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Community Connection- EMPORIA!: Parks to explore!

Connecting FHTC to the Emporia Community

Thoughts on Parks

“One may lack words to express the impact of beauty but no one who has felt it remains untouched. It is renewal, enlargement, intensification. The parks preserve it permanently in the inheritance of the American citizens.” 
Bernard DeVoto

Emporia Parks

All Veterans Memorial

The All Veterans Memorial, constructed in 1991, includes a major walkway with individual monuments lining it. The Memorial itself consists of a circular walkway around the World War II era tank, with individual Memorials commemorating military actions of the United States Armed Forces. This memorial was the first in the nation to honor Desert Storm. A special Medal of Honor memorial for Sgt. Grant F. Timmerman, an Emporia native, is also located there. In the fall of 1999, a UH-1H Huey Helicopter was placed on the grounds of the memorial.

Buck Fund Dog Park

The Buck Fund Dog Park, located at 2920 West 24th Avenue in Dryers Park has been a true collaborative effort between the City of Emporia, The Responsible Dog Owners Group, and the support and generosity of our park donors.

C of E Park

C of E Park is located on part of the grounds of the original College of Emporia campus which encompassed an area from 12th to 15th Avenues and Chestnut to Lincoln Streets. After this Presbyterian school closed, the campus was sold to the Way International, a non-denominational religious organization. After the Way ceased operations at this location, the campus was purchased and broken up into several separate pieces.

Eastside Memorial Park

Previously known as 9th & East Park, this tract is located south of 9th Avenue between East Street and Lakeview Street, bordered on the east side by a railroad right-of-way, and by residences along East Street. The park land was leased from the Santa Fe Railroad during the 1970's. Originally intended to serve as a neighborhood park to be developed by people in the surrounding area, this park saw very little use for a number of years. This situation changed however with the formation of an association of citizens who desired to see the site developed as a functional park. The name of the park was officially changed to the Eastside Memorial Park and plans are underway to add features which will offer a full spectrum of facilities which will result in a viable asset to the park system. 

Fremont Park

Located north of the Santa Fe tracks, between Union and Exchange Streets, is Fremont Park. This 2.6 acre site is one of Emporia's original two township parks; therefore enjoying historical and cultural significance.

Hammond Park

Located in the north-central part of Emporia, south of 18th Avenue and more or less between Merchant and State Streets is Hammond Park, one of the City's major parks

Jones Youth Recreation Park

Jones Youth Recreation Park is situated in the northwest part of the City between Prairie and Lincoln Streets, and Memorial Lawn Cemetery and 24th Avenue. One of Emporia's major parks, it covers 70 acres.

Lakeview Park

Lakeview Park is located west of Lakeview Street and south of 9th Avenue. The size of this plot is 1.5 acres.

This park provides a somewhat secluded, seemingly peaceful area, with picnic facilities and a slippery slide and swing set. It was acquired by the City in 1962.

Las Casitas Park

Las Casitas Park is a 2 acre site located on the north side of South Avenue at Arundel Street. Las Casitas has been adopted by the Mexican-American culture of Emporia to serve as the site for their festivities and various improvement projects. Years ago it was the location of housing for Santa Fe crews, comprised mainly of Mexican workers. This land has been leased from the Santa Fe Railroad by the City for development of a park.

Peter Pan Park

Peter Pan Park is located on the south side of the City, between South Congress and South West Streets from Kansas and Randolph Avenues south to the Cottonwood River. A small portion of the park is located south of the river. The size of Peter Pan Park including its 4 acre lake is 51.7 acres. Peter Pan is certainly considered as one of Emporia's major parks, and its busiest.

The original 50 acres of the park was donated to the City in two parcels; 40 acres in 1926 and 10 acres in 1927, by William Allen White. The donation of this land was made in the memory of their daughter, Mary, who died as the result of a riding accident at the age of 17. William Allen White had written of his daughter -- "she was a Peter Pan who refused to grow up" -- hence the name of the Park. There are deed restrictions which limit certain types of activity within this Park.

A memorial to Mr. White, a famous Kansas newspaper editor, featuring a bronze bust by noted sculptor Jo Davidson, was dedicated in July, 1950, by Herbert Hoover. Accompanying the bust is a plaque with a story relating to Mary White. 

Quaker Park

Quaker Park can be found on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue and Sylvan Street. Another small "neighborhood" park, it covers .6 of an acre.

The facilities in this park include a game court for playing basketball, tennis, and volleyball, as well as playground equipment and picnic tables. This area was once used by the Recreation Center for one of its summertime playgrounds, before they were moved to the school playgrounds.

Soden's Grove Park

Soden's Grove Park is located at the south end of South Commercial Street and is bordered on the north by Soden Road and on the south by the Cottonwood River.

Named in honor of William T. Soden, who completed the river dam and built a mill there, this park is rich in the cultural heritage of Emporia. In addition to his mill, Soden also built a furniture factory across the river from his mill. Early settlers came from as far away as 100 miles with their ox teams to patronize the mill. Soden's Grove was established originally as a campground for the mill's patrons and eventually served as a social center for Emporia and the vicinity, hosting 4th of July celebrations, Chautauqua programs, and camp meetings. At one time, Soden's boasted a skating rink, dance hall, and race track.

 

Southwest Santa Fe Park

The northwest corner of South Avenue and West Street is the location of Southwest Santa Fe Park, formerly known as Lion's Field Park. Originally encompassing three acres, this area was expanded to a size of approximately 12 acres which is leased from the Santa Fe Railroad. The Recreation Commission maintains the ball diamonds located here. During 2001, the construction of a “Skate Park” was completed here. Serious consideration should be given to the future of this park.

Walnut Park

Walnut Park is situated on the northeast corner of Eighth Avenue and Walnut Street. A small neighborhood park, it covers .6 of an acre. This park is so named as it is located on the original site of Walnut School, which was moved to a new building at another location during the 1950's.

White Memorial Park

White Memorial Park, located at the corner of Sixth and Merchant Street was once the site of the K.P. & L. general office. The City received this building along with another building south of it and a small rectangular area of land as donations. After having the buildings demolished, the City proceeded with a group of citizens, the Downtown Park Committee, to construct the park. Facilities of the park include Victorian street lights, a William Lindsey White bust, a brick wall featuring the writings of White, benches and landscaping.

Whittier Park

East of Whittier Street and south of 9th Avenue lays Whittier Park. Covering approximately 13 acres, this land was obtained through arrangements with Unified School District Number 253, as the land had been purchased as a site for a future elementary school. There are two private residences located along the western border of the park. During 1980, the City purchased a third private residence that was located there allowing the construction of additional parking and another comfort station.

Notes

Information presented on this page was acquired from the City of Emporia website: http://www.emporia-kansas.gov/.  If there are errors or corrections to be made, please contact dgilligan@fhtc.edu.

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