoon
DescriptionPostcard of Lagoon at Swope Park
Historical ArticleA pleasant spring day in 1910 found these visitors on the grassy banks of the newly finished 25 1/2-acre lagoon at Swope park. The 9-acre Lake of the Woods had also been completed and the first permanent zoo building was being built. Those who had doubted the wisdom of Col. Thomas H. Swope's gift to the city were silenced.

Colonel Swope came here in 1855 and made a fortune in real estate. He wished to do something for the poor of the city. He considered building a public library, but after spending a day outside a library he decided the patrons were all too well-dressed and that his gift should go elsewhere.

Previously he had strongly opposed all this park foolishness, but in 1896, when he was almost 70 years old, he bought 1,325 acres of rolling wooded land from David C. Mastin for $150,000 and donated it to the city.

The official naming and dating of the park took place June 25, 1896, and Mayor James M. Jones declared the day a civic holiday.

The park land lay four miles south of the city limits. More than 18,000 people attended the ceremonies. According to a ness story in The Star, They went out by rail, on tops of the cars and on coal tenders, on bicycles, in vans, victorias, buggies, buckboards, hacks, phaetons, express wagons, horseback, even on burros and on foot.

By 1910 the city limits extended to the park and the fine Swope parkway made the park more accessible.

Today the park contains 1,772 acres, with nature trails, baseball diamonds, golf courses, swimming pools, riding stables, archery ranges, tennis courts, a soccer field, resident camps, greenhouses, playgrounds and picnic equipment, elaborate zoo facilities, shelter houses and the famous Starlight theater.

Crowning a hill east of the lagoon is a graceful, white granite memorial, perpetuating the memory of the donor of the park, Thomas H. Swope.

Kansas City Times
April 19, 1969

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectSwope Park
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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