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Swope Park, Shelter House and Sunken Garden
Swope Park, Shelter House and Sunken Garden
TitleSwope Park, Shelter House and Sunken Garden
DescriptionPostcard of Shelter House and Sunken Garden at Swope Park
Historical ArticleThe beautiful rolling land along the Blue river which Col. Thomas Swope gave to Kansas Citians in 1896 is today the second largest municipal park in the United States.

The northwest part of Swope park was developed first and by 1907 the park board reported, an entrance and shelter house of native stone (shown in this 1910 postcard); landscaped flower beds around the mall; golf links near the entrance, in fine shape due to constant mowing with horse mower and roller attachment; tennis courts; athletic field east of Blue river with baseball fields; picnic areas south and east of pavilion; rifle range; refreshment building; and a 217-foot span steel suspension bridge for pedestrians, over the Blue.

In the same statement a Farming Report was given showing a profit of over $2,000 on corn and hay lands farmed on the acres not used by park facilities. Horses used by the city and on the farm had been supplied with grain and fodder, in addition to the surplus sold.

The Hickman Mills road was the only road through the park, and there were dangerous railroad crossings.

It was at the time of this 10-year report on Swope park that a group of local people began talking about the park being a fine place for zoological garden.

Some good-natured ridicule greeted the first talk of this improvement, but gradually the idea came to have the approval of all, and when the city council set said $15,000 for construction of a bird and animal house at Swope park, there was no opposition.

A fine rock quarry in the park supplied the fieldstone used for the building, which eventually cost $30,000. The heads of various kinds of birds, carved in stone, formed an unusual trim outlining the gables of the building.

It was opened and dedicated December 13, 1909, two months after the death of Colonel Swope.

Kansas City Star
August 16, 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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