Westport Battlefield at Byram's Ford from Center of Confederate Line on Bloody Hill circa 1895

History of Preservation

First Efforts - 1920s

 In 1923, the Mayor and City Council of Kansas City adopted ordinances encouraging the preservation and marking of the sites associated with the Battle of Westport along Brush Creek in the Country Club District and along the Blue River at the Byram's Ford Crossing.  

Efforts to create a National Military Park at Loose Park and at Byram's Ford were pursued in 1926 in the United States Congress.  Unfortunately, the Great Depression overwhelmed these efforts.

Formation of Monnett Battle of Westport Fund - 1970s

 In 1975, members of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City banded together to form the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund, non-profit corporation.


Named in honor of the late Dr. Howard Monnett, who was the author of the Action Before Westport, the Monnett Fund raised $25,000.00 in contributions to purchase and place markers along a 32 mile auto tour of the sites of the Battle of Westport.   


To stand on a Civil War battlefield is to stand on holy ground --         

Fields consecrated by American bravery and blood. 

 Initial Land Acquisition of Battlefield - 1983

  In 1983, Commerce Bank donated to the Monnett Fund separate tracts totaling 50 acres within the site of the battlefield at Byram's Ford.   The Monnett Fund later led a successful effort to place tracts of the Byram's Ford Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.  

With the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, a predecessor to the present Civil War Preservation Trust, the Fund raised over $40,000.00 in 1992 to acquire another critical 80 acres containing parts of the National Register site.    Commerce Bank in 1995 donated another three acre tract of the battlefield to the Monnett Fund. 

Byram's Ford Big Blue Battlefield Development Plan - 2002

  Between 1995 and 2002, the Monnett Fund transferred its battlefield tracts to the Kansas City Parks Department for development and maintenance as the Big Blue Battlefield.   

The Monnett Fund published its Big Blue Battlefield Interpretive and Development Plan which provided an incremental process for creating a viable restored battlefield at Byram's Ford.  Click here to view the plan.

Most of the major objectives of this Battlefield Development Plan have been accomplished including:

  • Installation of replica artillery at Pratt's Artillery on Bloody Hill
  • Demolition of the Straco Building
  • Demolition of the Schlumberger Building
  • Demolition of the Bisbee Buildings
  • Funding for Acquisition of DuPont Warehouse
  • Opening of Visitor Center and Museum

Contact Us
Monnett Battle of Westport Fund         6900 College Boulevard, Suite 510
Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone: (913) 345-2000
Fax: (913) 345-2081
Email: battleofwestport1864@yahoo.com

Home Visitor Center Battlefield Tours Battlefield Video Preservation Plan

Saving Kansas City's Battlefield Initiative - 2006

  The success of the implementation of the 2002 development plan led to an expanded effort by the Monnett Fund to reclaim the Byram's Ford Battlefield.  The decline of the industrial district that had been built upon the battlefield presented the opportunity to finally restore this Hallowed Ground.  

Click here to view the Saving Kansas City's Battlefield Initiative.