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November 22, 1909


Services for L. B. Root, Who Died on
Wedding Anniversary, Wednes-
day, Two Years After Daughter
Was Buried.

Louis B. Root, superintendent of Mt. Washington cemetery, died yesterday morning at St. Mary's hospital folowing an operation performed last Wednesday for intestinal trouble. The funeral will be Wednesday from the home of Mr. Root in the cemetery.

Mr. Root was the first superintendent of parks in Kansas City. He had lived here twenty-two years. He was graduated from Cornell college in 1875. He taught school for several years and was for four years county surveyor of Elkhart county, Indiana.

In 1893, he began contracting work, planned by George E. Kessler, landscape architect for the park board. In 1898 he made a survey of Swope park and a year later was made superintendent of the park. He has been superintendent of Mt. Washington cemetery since 1901 and his work did much to make it the finest burial place in the West.

Mr. Root died on his thirty-fourth wedding anniversary, and will be buried two years to the day from the time his only daughter, Mrs. D. C. Wray, was buried. The widow and one son, Louis P. Root, survive him. The son is engaged in mining in Salvador, Central America.

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September 3, 1909


Getting Pointers From Our
Parkways and Drives.

Indianapolis has employed George E. Kessler of Kansas City to lay out and superintend the construction of a system of parkways and boulevards. Harry L. Robbins of that city, a real estate agent, is in Kansas City at present, weighing the value of the driveways and parks here.

"It is away beyond what I expected to find," said Mr. Robbins yesterday. "You people here do not know what a great reputation you have abroad. I have heard Kansas City preached every time I have heard parks and boulevards mentioned. As a matter of fact, Kansas City is a classic in park lore now. The reputation is worth having.

"It is famous throughout the East. I do know know about the West. I expect it is known in Europe. I am not going beyond the mark when I say that it is more frequently mentioned than any other city I have ever heard of."

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July 7, 1909



If Bonds Are Voted Tuesday, Kess-
ler's Ideas of Beautifying the
Blue Valley Will Be

Preparatory and unofficial sketches for the redeeming of the Blue river and its tracks, and the addition of boulevards and parkways on both sides of the stream from the Missouri river to Swope park, have been prepared by George E. Kessler, engineer and landscape architect, for the consideratoin of the park board.

To carry out the plans of beautifying the Blue valley will necessitate funds from a bond issue, and there is not much likelihood of the park board giving it serious consideration unless bonds to be voted next Tuesday carry. If the bonds are approved by the voters the board will go over the territory and determine the applicability of Mr. Kessler's suggestions.

"The beautifying of the Blue valley and making it accessible to the use of the public for boulevards and other pleasures is a big undertaking," said Mr. Kessler yesterday. "There are many propositions involved that will have to be figured out before any definite engineering plans can be settled. The natural possibilities are there, and I have some excellent ideas.

"I believe it is possible to increase the water area of the stream by the acquirement of 100 or more acres of land at the bend in the river at about Twenty-seventh street and the installation of a dam."

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April 6, 1909


Sculptor Here to Discuss Unveiling,
Which May Take Place May 7.

Daniel Chester French, sculptor and designer of the monument to be erected to the memory of A. R. Meyer, first president of the park board, on the Paseo near Twelfth street, was here yesterday to consult with the committee of the Commercial club in regard to the unveiling. The members. The members of the committee are: E. M. Clendening, Frank A. Faxon, William Barton, H. D. Ashley, C. J. Schmelzer and George Kessler. The committee and Mr. French visited the site of the memorial and practically decided on May 7 as the date of the unveiling.

The sculptor said that the bronze statue was about finished and would be here in about two weeks. It will be seven and a half feet in height and will be supported by a bronze background.

Mr. French said that it was his second visit to Kansas city and he spoke in admiration of the parks and boulevards. He left for New York last night.

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January 31, 1909


With George E. Kessler, He Will Be
the Guest of St. Louis.

In St. Louis tonight, Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr. and George E. Kessler, engineer of the park and boulevard system, will be the guests at a banquet given by the citizens of St. Louis as the opening wedge to improved parks and boulevards for that city. The mayor and Mr. Kessler left for St. Louis last night. It is intended to follow the plans of the Kansas City system.

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October 1, 1908


Indianapolis Park Board Will View
Parks and Boulevards.

The park board is to have as guests next Saturday, Mayor Bookwaller of Indianapolis, Ind., and the park board of that city. Accompanying the mayor will be Dr. Henry Jensen and John J. Appel, president and vice president, respectively, of the park board and William J. Murray and Charles E. Coffin, members. Indianapolis is spending considerable money on its parks and boulevard system along plans and designs proposed by George E. Kessler of the Kansas City park board.

Indianapolis is taking Kansas City as a model for its public and civic improvements, and this in a way is due to the fact that Mayor Bookwalter was at one time a resident of Kansas City. A few years ago the mayor and a delegation of aldermen came to this city to get ideas from the architecture of Convention hall to build a similar structure there.

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September 9, 1908



Park Board Blamed for Refusing to
Reopen Case So That Inside
Workings of the Deal
May Be Shown.

Condemnation proceedings were begun in Judge John G. Park's division of the circuit court yesterday by the city against property owners in the Mill creek valley, where it is proposed to lay out a park. The city council on March 30 approved plans for a park, which were presented to the park board. There are 145 title holders who are interested in the court proceedings, besides every taxpayer in the Westport park district.

Shortly after the court had convened, James E. Trogdon, an attorney representing the Westport Improvement Association, entered his appearance in the case. He made an oral argument objecting to the proceedings. Judge Park ruled that the case had started, and he believed it would be best to finish it. He said that as the objectors had not taken any steps to have the city's action in the park matter set aside before, it was too late to stop the condemnation proceedings. After the jury fixes a valuation on the property, the court said it would then listen to any objections the citizens might have.

George E. Kessler, the landscape architect, was a witness in the morning and testified that in his opinion the land was not too valuable for park purposes. A. P. Nichols, a real estate dealer, was on the witness stand all afternoon. The witness was asked the valuation of property in the park district by separate tracts. The property in the valley, which, the land owners claim would be valuable switching property, the witness testified was worth about $2,000 an acre. While the persons owning the land wanted for park use are claiming the property is of more value than the city claims, the residents in the park district who will be required to pay for the improvement say the city is paying too high a price for the land. They also object to the creek valley being used as a park, on the ground that it is a real estate scheme. The condemnation proceedings will last four or five more days.

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August 1, 1908


One of the Pleasures Reserved for
Visiting Cemetery Superintendents.

The twenty-second annual convention of the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents will be held in Kansas City August 11, 12 and 13. Members of this association from every state in the Union will be present. Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr. will deliver the address of welcome and other city officials will contribute to the programme. William H. Dunn, superintendent of parks will deliver an address on "Oiled Roads," and George E. Kessler, landscape architect, will talk on "The Cemetery." Among other things scheduled on the program is a luncheon at Mount Washington cemetery at 1 o'clock, August 12.

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June 23, 1908


Is to Be Built by Park Board on
Highest Point.

When Penn Valley park is completed, a castle is to be built on the crest of the hill east of the present lake, overlooking Twenty-sixth street, the Union depot and the West bottoms. It will be the highest elevation in the city park system. George E. Kessler, park landscape engineer, is now planning the structure.

J. C. Ford, 201 New England Life building, yesterday asked the board to consider his suggestion that a building to cost not less than $5,000 be erected on the high elevation. He wanted the building to have a restaurant and a roof garden with a flag polie above to distinguish it. It was after hearing Mr. Ford's suggestion that the members of the board let out the secret that just about such a structure is to be built and that the plans are now being made for it.

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May 31, 1907



Both Call It a Perfect Work of Art --
Mr. Buchan, the Donor, Says
Cleveland Accepted a Sim-
ilar Statue Without a
Single Blush.
Venus Statue at Center of Library Controversy

The fate of the statue Venus Genetrix, now reposing in the basement of the public library in Kansas City, Kas., will in all probability be finally decreed at Monday night's meeting of the board of education. The members of the board who have been keeping this particular piece of art in seclusion ever since its presentation by Senator W. J. Buchan, will be asked to render their final decision at the next meeting. It is understood that a large number of lovers of art will attend Monday night's meeting and try to convince the board that by turning down the gift it will be depriving the library of a valuable and beautiful work of art. Leading citizens are manifesting much concern in the matter. The majority of them are in favor of giving Venus the most conspicuous location in the library building.

George Kessler, landscape architect, who has been employed to lay out a park and boulevard system in Kansas City, Kas., examined the statue at a recent meeting of the Kansas City, Kas., park board and pronounced it a most beautiful work of art.


J. P. Angle, a member of the park board, to whose office the statue was consigned by the park board, says that he has never gazed upon a more perfect work of art.

"While I do not put myself up as a critic in statuary," said Mr. Angle yesterday, "yet I have visited many art galleries, and from the collections of fine art I have seen I am frank to say I I do not believe I could pick a more beautiful piece of statuary than that which the school board has rejected."

Nathaniel Barnes, former postmaster, in speaking about the statue says that no one with a spark of love for the fine art could find the slightest objection to Venus. However, he suggests that if the school board is in doubt as to the propriety of accepting the gift and giving it a proper place in the library building, a commission might be appointed to determine its worth as a piece of fine art and also decide whether or not it should be exhibited in the library.

Mr. Buchan, the donor of the statue, in speaking about his gift and the subsequent action of the school board, said:

"I think the whole affair is too ridiculous to discuss. I went over to Italy, in my trip around the world, and while there did not forget my home town. I saw this beautiful statue in the original at Rome and bought the fine replica I presented to the board of education in Florence. I made a special trip to Florence to get the piece and paid $450 for it. It cost in transportation another $100.


"For the life of me, I can't understand the aversion of the school board for the statue. A man who was making the trip with me got a similar one for the library at Cleveland, O., and he tells me there were no objections from growing young people there.

"The funniest thing about the deal is that the excuse of the board is that young girls and boys who see the statue may have read Ouida's book in which it is criticized. Now, I may be wrong in my judgement of immoral things, but I think a girl or boy who reads Ouida's proscribed books can not be injured much by looking on the4 excellent piece of art work she condemns."

W. E. Griffith, a member of the board, said yesterday that the statue was too nude to be placed in the rotunda of the library, if not in a collection of such pieces.

"I am not prudish," said Mr. Griffith, "but I am opposed to tempting girls and boys who have not reached the age of discretion, to make remarks and draw inferences. The statue was given to us in good faith, but it is unfit. We can not help that. We are only sorry we can not use it out of courtesy to Mr. Buchan. The statue would not be half so suggestive if there was no drapery at all."


Attorney Edward Barker, 713 Minnesota avenue, who has taken considerable interest in the disposition of the Venus, yesterday conducted a party of women, including his wife, to the park board rooms where the statue is stored temporarily awaiting further action of the school board.

"What do you think of it?" Mr. Barker asked them.

"Oh, it is just lovely," they answered in chorus.

Afterward, all of the women said they would not be ashamed to have the Venus installed in their parlors or hallways.

"The school board is trying to out-Comstock Comstock," is the way Attorney Barker expressed his opinion of the action of that body regarding the Venus.

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