What is an Obelisk and Why is There One in Perry, Kansas?
ob·e·lisk /ˈäbəˌlisk/ n. - a stone pillar, typically having a square or rectangular cross section and a pyramidal top, set up as a monument or landmark.
John C. Mitchell commissioned the $5,000, 25 foot obelisk in 1930 at the direction of his late brother David G. Mitchell. David died on March 15, 1924 and specified in his will a monument be erected in honor of his mother Amanda M. Mitchell on a wooded 25-acre tract of their farm. The site is not a grave, as Amanda is buried north of Perry.
The Vermont granite monument reads, “Given in loving memory of Amanda M. Mitchell by her son, David Garrett Mitchell, 1930”.
John and David were the sons of Amanda M. Mitchell and David T. Mitchell. Amanda and David had three other children: Rose, Mary, and William. The senior David Mitchell was a land agent, a lawyer, ran a newspaper, and farmed the land south of the railroad tracks in Perry. He died in 1897 when he was hit by a Union Pacific train. Amanda and her children continued to live on and farm the land.
David proposed land the monument stands on eventually be given to the City of Perry for a park. The land was left as part of a life estate to another family member, at whose death the land was to be donated to the City of Perry. However when the time came, city officals were not sure they should maintain a park across the railroad tracks as access would be unsafe. Therefore the land reverted back to a descendant of the Mitchell family through Amanda’s daughter Mary.
The obelisk today is a central feature of a fertile field providing agricultural produce for the people of Kansas.