Our new house is in Lenexa, Kansas, close to Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. A pond in that park is called Lenexa Rose’s Pond. My question: who is Lenexa Rose? This article will show the process of research for finding the answer online, even though the final result is something most residents of Lenexa probably already know.
Assumptions by Lisa and myself included Lenexa Rose being the daughter or wife of some original town founder. I even thought it might have been a local dancer or other kind of entertainer. We also assumed the pond had been named since the founding of the town, possibly from the time of Wild Bill Hickok’s involvement in the area.
Internet searches lead here, so that’s not helpful. When I look for the history of the naming of Lenexa itself, Wikipedia tells me it’s pretty much named after Na-Nex-Se Blackhoof, who was a resident of the area and the widow of Chief Blackhoof. Her name also appears as Len-Ag-See. It seems she was probably dead by the 1870 census, but the town was founded in 1869, so it’s possible it was named after an influential resident at around the time of her death. Besides, it’s a better name than the alternative: Bradshaw, for the man who sold the land to be made into the town but didn’t want the namesake.
None of this explains Lenexa Rose, and I guess I assume the Shawnee Indian named Na-Nex-Se or Len-Ag-See would not have had Rose as a middle name. The original town was at Pflumm Road and Santa Fe Trail Drive, which is about one mile from the park with the pond. However, when I researched the history of the park itself, that’s when I found my answer.
The Rose family, like our family, moved to Lenexa from Wisconsin. They owned the land where Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park now exists. Apparently, half the town ice-skated or swam in the pond, while also playing basketball or dancing in the party barn (that’s still in the park). Of course, all of this info is probably posted in the park somewhere, and that’s likely why no one else has ever asked about the identity of Lenexa Rose.
I do kind of wonder about the meaning and grammatical accuracy of the pond’s name, however. Is it named after the Roses? Did the Rose family really put Lenexa before the last name? Was the Rose family name just a coincidence, and someone else named Lenexa Rose is being honored by the name? Is it simply the misuse of a possessive plural? If you know, comment. If I find out when I move there, I will add to the article.