Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kansas City in Platte County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Atkins Gift

 
 
Atkins Gift Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., December 19, 2010
1. Atkins Gift Marker
Inscription.
She was a woman of few words, but her wealth spoke volumes. Mary Atkins had been a school teacher in her younger years, and didn’t marry until her early forties when she met and fell in love with widower, James Burris Atkins. Then, just eight years into their marriage, Atkins, a successful real estate speculator, fell ill and died. Mary was left with a $250,000 estate. To some that amount would make a comfortable nest egg, but to Mary, it was simply “seed money.” Over the next 25 years, following in her husband’s speculating footsteps, Mary Atkins grew her estate to more than one million dollars. She died on October 13, 1911, and, in death, her will said more than Mary had spoken in her whole life.

Of the million dollar-plus estate, Mary left half to her relatives, a quarter to her church and an amazing $350,000 to Kansas City for the purpose of building an art museum. The city was so stunned, it took 16 years to decide how to use the money. Not a bad thing when you consider that Mary’s gift had doubled in value while it waited patiently in the bank.

In 1915, as decisions were being finalized, William Rockhill Nelson passed away and designated his estate to the purchase of works of art and designated his heirs’ estates for a building to house the art. And such was born a marriage truly “made in
Atkins Gift Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., December 19, 2010
2. Atkins Gift Marker
heaven.” The city combined the two gifts and created the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the quiet Mary Atkins, who lived out her last five years as a recluse in downtown’s Washington Hotel, made an enduring mark on Kansas City culture.
 
Erected by Kansas City International Airport. (Marker Number B13.)
 
Location. 39° 18.88′ N, 94° 42.157′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Platte County. Click for map. Marker is at Passenger Kiosk B13, in Economy Parking Lot B, at Kansas City International Airport, 601 Brasilia Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Kansas City MO 64153, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. KC: On Flight (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tribal Heritage (about 400 feet away); Hale: The Firepole (about 400 feet away); Airport History (about 400 feet away); KC's Baseball Story (about 400 feet away); The Liberty Memorial (about 500 feet away); Home of BBQ (about 500 feet away); Art and Soul (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Kansas City.
 
More about this marker. The Economy Parking Lots' passenger kiosks each have unique historical markers and flashy artwork to help passengers remember where they parked.
Atkins Gift Marker Artwork image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., December 19, 2010
3. Atkins Gift Marker Artwork

 
Also see . . .
1. Kansas City's Philanthropic Tradition. (Submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. The Mary Atkins Series at The Nelson-Atkins Museum. (Submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicCharity & Public WorkEducation
 
Economy Parking Lot B Entrance image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
4. Economy Parking Lot B Entrance
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 291 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   4. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement