Who is Jacob L. Loose?
September 12, 2012
My husband and I like to go to Loose Park and view the many beautiful flowers and the lake. My husband often goes there during his lunch hour to take photos. One of my nieces got married there.
Jacob Loose was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Chetopa, Kansas, where he opened his first dry goods store in the 1870s. Jacob eventually became a board member of a group of biscuit & cookie factories known as the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO). In 1902, he liquidated his holdings in NABISCO, and he, his brother Jacob, and John Wiles started the Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company in Kansas City. They made cookies, crackers, and cereals. They adopted the name Sunshine for their products. They opened plants in Boston and New York. In 1946, they officially changed their name to Sunshine Biscuit, Inc.
Jacob Loose passed away in 1926. The Loose mansion still stands on the Southeast corner of Walnut and Armour Boulevard. It is a popular place for weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, and various business dinners.
The company was sold a couple of times until it was merged with Keebler in 1996. They were subsequently purchased by Kellogg in 2000. Cheez-Its and Krispy Saltines are still marketed under the Sunshine brand. Another favorite that Sunshine made, Vienna Fingers, is produced under the Keebler brand.
Ella Loose, wife of Jacob, purchased an 80 acre green space from Hugh Ward in 1926, and gave it to Kansas City in memory of her husband. It is now known as Loose Park. The park boasts a Garden Center, Japanese Tea Room, Loose Lake, a reserveable shelter house, four tennis courts, spraygrounds, playground, walking trails, picnic areas, rain garden, Stanley R. McLane Arboretum, and Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden.
The property has its own history. It was a major site for the battle of Westport during the Civil War. It was owned at that time by William Bent, who led wagon trains and was an Indian trader. Seth Ward bought the property in 1871 after Bent’s death. The Kansas City Country Club signed a lease with Ward to use part of his property as a golf course. Seth’s son then sold the property to Ella Loose.
Blue Ridge Branch