Archive for Saturday, July 24, 2010

100 years ago: New playground to be called ‘Victor Park’

July 24, 2010


From the Lawrence Daily World for July 24, 1910:

“It is to be called Victor Park. With this announcement the perplexing question which has been disturbing Lawrence most, is permanently settled. The honor of selecting an appropriate title for Lawrence’s magnificently attractive new playground belongs to J. H. Bailey of Kansas City, who wrote, ‘This name is a symbol of everything Lawrence stands for, so far as she has never shown the white-feather nor relinquished the battle until won.’ More than 700 distinct names were submitted. The sentimental titles seemed to find the least favor with the masculine committee. These included Arcadia, Woodlawn, Sylvan Dell, Moonlight, Alamo, Fairyland, and Hill Crest. Most of these were discarded in favor of Dayton, Roosevelt, Oak View, and Haskell -- good sturdy names which appealed to the business-like fancy of the directors. Victor was one of the last to be discovered and it struck the popular chord immediately.... The latest edition of ‘Who’s Who’ in America gives 160 Kansans space in its contents and of this number twenty-five, or nearly one-sixth, are from Lawrence. The University city has more than twice as many as any other town in the state.”


SeaFox 7 years, 9 months ago

Wouldn't it be awesome if the Journal-World did some investigative journalism and added an update to this story? Like, what happened to the park? Does it still exist under a different name? Where was it?

I know. I ask too much of today's journalism graduates. I should just shut up and be happy with the latest gossip about celebrities I have no connection to at all and half-researched news stories posted as quickly as possible to garner as many advertising "hits" verses actual fact checking and exposition that grants the reader more knowledge than they can get off the average fanatic blog just as easily.

Sarah St. John 7 years, 9 months ago

Hi SeaFox!

Thanks for your interest in this story. I started working on the OHT just recently (mid-May) and I'm still working out how to link stories to earlier ones. I'm sort of looking at OHT as a continuing story; if you check in every day, you can follow the thread of events in Lawrence during the three different timelines.

I often get very curious about some of the people and places in the 1910 Lawrence Daily World, and I try to find more information on some of them. In some cases, it's not too hard, and I post updates as comments to the stories. In the case of today's story, the "naming-the-park" contest did not end with the choice of "Victor Park." Like other Lawrence residents might be, I was rather bewildered at this name. I called Parks and Rec and the historical society to try to figure out where it had been. Unfortunately, the 1910 paper never provided many clues. Stories 100 years ago were written very differently from today; the writers usually assumed that all possible readers already knew the details, so why put them in the story? As in the case with this park -- the only clues I had to its location were "at the end of the street car line" and "sixty acres."

I tend to work ahead on these, so I can tell you that in the near future (in about a week) there is another story about this park. Apparently the residents of 1910 Lawrence didn't like this "Victor Park" name, and there was even some speculation that it had been sneakily named after the son of someone (possibly from Kansas City) who had pumped a lot of money into the town. So the contest was re-opened, with a ballot of the top twelve names. Stay tuned to see what happened -- and for details on the probable location of this old Lawrence park. :)

Thanks for reading!

-- Sarah St. John

Commenting has been disabled for this item.