HISTORY OF MARLBOROUGH PARK
Marlborough Park is an 18-acre park in Kansas City, Missouri. It is located in the South Park District and is a part of the 5th Council District. The heavily wooded acreage was purchased by the KCMO Parks Department in 1981. This land had been platted for a subdivision but was never developed.
At the turn of the century, the region known as Marlborough had no legal boundaries but was generally considered the area between Troost and Prospect from 79th to 85th. It was a village of working people, most of whom were employed in Kansas City. In the 1920s the neighborhood boasted a dry goods store, two drug stores, and a grocery store at 81st and The Paseo (then called Woodland). Development expanded with the arrival of street cars in the early 1930s. The trolley had a station at 85th and Prospect and served the area until being phased out with the arrival of busses in the late 1930s. By the 1940s the area saw a rapid growth of business with a strip of stores, theatres, a barbershop, and gas stations on The Paseo at 80th. In 1947, Marlborough became part of Kansas City; the city annexed the area between state Line and Indiana from 77th to 85th.
The annexation of Marlborough spurred a change in demographics; in an interview for a story titled “Resilient Marlborough” issued by South Town Magazine, a resident described the effects of social changes as a “transition from a predominantly older population to a younger one, a broader racial mix, and a larger mix of single-parent families.”
THE EARLY 20S
From 1922 to 1924 there were 29 cases of typhoid fever from drinking water from a damned up spring in the Marlborough park area, into which drained the sewage of the community.
Around the 1920’s land in the Marlborough area was subdivided into different platts, thereafter to be known as Marlborough Gardens, Marlborough Grove, Marlborough Hill, and Marlborough Plaza
Connection to the area decreased in 1957 with the closing of the Dodson trolley car along Paseo Boulevard to E. 85th Street. Trolley Track Trail is a present-day rails-to-trails project now maintained by the KCMO Parks Department that provides a walking and biking path from Brush Creek near the Plaza all the way to the historic Dodson terminus. The Fairyland amusement park was just north of this area but closed in 1977 after severe storms hit the area.
THE EARLY 80S
After the Parks and Recreation department purchased the park in 1981, plans to improve the park were spawned from a neighborhood community meeting when park officials asked residents to make suggestions. Using $47,500 in sales tax funding, Parks and Recreation crews cleared and seeded many areas of the park. Additional improvements planned for Marlborough park included a trail around the park, a shelter house, a sled run, and additional landscaping. As well as a playground, grills, and picnic tables.
Marlborough Park currently has one shelter with a seating capacity of 24 people. It also comes equipped with one grill and a water fountain. Today the park is in need of environmental restoration and active programming to make the park safer and useable for the community. Its distinct topography and forested areas could provide opportunities as a unique destination for Marlborough residents to enjoy nature and active recreation experiences close to home.
Today the park is in need of environmental restoration and active programming to make the park safer and useable for the community. Its distinct topography and forested areas could provide opportunities as a unique destination for Marlborough residents to enjoy nature and active recreation experiences close to home.