Union Cemetery Listed on National Register of Historic Places – 435 Magazine

August 1, 2016

Aiming to restore and preserve Union Cemetery, the oldest public cemetery in Kansas City, the Union Cemetery Historical Society proudly announced on July 26 that Union Cemetery has been added to the distinguished list of the National Register of Historic Places.

The decision was made by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the announcement for this honor was via the director of the National Park Service on April 19, 2016.

The National Register of Historic Places is an official list of historic places across the U.S. deemed worthy of preservation under the National Park Service. The nationwide program was launched after the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Their mission supports public and private efforts to recognize, assess and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

Union Cemetery was nominated under two criteria: Criterion A, which notes local significance in Exploration and Settlement; and Criterion D because it acts as a final resting place for numerous leaders in Kansas City’s history.

Some leaders include George Caleb Bingham, an American artist who painted pioneer life along the Missouri River; Johnston Lykins, the second mayor of Kansas City;  and Milton J. Payne, the city’s youngest mayor elected at the age of 26.

The cemetery is located in Union Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City, and lives on with the hustle and bustle of more than 1,000 residents and downtown skylines, green space, dining, arts and entertainment. The neighborhood also recognizes the cemetery’s historical significance by naming residential apartments after notable leaders buried in the cemetery.

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