Kansas City Photographic Juxtaposition: Ward Parkway Vs. The Paseo

A local picture book offers a classic cowtown comparison on the street level.

The setup . . .

William Rockhill Nelson, the owner of the Kansas City Star newspaper, and August Meyer, first president of the Parks Board, hired landscape architect George Kessler in 1893 to create a series of parks linked by one major boulevard — The Paseo. Running from Independence Avenue to 85th Street, The Paseo involved a series of precise tree plantings (marked by the heel of Kessler’s shoe), carefully manicured sunken gardens, rolling parklands, and hardscape elements including pergolas, fountains, ponds and memorial monuments. Ward Parkway, begun almost 15 years after The Paseo, had similar aspirations. Created to maintain the natural beauty of the area and to prevent commercial development, Ward Parkway was a part of developer J. C. Nichols’ grand plan to provide green space for residents along with carefully designed subdivisions and neighborhoods. By the 1920s, Ward Parkway had eclipsed The Paseo as Kansas City’s premier roadway.

The conclusion . . . 

"More than 100 years have elapsed since the beginning of either The Paseo or Ward Parkway projects, and time has not been kind — in an uneven sort of way."

Read more of a thoughtful review via www.TonysKansasCity.com link . . .

'The Paseo & Ward Parkway' by Mike Sinclair - KC STUDIO

The well-known KC photographer's new book tells a tale of two (Kansas) Cities.