Scout plans to refurbish little-known Civil War-era well in Mission Hills

The old well on Brookwood Street in Mission Hills.

It was dug more than 150 years ago, serving as a crucial watering point for the brave souls making their journey along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. During the Civil War Battle of Westport, it became a place of relative peace, where soldier from the north and south could quench their thirst without fear of attack.

And this Saturday, it will be the final step in one local teen’s journey to Eagle Scoutdom.

Incoming SM East sophomore Max Reno, 15, will lead a group of half a dozen or so scouting peers Saturday in refurbishing an old well tucked up on Brookwood Road in Mission Hills. The work day will serve as Reno’s Eagle Scout project.

“I’d passed by the well a lot of times so when my dad and I started thinking of projects I could do to get my Eagle Scout, I decided to look into it some more,” Reno said. “I was surprised to find out more about its history — that it was a place of peace during the Civil War.”

Developer J.C. Nichols had the well restored when he began building homes in Mission Hills in the 1920s. But the well hasn’t been given much attention in the past couple decades. The roof is rotting, says Reno, and the fencing is starting to fall into disrepair.

Reno estimates it will take his team around five hours to replace the roof, repair the fencing and flagstone, and power wash the entire thing. Once they finish their work, he’ll call the city of Mission Hills and ask to have it rededicated as a historical landmark.

“It’s kind of this cool bit of local history that I don’t think many people know about,” Reno said. “I’m hoping the project can bring the well a little more attention.”

A postcard depicting the Mission Hills well, from the Kansas City Public Library’s collections.