Liberty Memorial

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Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial, one of Kansas City's most recognizable landmarks, is the only major memorial and museum in the United States dedicated to World War I. On November 29th, after an editorial in the Kansas City Journal newspaper suggested a monument memorializing those who served in the [first] World War, Kansas City's City Council appointed well-known lumber businessman Robert A. Long as chairman of the “Committee of One Hundred.” 

Wight & Wight Architects

On January 22, 1882, future architect William Drewin Wight was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1911, he joined his older brother, Thomas, in Kansas City, where they created the architectural firm of Wight & Wight. The firm went on to profoundly influence Kansas City's architectural landscape with prominent designs that included the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Jackson County Courthouse, the Kansas City Life Insurance Company Building, and City Hall.

Jesse Clyde Nichols

Jesse Clyde (“J.C.”) Nichols was a nationally renowned city planner in Kansas City from the first decade of the 20th century to the 1950s, whose legacy has come under intense scrutiny for his practices of racial redlining and segregation. Among his mixed legacies are several subdivisions in suburban Kansas City, the Country Club Plaza, and the national spread of deed restrictions and homeowner associations

William Volker

As the brainchild of Kansas City philanthropist William Volker, the Board of Public Welfare was the first modern welfare department in the United States, a groundbreaking forerunner to modern welfare programs, and intended as a counterbalance to the charitable activities of the city's political machines led by Tom Pendergast and Joe Shannon. The board was just one of Volker's many memorable contributions that included the creation of Research Hospital, the establishment of the University of Kansas City (now UMKC), the Civic Research Institute, the purchase of the land for Liberty Memorial, and reportedly thousands of individuals who received his gifts when down on their luck.

Liberty Memorial: Remembering Then and Now

The Liberty Memorial arose during a period of widespread monument-building, one that ran from roughly 1880 to 1930. It was restored amidst a second such period, beginning in the 1980s and continuing to this day. Locally, these two eras correspond with Kansas City’s emergence as a modern metropolis, and with its most ambitious program of urban redevelopment thus far. In each case and in different ways, residents framed the war and its remembrance as a means to future gains. These framings offer telling views of the city’s history, its greatest monument, and the changing nature of memory.

The Liberty Memorial at Night, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial at night in Kansas City, Missouri. This vantage point faces north-northeast towards Liberty Memorial from its southern entrance. The back of the postcard includes a brief caption about the memorial and a short letter to Virginia Kathryn Way of Wahoo, Nebraska from her mother.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri This vantage point faces south-southwest towards Liberty Memorial from just south of Union Station. The back of the postcard includes a brief caption about the memorial and a short letter to Dollie Page of St Joseph, Missouri.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri This elevated vantage point faces towards Liberty Memorial from the northwest. The back of the postcard includes a short letter to Pebble Sullenger of Orrick, Missouri.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri This vantage point faces south-southwest towards Liberty Memorial from just south of Union Station. The back of the postcard includes a brief caption about the memorial and a short letter to Mrs. Newton Hicklin of St Joseph, Missouri.

Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri This vantage point faces south-southwest towards Liberty Memorial from just south of Union Station The back of the postcard includes a brief caption about the memorial and a short letter to Mrs. Louis L. Stephens of Dearborn, Missouri.

Liberty Memorial, Dedicated Nov. 11, 1926, Kansas City, Mo.

Postcard showing the Liberty Memorial, dedicated on November 11, 1926 by President Coolidge (pictured) "in honor of those who served in the world war in defense of liberty and our country." This vantage point faces southwest towards Liberty Memorial from just west of Main Street.

Liberty Memorial Rededication

Photograph of the Liberty Memorial Rededication with dignitaries standing at the base of the Liberty Memorial including former President Harry S. Truman and unidentified military officers.