Established in 1857, Union Cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City. Buried there are early pioneers, veterans, and others who have left lasting and unique legacies.
Judy King and Bruce Mathews - along with other civic-minded contributors to their book, Kansas City's Historic Union Cemetery: Lessons for the Future from the Garden of Time - take an appreciative look at this important corner of local history on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. They present poignant recollections of people now interred there whose hard work and persistence helped push the nation's move west while strengthening social equality.
The Veterans Day event underscores the value of preserving the cemetery and the history it encompasses, and serves as the launch event for the new book.
Speaking along with King and Mathews are longtime civic leader Anita Gorman, Library Director Crosby Kemper III, actor-director Kevin Fewell, and art dealer and consultant Rachael Blackburn-Cozad. Fewell serves as president of the Union Cemetery Historical Society president. Blackburn-Cozad is incoming president.
Located just south of Crown Center and east of the Liberty Memorial, Union Cemetery is the final resting place for many of those who founded and developed the towns of Westport and Kansas City. Westport's first mayor, Thomas Jefferson Goforth, was laid to rest there in 1882. Tillman Crabtree, Kansas City's first policeman was buried there in 1889.
Also interred are painter George Caleb Bingham and Alexander Majors, one of three operators of the transportation and communications firm that founded and operated the Pony Express - along with veterans from every war from the Revolution to Vietnam, including those who fought on both sides of the Civil War.
Kemper will open the presentation, speaking about his chapter in Kansas City's Historic Union Cemetery on early city founders. King will talk about her vision and inspiration for the book, Gorman about the importance of preserving such historical treasures as Union Cemetery, Fewell about the cemetery's history and the role the historical society plays in its preservation, Mathews on photographing such a naturally beautiful and historically significant treasure in the heart of the city, and Blackburn-Cozad on the cemetery's future.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.