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Emporia, Ks - William Allen White Park Images - Peter Pan Memories

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Lake in Peter Pan Park / Emporia, Kansas

Lake in Peter Pan Park

Lake in Peter Pan Park

William Allen White

This post will address the town of Emporia, Kansas where the noted newspaper man William Allen White lived as well as the memory of his special little Peter Pan. Let me explain.

Sometimes one learns a bit about people and history by accident. That is what happened when we were traveling from Houston up to Iowa to visit relatives one year. We spent the night in Emporia, Kansas and this is what came of it.

Always on the lookout for interesting things to do or see when in different locales, I read about Peter Pan Park and we decided to check it out.

In so doing we learned much about an important public figure in Emporia whose statue resides in the park. William Allen White not only made an imprint on this town but was also a person known nationally.

William Allen White (February 10, 1868 – January 31, 1944), renowned American newspaper editor, politician, and author.

William Allen White (February 10, 1868 – January 31, 1944), renowned American newspaper editor, politician, and author.

Peter Pan Park

This is what was inscribed near his statue in Peter Pan Park:

"Emporia is known for the eloquent small town wisdom of editorials written by William Allen White, the late publisher of the Emporia Gazette. A memorial to White who died in 1944 sits on the tree rimmed shore of a lake in Peter Pan Park.

The name of this municipal park derives from an editorial White wrote after the death of his young daughter Mary in a riding accident. "She was a Peter Pan, who refused to grow up, White eulogized, affirming that her enthusiastic spirit remained even after her body was laid to rest."

William Allen White was born in Emporia and grew up in nearby towns in Kansas. He attended Kansas Universities and when an adult decided to make Emporia his home.

In 1895 he purchased the newspaper in his hometown for the sum of $3,000. He became the Emporia Gazette's editor, but was also an author and politician.

He figured largely in the Republican party and became a spokesperson for people living in the middle of America.

Five Republican Presidents became friends of his and slept in his home in Emporia. These nighttime guests were the following: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover.

That must have been quite something for the local towns people to have American Presidents in their midst!

William Allen White, newspaper publisher of Emporia, Kansas, commemorated in US postage stamp of 1948.

William Allen White, newspaper publisher of Emporia, Kansas, commemorated in US postage stamp of 1948.

The municipal park is a little beauty. A small lake was reflecting the colored leaves of the Fall season when we happened to visit there in October.

The bronze statue of Peter Pan shows a saucy little imp in a playful pose.

Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas

Colorful Fall reflections in the Peter Pan Park lake in Emporia, Kansas.

Colorful Fall reflections in the Peter Pan Park lake in Emporia, Kansas.

Another view of the lake and park.

Another view of the lake and park.

Peter Pan

Most people are familiar with the story of Peter Pan. It was one of my favorite stories and films when I was a child growing up in the 1950s. The idea of being able to fly like that intrigued me.

As stated at the top of this short article, spending just one night in Emporia, Kansas sparked my education about William Allen White and the legacy that he left behind him. It also brought back my childhood memories of Peter Pan. Hopefully you will have some fun with your memories as well.

If you happen to be driving through Emporia, Kansas be sure to check out Peter Pan Park. The park is a little gem of a place that invites one to linger and enjoy its beauty. I am certain that the people living in Emporia enjoy it often!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 21, 2015:

Hello heytoto,

Nice to hear from someone who has spent many happy days in that Peter Pan Park and also for the mention about the wonderful zoo in Emporia. The monkey house sounded interesting. It was obviously gone on the time of our visit.

Karen Kolavalli from Lexington, Kentucky on January 21, 2015:

I have so many fond childhood memories of family reunions in Emporia. My aunt lived across the street from Peter Pan Park. In those days there was a monkey house there, too. We loved going to the William Allen White bust next to the lake. The story of his daughter's death there always made us sad. I last visited Emporia a year ago, just before moving out of state. There is a wonderful zoo there--the David Traylor Zoo--and it's so much more than a zoo, really a botanical garden and a marvelous shady place to wander through on a hot Kansas day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2014:

Hi Virginia,

My mother and I were just passing through and it was almost by accident that we found the park. After researching the subject and learning about William Allen White, it would definitely be fun to tour his home and see Mary's room. That is a beautiful park in which to have had your family reunion picnics! If I ever get back there, I will be sure to carve out enough time to see the White home.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on December 19, 2014:

If you get to Emporia again, you'll want to visit William Allen White's home, Red Rock. I also saw the film Mary White and so it was a treat to see Mary's room in the house.

When I was a kid, Peter Pan Park was the site for many of our family reunion picnics.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 29, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

I am glad that we discovered this little park which then sparked my interest to learn more and thus...this hub. It was pure happenstance that we discovered it. If you ever head that way again, now you will know about it as well. Thanks for the votes and shares.

