Merriam Historic Plaza Walking Path
A few years after the closure of Merriam Park, Richard Weaver Hocker developed the second largest amusement park in Merriam. Named Hocker Grove after its founder, the park was established in 1907 and remained in existence until 1919.
Again, transportation played a large part in the success of the park. Hocker was the driving force behind the Kansas City, Lawrence and Topeka Electric Railroad that linked Merriam with Kansas City and brought many visitors to the park. The park was located on Hocker Drive, north of Johnson Drive and west of Turkey Creek.
The park was the site of balloon ascensions, professional boxing matches, basketball games, picnics, and trolley parties. The large dance hall was used for dances and roller skating. A Wurlitzer automatic band organ could reproduce the sounds of 30 different instruments for the skaters.
In addition to the amusement park, a neighborhood addition called Hocker Grove was also established. Houses were built of native stone, and set on large lots along wide streets. Easily accessible parks made Merriam a suitable place to raise young children. Today, many of the original homes remain, and Hocker Grove is a sought after neighborhood featuring mature trees and rolling landscape.
About the Images
Pictured is a typical trolley car and conductor. The Hocker Grove Line trolley fare was $.10 per ride.
The Home For You -
Advertising brochure used by R.W. Hocker to promote the new homes he developed in Hocker Grove.
Route of the Trolley Line -
The Hocker Grove Trolley Line (formally known as the Kansas City Electric Railroad) ran from 1907 to 1930 from Kansas City, Missouri, through Rosedale, Merriam, Shawnee, Lenexa, and Pleasant View. The powerhouse was in Merriam, just west of Turkey Creek.
Did you know?
The Hocker Grove amusement park included a baseball diamond with a grandstand that could seat 2,000. It was the home of the Merriam semi-professional baseball team.