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

Lake in Peter Pan Park / Emporia, Kansas

Lake in Peter Pan Park
Lake in Peter Pan Park | Source

Mr. William Allen White statue

Statue of William Allen White in Peter Pan Park
Statue of William Allen White in Peter Pan Park | Source

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.

Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas

Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas
Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas | Source
Peter Pan statue in the park memorializing Mary White who lost her life in a horse riding accident.
Peter Pan statue in the park memorializing Mary White who lost her life in a horse riding accident. | Source

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 night-time 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 townspeople to have American Presidents in their midst!


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.
Colorful Fall reflections in the Peter Pan Park lake. | Source
Another view of the lake and park.
Another view of the lake and park. | Source

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.

Cute video of Wendy and Peter Pan flying. "I NEVER want to grow up!!!"

Did you enjoy learning about William Allen White and seeing some photos of Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas?

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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 and check out Peter Pan Park.

The park is a little gem of a place that invites one to linger and enjoy its beauty.

A markerEmporia, Kansas -
Emporia, KS 66801, USA
[get directions]

Learning about William Allen White, The Emporia Gazette and viewing Peter Pan Park was a treat!

5 stars for Peter Pan Park in Emporia, Kansas

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 30 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 22 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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.


heytoto profile image

heytoto 22 months ago from Lexington, Kentucky

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 W profile image

Peggy W 23 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

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 profile image

Virginia Allain 24 months ago from Central Florida

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 W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

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.


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