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Farmount Park, from Independence Avenue
Farmount Park, from Independence Avenue
TitleFarmount Park, from Independence Avenue
DescriptionPostcard of Farmount Park, from Independence Avenue
Historical ArticleFairmount Park had an eight-acre lake and covered an area of 50 acres on the eastern city limits. It was created by Arthur Stilwell in 1897 to save his failing suburban steam railway system the Kansas City Suburban Belt Line.

John Leeds Kerr, with Frank Donovan, describes the venture in their railroad story Destination Topolobampo:

From time to time the Belt Line was expanded. Sometimes the expansions appeared to be premature and unable to pay their way, as was the case of the line from Kansas City to Independence. But the resourceful Stilwell was not to be daunted. He purchased a tract of land near what is now the home of former President Harry S. Truman. On it he built an amusement resort called Fairmount Park, complete with an electric fountain of multicolored lights similar to the one at Versailles. Aware of the tremendously popular Chautauqua lecture circuits, Stilwell erected a meeting hall seating 2,000. A Chautauqua was held there each summer, bringing in as many as 15,000 visitors a day.

Not a 'free silver' advocate himself, Stilwell, nevertheless, paid William Jennings Bryan to debate the subject for $100 a lecture. This was the highest fee the 'Great Commoner' had received up to that time. Before long, the Fairmount Park extension was in the black, all due to Stilwell's showmanship.

Many Kansas Citians remember the park (which closed in the mid-'30s) for swimming and boating, the horse races, colorful landscaping of flowers, the small hotel rides to and from the park on the old steam trains. Some even remember Loula Long, a young girl in braids, riding in early horse shows there.

Today the site of the old park is covered with suburban homes.

Kansas City Times
September 7, 1979

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