The mural depicts five significant historical figures from the early days of the City of Lenexa.
On the far left we have Squire Charles Bradshaw and his wife Sarah. In 1869, the Bradshaws donated a portion of their land to the railroads. Their land was a fruit tree farm and is shown in the mural with a pear tree. Lenexa was almost called Bradshaw, Kansas; however, Bradshaw declined the offer out of modesty.
To the right of the train is Octave Chanute, a civil engineer and aviation pioneer. In 1869, Chanute platted the land that the Bradshaws donated. How you travel around Old Town Lenexa today was engineered by Octave Chanute. Chanute can be seen portrayed by Lenexa Council Member Bill Nicks in several videos on the living history of Lenexa.
On the far right is James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. Hickok is noted for many things but, to Lenexa he was known for being a lawman; in 1858, he was the first constable of Monticello township (later becoming Lenexa), a Free State militia scout, and bodyguard to General James Henry Lane.
In the center is Dorothy Moody. Moody was a teacher and a descendant of the Moody family who were early pioneers of Lenexa. The Moody family arrived in the area circa 1857 and sickled native grasses in the fields that were to become Lenexa. This fed the ox teams bringing freight up from the Missouri river to Westport. Their original homestead was near the current Oak Park Mall area. You can also find the Moody family plot in the Lenexa Cemetery located near 87th St. and Pflumm. The Moody family is very near and dear to the Gomer’s name. One of the founding owners of the original Gomer’s Fine Wine and Spirits is Ed “Gomer” Moody. Ed Moody started Gomer’s with Sollie “Bud” McLeroy and his brothers in 1969 with a filling station and later, a fine wine and spirits store on 99th and Holmes in KCMO. In 1997, after growing up in the business, Steve McLeroy (Bud’s son), along with his wife Kathy, wanted to expand into Kansas and they opened Gomer’s of Kansas on 87th St. and 69 Hwy. In 2018, they moved to the current location in Lenexa’s City Center. The Moody family name continues to have ties in Lenexa with this store and its connection to Ed “Gomer” Moody.
The landscape shows prairie grass being sickled by the Moody family while first living in tents on the open prairie. A fruit tree, meadowlarks, sunflowers and wheat are depicted. A train shows the importance of the railroads in Lenexa during the great days of railroading.
The artists who created the mural are: Holly “Rae” Letenyei, Dawn Lewallen, Claire Kinnell, Madeline “Noel” Knaus, Lauren Koluch and Shannon McLeroy. All the artists are current Illustration students at the Kansas City Art Institute. The mural was completed on September 1, 2019.