Merriam Historic Plaza Walking Path
A pioneer and leader in the development of the Johnson County area, Merriam has recorded several "firsts."
Prior to the incorporation of Overland Park in 1950, Merriam was home to the county's first high school, then known as Shawnee Mission Rural High School. Antioch Park was the first major park to be established in Johnson County. The forty-four acre park, established in 1956, functions today as one of the most popular parks operated by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.
The first permanent library building in the Johnson County Library system was built in Merriam at Antioch Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway. The library system has experienced remarkable growth since first opening, and the Antioch site is now a library branch.
Johnson County Community College began in 1969 in Merriam, holding classes in the former Merriam School building and other buildings on Merriam Drive. In 1962, Shawnee Mission Medical Center became the first full-service hospital serving the citizens of Johnson County.
Merriam was a pioneer in the field of industrial bonds and made one of the earliest applications for Industrial Revenue Bonds to finance the construction of the Montgomery Ward Customer Service Center, now known as GE Consumer Finance.
Merriam was also the first city in Johnson County to offer franchise tax rebates to citizens who qualified under income guidelines.
About the Images
First Temporary Library Building -
The first temporary headquarters of Johnson County Library was in a store located on Merriam Drive.
First Permanent Headquartes of Johnson County Library -
The Antioch Branch Library is now one of 12 branches of the Johnson County Library system.
First Hospital -
Shawnee Mission Medical Center's 54-acre campus includes a 382 bed hospital, five office buildings, a freestanding outpatient clinic and an associate child care center.
First County Park -
Pictured is the A.P. Backstrom House at Antioch Park, which became the offices of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Purchased in 1956 through general obligation bonds and the efforts of local groups and citizens, this park is one of the most popular parks in the metropolitan area.
Did you know?
Merriam was given the honor of having the first Bell telephone office in Johnson County. The office was established in the back of the post office building in 1908. The exchange was so small that Marie Campbell, the operator, knew all of her customers' phone numbers by memory.