On May 9, a new pocket park was unveiled in Topeka, Kansas — the birthplace of The Menninger Clinic — to honor the impact and influence of the Menninger family on modern mental health care. Roughly 125 friends, family members and current and former Menninger employees gathered to celebrate the park’s dedication, including Dr. Roy Menninger, Dr. Walt Menninger, former Topeka Mayor Larry E. Wolgast and The Menninger Clinic President and CEO Armando E. Colombo.
Although The Clinic moved its operations to Houston in 2003, its Topeka roots run deep. In 1925, Dr. C.F. Menninger founded The Menninger Clinic in Topeka with his physician sons Karl and Will to bring to life his vision of “a better kind of medicine and a better kind of world.” During The Clinic’s nearly 80 years in Topeka, it became known as a world-renowned center for psychiatric medicine, successfully treating complex mental illnesses and training generations of mental health professionals.
The Menninger Pocket Park celebrates this unique legacy and joins other small parks in the downtown area that pay tribute to notable Topekans. The park, which is located near 623 S. Kansas Avenue, features a life-size statue of Dr. C.F. Menninger, a tablet with Menninger history, as well as busts of Drs. C.F., Karl, Will, Roy and Walt Menninger, by nationally recognized sculptor and Kansas native Joe Skeeba. Skeeba’s works can be found in Great Britain, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Germany, Canada, Mexico and throughout the United States.
Wolgast, who retired as Menninger’s vice president of development in 2005, chaired a committee dedicated to raising funds for the park as part of a public/private partnership. Donations were received from former employees, clinical trainees and grateful families to help make the park honoring the Menninger family a reality. The Menninger Clinic is proud to be a sponsor of the Menninger Pocket Park and to continue the Menninger legacy of caring, excellence and innovation that began in Topeka. The Clinic looks forward to celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2025 — standing on the shoulders of giants.