One of Kansas City's most recognized monuments is the Liberty Memorial at The World War I Museum. However, there is another World War I monument in Kansas City that sits on the West side of the state line: The Rosedale Memorial Arch. Those who visit the Memorial are struck by its beautiful design and also, the gorgeous view of the Kansas City skyline behind it. Guest blogger Lisa Waterman Gray had the opportunity to help raise funds for this monument's much-needed restoration in the 1980s and shares her story on saving a piece of Kansas City history.
The first inkling you'll have that the Rosedale Memorial Arch
sits nearby is a highway sign before the Rainbow Blvd. and Southwest Blvd. exit off of I-35. From Southwest Boulevard visitors travel up steep Booth Street to an almost hidden entry road called Memorial Drive. Spectacular views of the Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS skylines are available from high inside the tranquil little park that enfolds this lovely monument
Most easily visible amid spotlights after dark, the Rosedale Memorial Arch in Kansas City, KS honors soldiers from the town of Rosedale who served as members of the 42nd Rainbow Division during World War I. The monument is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and based on sketches of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe by a young soldier named John Leroy Marshall. When the Arch was dedicated in 1923 the town of Rosedale had been absorbed by Kansas City, KS.
In 1988, the Rosedale Development Association – a local neighborhood and business group – noticed that the monument was in disrepair. They raised the money needed for a massive restoration project in honor of the Arch’s 65th anniversary, which included a donation through their city councilman.
A professional restoration company cleaned and repaired the structure. A local ironworks manufacturer donated a tall wrought iron fence to protect the Arch from vandalism and a local cement company donated materials and labor to rebuild cement platforms that surrounded the Arch. Government officials, representatives from the Rainbow Division and community members attended the massive celebration that followed.
In subsequent years reliable spotlights, street lights placed along the curving park driveway and a flagpole were added to the site. Then in 1993 the city added a monument beneath the Arch designed to honor soldiers who fought in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. Today this site provides peaceful surroundings and lovely skyline views as it commemorates scores of local war veterans.
The Rosedale Memorial Arch offers a glimpse of Paris without the plane fare. There’s no charge to enter the park which is open dawn to dusk Mon.-Fri., Nov.-March; or dawn to dusk daily from April-Oct.
Lisa Waterman Gray (@storytellerkc) is a freelance writer and photographer in Overland Park. She regularly writes about travel and food topics, and also writes human interest, health, and business stories on her site www.lisawatermangray.com.