- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A cemetery where some of Kansas City’s most well-known founders are buried is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Union Cemetery was founded before the Civil War and may contain the mass graves of people who died in that conflict, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2aAChUm) reported. The city has grown around its 55,000 graves, which date from 1857 to the mid-1980s.

Markers in the 27-acre cemetery near downtown feature the names of Pony Express co-founder Alexander Majors and 19th century Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham. Also buried there is John Calvin McCoy, who platted the town of “West Port” in 1834 and sold supplies to westward pioneers, and Johnston Lykins, who was the first legitimate mayor of what would become Kansas City.

Local historic preservationist Susan Jezak Ford, who researched and wrote the nomination, described the listing as an “honor for the cemetery and the city.”

“Listing the cemetery in the National Register can raise awareness of the history of the site,” Ford said. “It can also encourage Kansas City citizens and visitors to take a moment and appreciate this physical connection with our city’s past.”



Union Cemetery was founded in 1857 in the area between what was then known as the City of Kansas and Westport, an outfitting stop on the California, Oregon and Santa Fe trails.

“The cemetery’s name established it as a joint venture between the two growing municipalities,” according to the nomination. “Kansas City’s population and boundaries grew to surround Union Cemetery and absorb Westport by 1897.”

The original entrance to the cemetery was on a toll road that connected Kansas City and Westport. In addition to Civil War dead, Union Cemetery includes graves of veterans from the War of 1812.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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