Ward Parkway, Kansas City


Ward Parkway, Kansas City

Ward Parkway, is a neighborhood and boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri near the Kansas-Missouri state line. Ward Parkway begins at Brookside Boulevard on the eastern edge of the Country Club Plaza and continues westward along Brush Creek as U.S. Route 56 until it turns southward across the creek just before the Kansas-Missouri state line. It then continues south for four miles, terminating at Wornall Road near West 95th Street.

Ward Parkway has a wide, landscaped median, which is decorated with fountains and statuary. Many of Kansas City's finest large homes are found along Ward Parkway in the Country Club District. Recently, the parkway was the topic of a television episode of "Tour the Homes" on HGTV.

It derives its name from the family of pioneer Seth E. Ward who owned property on either side of the parkway and whose home at 1032 West 55th St. is on the National Register of Historic Places.

History

Ward Parkway was created as part of developer J.C. Nichols's overall plans for the Country Club District. Desiring a boulevard that would exceed the aesthetic value of all other streets in Kansas City, Nichols hired landscape architect George Kessler, who had designed several other luxurious boulevards throughout Kansas City, Missouri.



thumbnail|left|A home at the intersection of Ward Parkway and West 55th Street, designed by Louis Curtiss after plans by Frank Lloyd WrightAccordingly, as Nichols platted the District, beginning in 1906, he reserved space for Ward Parkway. The largest lots in the District were reserved for homes to be located along the boulevard. The Kansas City Parks Department added Ward Parkway into its formal boulevard system. Nichols traveled to Italy and England to buy statues and monuments to place at periodic points on the boulevard's wide median. He also placed ponds and decorative urns throughout the parkway's length. To promote his development, Nichols periodically placed photographs of the large homes being built along Ward Parkway in Sunday editions of the "Kansas City Star". Nichols even moved into a home just off Ward Parkway, on West 55th Street.

By the time Evan S. Connell wrote "Mrs. Bridge" in 1959, the proximity of a prominent Kansas Citian's home to Ward Parkway was seen as an indication of that person's place in Kansas City society. Around that time, a sociological research study undertaken by the University of Chicago determined that Ward Parkway and its vicinity was the most desirable neighborhood in all of Kansas City.

Notable residents of homes along Ward Parkway

* Tom Pendergast, political boss
* Keith A. Tucker, former CEO of Waddell & Reed mutual fund company [http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/15300508.htm]
* Scott Ward, head of the Russell Stover Candy Co.Fact|date=February 2007
* Richard Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block

ee also

* Country Club District
* Mission Hills, Kansas
* Ward Parkway Center
* List of neighborhoods in Kansas City, Missouri

External links

* [http://www.umkc.edu/whmckc/PUBLICATIONS/WARDPKWY/WARDINTRO.HTM Ward Parkway - a Grand American Avenue]
* [http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/rm_architecture_styles/article/0,1797,HGTV_3664_1387077,00.html Tour the Homes: Kansas City's Ward Parkway]


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