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Armour Blvd. Historic Survey | Print |

A Legacy of Design–An Historical Survey of the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Boulevards System, 1893–1940

Editors: Janice Lee, David Boutros, Charlotte R. White and Deon Wolfenbarger, Kansas City Center for Design Education and Research, in cooperation with the Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City. Kansas City, Missouri, 1995


Armour Boulevard extends 1.25 miles from Broadway east to The Paseo, between Thirty-fourth Terrace on the north and Thirty-sixth Street on the south. The predominantly residential surroundings include high-rise apartments. Eight-foot-wide grass margins and 6-to-8-foot-wide sidewalks line the straight, 60-foot-wide roadway. The boulevard was originally lined with a double row of elm trees. Pin oak trees now line the roadway from Gillham Road to The Paseo.


In 1896 plans were presented to the Board of Parks Commissioners for a boulevard along Thirty-fifth Street, from Holmes Street to Lydia Avenue (now The Paseo). The park board acquired the land in 1899. In 1900 the park board named the new boulevard for Simeon B. Armour, a member of the first official park board and the head of the Kansas City branch of the Armour Meat Packing Industry. Landscape architect George Kessler designed Armour Boulevard according to the standard 100-foot right-of-way proposed in the first Board of Park Commissioners report of 1893. Grading and paving occurred during 1900-01. In 1928 Armour Boulevard was widened and the curbside row of trees was removed; during the next year the roadway was repaved with asphaltic concrete.


Armour Boulevard has retained its integrity of location and most it its integrity of setting, design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Its property boundaries date from the 1899 acquisition. Sufficient numbers of trees remain to recall much of the designed setting. Although traffic has increased, and six-story apartment buildings have replace the houses originally lining the boulevard, Armour Boulevard retains the feeling of a broad green avenue servicing a predominantly residential neighborhood. Materials and workmanship have been altered by the 1928-19 widening and repaving, but such changes in street construction were anticipated by Kessler. The boulevard retains its association with Kessler and Simeon B. Armour.


Armour Boulevard is significant in the area of landscape architecture as one of the earliest boulevards employing the 100-foot right-of-way standard. It constitutes a major crosstown link between Broadway to The Paseo, and is an example of one of the straight, formal boulevards following the existing street grid plan. Its significance as an example of landscape design is heightened because of its integrity of design and materials. In the areas of community planning and transportation, Armour Boulevard is significant as an early boulevard which became a major crosstown link to the new southern residential districts.

Note: The Armour Boulevard Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Armour/Gillham Historic Apartment–Hotel District is listed on the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.

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