Friday, May 1, 2009

Rich Hill's Public Parks

This Blog is from E.R. McQuitty's stories at the 1955 Diamond Jubilee Celebration for Rich Hill

At the time of the founding of Rich Hill in 1880 the Town site company set aside four full blocks to be used as public parks, one on Park avenue between third and Fifth streets and Walnut and Maple streets, the other on Park avenue between Eleventh and Thirteenth and Walnut and Maple streets. These parks were to be used for public purposes, picnic and play grounds and for public gather­ings of all kinds. In April 1881 the city council begun the work of improving and beautifying both parks by clear­ing the sites of native grass (then some four feet high) and sowing blue grass. The initial order was for five hundred soft maple trees. These were planted and both parks were enclosed by board fences with entrance gates. Turnstiles were soon afterward substituted for the gates. Finally, af­ter an ordinance had been put into effect restraining stock from running at large, the fences were removed and brick sidewalks constructed. The soft maple trees were found to be unsuitable and were gradually replaced by all kinds of native forest trees. After this the parks were pretty well neglected except for a few occasional mowing's
The first substantial improvement was made when Mr.George Logan voluntarily and at his own expense erected a nice band stand in the West park. This work was done in the early nineties and served the public until dismantled and replaced by a more modern pavilion during the W. P. A. days. At the same time a number of stone ovens were built in the East park for the benefit of picnickers.
During the late Dr. Cromwell's administration, as mayor, concrete entrances were added at either end of each park which helped greatly in the beautification

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