Merriam in Johnson County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Trolley Line & Hocker Grove Amusement Park
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
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.
Erected 2006 by City of Merriam. (Marker Number 06.)
Location. 39° 0.873′ N, 94° 41.434′ W. Marker is in Merriam, Kansas, in Johnson County. Click for map. Marker is at the Merriam Visitors Bureau, near Exit #228B of Interstate 35, and immediately southwest of the intersection of Shawnee Mission Parkway (US 56) and Eby Avenue. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6304 East Frontage Road, Mission KS 66202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Merriam Park & George Kessler (here, next to this marker); The Founding of Campbellton The Bear Pit (a few steps from this marker); The Overland Trails (a few steps from this marker); Shawnee Friends Mission (a few steps from this marker); The People of the South Wind & the Coming of the Shawnee (within shouting distance of this marker); Education in Merriam (within shouting distance of this marker); The South Park Community (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Merriam.
Regarding The Trolley Line & Hocker Grove Amusement Park. Monroe Dodd's A Splendid Ride: The Streetcars of Kansas City, 1870-1957, provides information on the Hocker Grove Line.
Also see . . . About Merriam, Kansas. (Submitted on September 6, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Entertainment • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 779 times since then and 87 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.