1890 - 1920
This 1908 postcard depicts an image of one of Kansas City’s most iconic boulevards. The Paseo, which runs approximately ten miles through the city, is characterized by its scenic views, Beaux-Arts architecture, gardens, fountains, and green spaces. The Colonnade is one of the original decorative structures along the boulevard. Located between 10th and 11th Streets, the three-level pergola features Doric columns and a latticed wood roof covered in heavy foliage. Completed in the early twentieth century, The Paseo became the crown jewel of the park system and was one of Kansas City’s most popular landmarks featured in postcards.
The Paseo is representative of the City Beautiful Movement, an urban planning philosophy advocating the construction of grandiose and attractive spaces to increase the quality of life in cities across the United States. By the 1890s, Kansas City had earned its reputation as “Cow Town” and faced the growing pains of rapid urbanization. August R. Meyer, the first president of the Park Board, hired landscape architect George Kessler to remedy urban blight and the unpleasant industrial aspects of the city. Kessler’s 1893 Plan for Parks and Boulevards proposed an extensive system of parks and boulevards and outlined a master plan for the future development of Kansas City. Beautification, however, came at a cost. Kessler’s plan to create parks, The Paseo, and other boulevards ultimately displaced Black families into other overcrowded neighborhoods in the city.
Categories: Cities & Towns
Date: 1890 - 1920
Contributing Institution: Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections
Region: Kansas City Metro