Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2011

100 years ago: KU sports benefactor dies

September 22, 2011


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Sept. 22, 1911:

Colonel John James McCook, a New York lawyer, died today from pneumonia at his summer home. He was 67 years old. The death of Colonel McCook is of more than passing interest in Lawrence for to this man this city and Kansas University is [indebted] for the present athletic grounds as he gave the money with which McCook Field was purchased. It chanced that in 1890, Col. McCook, who was then an attorney for the Santa Fe railroad, came to Lawrence and attended a Baker - K.U. football game. It was played on the old university field on the 1400 block of Massachusetts street. It was only a vacant lot, and entirely inadequate for the needs of the university athletes. Col. McCook saw the game and became interested in Kansas University and her athletics immediately and offered to give the money for the purchase of a more suitable field on which the athletic events of the university might be held. The officials at the university began to look around for a location and finally decided upon the beautiful tract of land lying below the university hill and made arrangements for its purchase. They had received $1,500 from Col. McCook but the property which they desired to purchase was valued at $2,500. It was owned by Governor Robinson and the latter agreed to turn it over to the university for the $1,500 that had been given by Col. McCook. Thus the land came into possession of the University of Kansas and in honor of the donor it was named 'McCook' and since that date Kansas University athletic contests have been held on McCook Field."


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 5 months ago

It's unfortunate that the football field no longer carries Colonel John James McCook's name!

I have been to McCook, Nebraska many times, so I just had to look it up to see if it was also named for him. No, it wasn't. Instead, it was named in honor of Alexander McDowell McCook, a Brigadier General in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

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