The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of America’s historic places that are worthy of preservation. It was authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. It is part of the National Park Service.
The National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support the public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources. More than 90,000 properties are listed in the National Register. They represent 1.4 million individual resources – buildings, sites, districts, structures and objects.
Union Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri, was founded in 1857. It is located in the city just south of Crown Center and east of Liberty Memorial. Union Cemetery is the final resting place for many people who founded and developed the towns of Westport and Kansas City.
Veterans from every war from the Revolution to Vietnam are buried in Union Cemetery (including those who fought for either side of the Civil War). Some of the graves in the cemetery are of local people who lived and worked in the local area.
Alexander Majors, the co-founder of the Pony Express is buried in Union Cemetery. George Caleb Bingham, a 19th century Missouri artist, is also buried there.
So is John Calvin McCoy, who named the town “West Port” in 1834 and sold supplies to pioneers who were heading west. The first legitimate mayor of what would become Kansas City, Johnston Lykins, is also buried in Union Cemetery.
The Union Cemetery Historical Society (UCHS) was founded in 1984. It is a 504c3 organization that restores, maintains, and preserves the burial records of the Union Cemetery, which is the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City. The UCHS has partnered with Kansas City Parks and Recreation to not only preserve cemetery records, but also the cemetery itself.
About 55,000 people are buried in Union Cemetery. It was built after a cholera outbreak occurred in 1849 filled family plots and the area’s first cemetery (built just two years before the outbreak).
A fire in 1889 damaged the Sexton’s Cottage and destroyed burial records. It was a major loss because many of the gravestones, made of wood or limestone, had eroded to the point where they were no longer legible. This left many graves unmarked and undocumented.
A second fire damaged the Sexton’s Cottage in 1985, but by then the cemetery records were kept off site (and none were lost). The Cottage was rebuilt by Women In Construction of Kansas City and rededicated in October of 1990.
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