Major Landmarks of Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Lee’s Summit is a city located in western Missouri, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City. With a population of over 97,000, Lee’s Summit is the sixth largest city in Missouri.

The city has a rich history dating back to the 19th century and is home to several notable landmarks that reflect its heritage and growth over the years. In this article, we will explore some of the major landmarks in Lee’s Summit that showcase the city’s unique culture and identity.

Downtown Lee’s Summit

The heart of Lee’s Summit is its charming downtown area centered around 3rd Street. The downtown district contains many historic buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s that have been preserved or renovated.

Old Town Lee’s Summit Historic District

This historic district encompasses 16 blocks and contains over 70 historic buildings showcasing architectural styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some highlights include:

  • Howard School – Built in 1895, this imposing three-story school building is an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture. It now houses city government offices.
  • Franklin Savings Association Building – Constructed in 1887, this ornate Victorian-era building once housed a savings and loan association. It has intricate brickwork details and a corner turret.
  • Summit Theater – Originally built in 1934, this Art Deco theater hosted vaudeville shows and movies before being restored to its former glory in the 2000s.
  • Unity Village Administration Building – The headquarters building for the Unity religious organization features unique Byzantine architecture rarely seen in the Midwest.

3rd Street Corridor

3rd Street is the main thoroughfare running through downtown Lee’s Summit. Along this corridor you’ll find restaurants, shops, breweries, and public art. Key landmarks include:

  • Lee’s Summit Farmer’s Market Pavilion – Opened in 2016, this pavilion hosts a vibrant farmer’s market from May to October. Local vendors sell fresh produce, baked goods, crafts and more.
  • The Gateway Arch – Installed in 2004, this 40-foot tall archwelcomes visitors to downtown Lee’s Summit at the corner of 3rd and Douglas Streets.
  • Sister Cities Fountain – This 8-foot tall fountain commemorates Lee’s Summit’s sister city relationships with communities in Germany, Russia, and Mexico.

Historic Homes

Lee’s Summit is filled with beautiful, historic homes that provide glimpses into the city’s past. Here are some of the most significant ones:

Bingham-Waggoner Estate

Built in 1827, this estate is one of the oldest brick structures in Jackson County. The Greek Revival mansion has been meticulously restored and is now a museum showcasing life in the 19th century. The estate grounds also feature heritage gardens, stables, and a carriage house.

Albert M. Bush House

Constructed in 1887, this Queen Anne-style home was built for Albert Bush, an influential businessman in Lee’s Summit’s early days. The house has intricate woodwork, painted glass windows, and ornate exterior millwork. It is now a bed and breakfast.

Harris-Kearney House

This 1861 home belonged to pioneer William Harris who founded Lee’s Summit. The two-story Italianate home sits on a hilltop parcel of Harris’ original land claim. It remained in the Harris family for over 100 years.


Built in 1889, Woodneath Mansion was the home of William B. Howard, founding president of William Jewell College. The imposing Second Empire mansion sits on 25 acres and has over 9,000 square feet of living space.

Parks & Greenspaces

From small neighborhood parks to sprawling nature areas, Lee’s Summit has abundant greenspaces for residents to enjoy.

Lee’s Summit City Hall Park

Located in front of City Hall, this one-acre park has become a downtown community gathering place. It hosts concerts, holiday events, and a weekly farmer’s market during warmer months. The park’s key feature is the bronze statue honoring Lee’s Summit’s namesake, Dr. Pleasant Lea.

Longview Lake Park

Stretching across 1,000 acres, Longview Lake Park provides opportunities for boating, fishing, picnicking, and over 15 miles of hiking/biking trails. The park’s centerpiece is the 350-acre Longview Lake.

Harris Park

Named after Lee’s Summit founder William Harris, this large community park offers a skatepark, disc golf course, batting cages, hiking trails, and athletic fields. The park hosts sports tournaments throughout the year.

James Singleton Park

Opening in 2020, this new 50-acre park along the Little Blue Trace Trail has quickly become a popular spot. Amenities include a playground, splash pad, tennis/pickleball courts, a dog park, and walking trails.

Historic Sites

As one of Missouri’s oldest communities, Lee’s Summit has numerous historic sites and buildings that provide a window into the past. Here are a few key sites:

Pleasant Lea Cemetery

Established in 1865, this cemetery is the final resting place for many founding residents and pioneers of early Lee’s Summit. Notable burials include town founder Dr. Pleasant Lea and Civil War general Benjamin Loan. Self-guided walking tours are available.

Harris-Kearney House Museum

Located adjacent to the historic Harris-Kearney House, this museum tells the story of Lee’s Summit’s origins and growth through artifacts, exhibits, and multimedia displays. A blacksmith shop and one-room schoolhouse have also been relocated to the grounds.

Unity Village

This 1,200 acre complex was developed in the 1900s as the international headquarters for Unity, a spiritual organization. Unity Village includes a World Peace Chapel, stone labyrinth, and the Unity Archives which document the organization’s history.

Missouri Town 1855

This living history museum recreates a mid-19th century Missouri town with authentic buildings staffed by costumed interpreters. Historic trades and skills are demonstrated through interactive exhibits and programs.

Educational Institutions

Lee’s Summit is home to several esteemed educational institutions that contribute to the city’s identity.

University of Central Missouri – Lee’s Summit

This satellite campus of the University of Central Missouri offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, business, criminal justice, and healthcare fields. The campus opened in 1997.

Summit Technology Academy

Established in 1992, Summit Technology Academy is part of the Lee’s Summit School District. It provides career-focused technical training to high school students and adult learners in fields like manufacturing, construction, medical sciences, and information technology.

Missouri Innovation Campus

Opened in 2017, this research park is a partnership between University of Central Missouri, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and private industry. It focuses on innovation in biomass, advanced manufacturing, and sustainable energy.

Longview Community College

Founded in 1965, Longview offers associate degrees, certificates, and career training programs. Areas of study include health sciences, industrial technology, business administration, and creative arts.

William Jewell College

Founded in Liberty, MO in 1849, this private liberal arts college relocated to Lee’s Summit in 2021. The new 100-acre campus in Legacy Park will reshape Lee’s Summit through partnerships focused on the arts, recreation, education and business.

Monuments & Public Art

Lee’s Summit has several monuments and public art installations scattered throughout the city that commemorate history and add visual interest.

Major John G. Sappington Statue

This life-size bronze statue in Wagar Park depicts Major John Sappington, a prominent citizen who donated the 40 acres on which Lee’s Summit was founded.

9/11 First Responder Memorial

Unveiled in 2021, this monument honors the first responders who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The centerpiece is two sections of mangled steel from the World Trade Center.

Unity Temple Cornerstone

Located downtown, this large engraved stone marks the founding of Unity Village in 1903. It was originally laid at the site’s first building constructed.

Public Art Murals

Downtown Lee’s Summit is home to over a dozen large public art murals on the sides of historic buildings. Murals feature colorful nature scenes, city landmarks, and notable figures.

Civic & Community Venues

Some of Lee Summit’s important civic and community venues include:

  • Legacy Park Community Center – This brand new 82,000 sq. ft. recreation center opened in 2022. It has indoor and outdoor pools, gymnasiums, fitness studios, walking track, and gathering spaces.
  • Lee’s Summit City Hall – Opened in 1991, City Hall houses the main municipal government offices and chambers for City Council meetings.
  • Lee’s Summit High School – The first high school built in Lee’s Summit in 1913. The historic building underwent major renovations in the 2000s but still retains its Beaux-Arts architecture.
  • John Knox Village – This 400+ acre retirement community opened in 2007 and provides residences and amenities for over 600 senior living residents.
  • Lee’s Summit Baptist Temple – Founded in 1955, this 4,000 seat megachurch holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest freshwater baptistery.
  • Legacy Sports Park – Opened in 2021, this 58-acre sports complex features 12 competition quality softball/baseball fields, concession stands, and playgrounds.

Natural Features

Lee’s Summit has several noteworthy natural features that provide recreation and beauty within the city.

Little Blue River

This 76-mile river flows through eastern Lee’s Summit and contains scenic bluffs, forested areas, and Quinn’s Pond fishing lake. The Little Blue Trace Trail follows the river corridor.

Missouri River

The Missouri River marks Lee’s Summit’s southern border (though the city proper is setback over 1 mile from the actual river). Riverside parks and conservation areas offer hiking, boating and river views.

James A Reed Memorial Wildlife Area

Located northeast of downtown, this 600 acre urban forest and wildlife sanctuary has 7 miles of trails, a visitor center, and diverse animal habitats.

Powell Gardens

Though technically located just outside Lee’s Summit in Kingsville, this 970 acre botanical garden is a major regional attraction. Gardens, waterfalls, ponds, and trails sit within the natural woodland landscape.

Cobblestone Bluff

This half mile long, 60 foot tall limestone bluff runs along the Little Blue River near the intersection of Northeast Colbern Road and NE Newport School Road. Vegetation drapes over the weather-beaten boulders.

So in summary, Lee’s Summit has a wealth of historic homes, important civic sites, charming downtown areas, parks, trails, and cultural attractions for visitors to experience. Significant investment and growth in recent decades has enhanced quality of life while maintaining ties to the community’s heritage and origins. For a mid-sized city, Lee’s Summit punches above its weight with the abundance of landmarks that reflect its evolution and local pride.


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  • Option 1: From Downtown Lee’s Summit, MO Head northeast on SE Green St, turning left onto NE Douglas St. Continue until you reach NE Skyline Dr. Turn left, and 20 NE Skyline Dr is on the right.
  • Option 2: From I-470 East Take the Douglas St/Colbern Rd exit from I-470 E. Merge onto NE Colbern Rd, turn right on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. Find 20 NE Skyline Dr on the right.
  • Option 3: From Unity Village, MO Travel east on NW Colbern Rd, turn right on NW Woods Chapel Rd. Left on NE Douglas St, then left on NE Skyline Dr. 20 NE Skyline Dr will be on your right.