C E Clark from North Texas on June 29, 2014:

Sounds like a fun place to stretch one's legs and take a little break when on a car trip. To think that I must have traveled through there at least a half dozen times on my way north on I-35 (and south coming back) and never even thought of stopping. Will have to keep Emporia in mind if I should travel that way again.

For some reason I wasn't allowed to give you 5 more stars. Since I've not been here before, and so couldn't have already done so, I don't know why it doesn't work.

Voting this up and BAUI, pinned to my 'Travel' board and sharing with followers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 25, 2012:

Hello Courtney L J,

Emporia is a charming town! I am so glad that my mother's and my travels had us not only spending the night there, but with a bit of time to explore it as well. Thanks for your comment.

Courtney L J on May 24, 2012:

Totally appreciate the recognition of Emporia--- a great town that should be more well known!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2012:

Hello Lynne,

I believe that the Peter Pan Statue refers to her youthful spirit which never has to grow old in people. From my personal perspective, "almost 17" sounds pretty young to have died. Learning about William Allen White was interesting. Thanks for your comment.

Lynne on April 05, 2012:

Mary White was nearly 17 when she died; hardly a little girl.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2011:

Hi dahoglund,

I know that we drove through both Kansas cities on our way up to visit relatives in the Mid-West. As you say they are adjacent to one another. Emporia, Kansas is a cute little town. Glad that you liked this hub. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2011:

Hello marellen,

The Peter Pan Park was really pretty in Emporia, Kansas and we just happened to be traveling through in the Fall of the year when the leaves were colored so beautifully and reflected in the water. It was a serendipitous discovery! Glad you liked this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 12, 2011:

Hi Billy,

William Allen White certainly led an interesting life and Emporia, Kansas saw some noted people travel through there in his day and time. The story of his daughter and the park is rather touching. Thanks for your comment.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on October 12, 2011:

Interesting to see all the trees and vegetation in your pictures. One tends to think of Kansas as rather barren. May the scenes from the Wizard of Oz [promoted that image.I did live in Kansas City, Mo at one time but never got to this town.Kansas City, Mo and Kansas City,KS are basically next to each other but if you mention living in Kansas City people always ask which one. Like it makes a difference?Up and interesting hub.

marellen on October 12, 2011:

Hi Peggy, just now reading this hub and what a darling park and interesting article. Thanks for sharing this with us.

billyaustindillon on October 12, 2011:

I had no idea about William Allen White and what a great history lesson for Kansas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2009:

Hello Roger,

Thanks for adding this useful information.

Roger Heineken on July 01, 2009:

I'm glad you discovered William Allen White and Peter Pan Park. Anyone on Facebook can join the White group: William Allen White From Emporia. His 1906 editorial on domestic violence and several others are posted there. There are a number of contemprary photos of the White Historic Site and vintage images, as well.


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 02, 2009:

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Princessa.

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on April 02, 2009:

This is a very fun hub to read. Who doesn't love Peter Pan? I certainly do and have seen every Peter Pan film. The Peter Pan park looks lovely!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 29, 2009:

Welcome back Silver Freak,

The imagery you portrayed of a frisbee floating out of the fog towards you is one we can all imagine and with which we can all have some fun. Thanks!

How long did you live in Emporia?

Silver Freak from The state of confusion on March 29, 2009:

I can remember playing frisbee at a very foggy dawn after partying all night in Peter Pan Park. So cool to see the fris just float out of the fog from nowhere.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 28, 2009:

Thanks for this extra bit of information JamaGenee. I believe the motel people told us about the park if my memory serves. Certainly worth the effort to find it if anyone is ever in that area of the country.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on March 27, 2009:

The School of Journalism at KU (KS University) is named after WAW. If memory serves, Peter Pan Park isn't easy to find unless a local provides directions! Nice hub about an obscure bit of history!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2009:

I agree RKHenry. This was a great discovery. Had we not stayed overnight in that town, I might never have known about this. Thanks for your comment.

RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on March 27, 2009:

MOST EXCELLENT!!! Isn't history a wonderful adventure to explore? You never know whats in store. Thanks for the great hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2009:

Glad that this hub could reawaken those memories for you, Silver Freak. By the way, welcome to hubpages, and thanks for your comment.

Silver Freak from The state of confusion on March 27, 2009:

Lived there for a while. Now I'm homesick. Oh well, Thanks for a peek back in my past.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2009:

Thanks for adding this interesting bit of information Trsmd. He was certainly an accomplished and influential person in his day and has left behind a good legacy!

Trsmd from India on March 26, 2009:

The William Allen White Children's Book Award was established in 1952 in honor of one of Kansas' most distinguished citizens.

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