In 1923, the Mayor and City7 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.leadership. This is a good place to show off who’s occupying the corner offices. Write a nice bio about each executive that includes what they do, how long they’ve been at it, and what got them to where they are.
Bullet-ridden log house located near the top of Bloody Hill on the Byram's Ford Road.
In 1975, members of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City banded together to form the Monnett Battle of Westport Fund, nonprofit 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.
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.
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
Because of the growth of Kansas City, few portions of the Battle of Westport of October 21-23,1864, the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi have survived. The Byram's Ford Historic District encompassing the historic ford and the associated Byram's Ford Road site has fortunately remained largely unchanged since 1864.
In 2006, the Monnett Fund launched the Saving Kansas City's Battlefield Initiative with the purpose of acquiring the rest of the battlefield adjacent to the Byram's Ford Historic District and restoring it to its 1864. It is a unique and ambitious effort to reclaim and preserve this historic battlefield.
No other effort in the national campaign to preserve Hallowed Ground has begun from this level of intervening development and disturbance. The restoration effort requires the acquisition and reclamation of key tracts of land at the battle site, which has been used previously as an industrial park.
This video produced by Lauran Smith for the Monnett Fund to launch the Saving Kansas City's Battlefield Initiative, illustrates the Big Blue Byram's Ford Battlefield following its restoration under our reclamation plan. This update includes the Fund's most recent progress since 2006 in reclaiming this Hallowed Ground for future generations.