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Washington Park

 

A prominent feature of the Richards Hill neighborhood is Washington Park, which was originally known as Richards Picnic Grounds.  The park was a prime gathering spot as early as the 1860s.  William Thomas, Richards’ grandson, developed his ancestor’s land into a city park, and by the early 1900s it became a center for sporting events, such as baseball and football games.

 

c.1895

                BICYCLE RACING

             

 

1898

04 06       OPENING FOR THE SEASON

W. R. Thomas has had numerous inquiries of late as to the reopening and maintenance during the season, of Washington Park, the popular pleasure resort in the First ward.  He desires to say that the park will be kept up as it was last year, providing sufficient membership tickets are placed to help defray expenses.  He intends issuing tickets, granting privileges to tennis courts and bicycle track, at one dollar for the season, and requests all who desire to subscribe for these privileges to advise him at once.     WR

 

05 11       PARK IMPROVEMENTS AND RULES

The above-named pleasure resort, greatly improved since a year ago, was opened to the public yesterday and will continue to be numbered among our places of amusement the balance of the season, under the accommodating management of W. R. Thomas.  The bicycle track has been banked higher and otherwise made better, another tennis court has been added, a fine baseball diamond has been laid out and other desirable improvements made. 

 

The following rules have been posted for the guidance of visitors:

 

The park is open to the public, except the use of track and tennis courts, and on special days of bicycle races or baseball games.

 

Anyone caught taking flowers or doing any damage will be prosecuted

 

No profane language allowed in the park.

 

No one allowed in the park after 10 p.m.

 

Small children must be accompanied by someone, as no one will be held responsible for their getting hurt.

 

Season tickets are not transferable, and will be revoked if presented by any other person than the one whose name is written thereon.

 

A 5-cent admission fee will be charged to all persons using the track or course not holding a season ticket.

 

Season ticket to park is $1.

 

       c.1898                     c.1904

 

1899

05 23       FENCE AROUND WASHINGTON PARK

The members of the baseball association are very thankful for the donation of Wm. Hartig, the brewer.  He was asked to subscribe to the fund, and forthwith agreed to erect the necessary fence around Washington park.   WR

 

05 30       THREE PERSONS BACK BASEBALL TEAM

Three persons have agreed to back the baseball team this year.  They are Gustav Buchheit, Albert Fredrich and Reinhold Schott.  A lease has been granted for Washington park and everything will be done in the proper way.  The season will open about June 2 and it is hoped that only success awaits the undertaking.   WR

 

08 29       POSSIBLE INTEREST IN PURCHASING PARK

It has been reported that parties from Milwaukee have been in the city recently taking a look at Washington park and adjoining property with a view of purchasing the same.  To what use it is going to be put is not known.  Washington park is a very desirable spot and should remain in the hands of our citizens to be used for park purposes.   WR

 

c.1900

-- --           BASEBALL GAME AT WASHINGTON PARK

A field with trees in the background

Description automatically generated with medium confidence          A group of people sitting under a tree

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

 

c.1910

-- --         WATERTOWN CITY LEAGUE TEAM

  

Field and fans in stands at Washington park

 

c.1920s

-- --           BASEBALL AT THE PARK

A picture containing text, outdoor, field, old

Description automatically generated        Plans for distant grandstand held by Maas Bros.

 

1925

02 18       WASHINGTON PARK CONVERTED INTO A CITY ATHLETIC FIELD

The purchase of the tract of land known as Washington Park, to be turned into a city athletic field, was under discussion at the city council meeting.

 

A communication from the board of education petitioning the city to purchase the eight and one-half acres of land known as Washington Park and turning it into a city athletic field was taken up and after considerable discussion it was referred to the board of education requesting them to obtain an option on a twenty foot strip of land which lies between Washington Park and Twelfth Street.. This strip of land is owned by the Col. A. Solliday estate.  Members of the council expressed themselves as being unwilling to take action at present unless some arrangement can be made regarding the purchase of the additional twenty foot strip.

 

The Washington Park area can now be purchased for $5,000 it was said, and this is considered a bargain by many.  Action must be taken soon, however, it is said, in order to get the property.  It was pointed out as an ideal spot for sports.  Just what action will be taken will depend upon the school board's next report to the council.   WDTimes

 

1929

07 17       PETTING PARTIES IN WASHINGTON PARK

Town Talk:  Well, well, well.  Now the city council has decided that something ought to be done about breaking up petting parties in Washington Park.  It is proposed to install a 400-candlepower electric light in the park to discourage snuggle puppies from parking in the park.  The matter was brought up at Tuesday night's meeting of the council and one alderman said there have been too many "goings on" at the park and that people around there have been complaining about cars parking at night while the occupants go in for some heavy petting.  Anyway, no action was taken on the light at last night's meeting.  The matter was held over until the next session.  Evidently the council will try to say: "Let There Be Light."       Watertown Democrat

 

1949

05 18       NEW BASEBALL DIAMOND AT WASHINGTON PARK

  

 

1958

09 10       COLORFUL NEW SCOREBOARD

      A “shot in the arm” for the high school athletics

 

Watertown's newest addition to the football field at Washington Park - an electric football scoreboard - will be in use for the game tonight but will not be presented officially to the city by the Watertown Junior Chamber of Commerce until the Homecoming game Oct. 17 between Salem Central and the high school Goslings.  The colorful new scoreboard is really a “shot in the arm” for the high school athletic field - a convenience for fans, players and coaches.  The board adds a lot of “color” to the game and makes it much more interesting from the spectator's standpoint.  The prompt flashing of the outcome of each play (yards gained), the team score and time remaining in each quarter will give the fans an up to the minute rundown of the game.                  Watertown Daily Times, 09 10 1958

 

1969

03 19       NEW REST ROOM BUILDING (COMFORT STATION)

  

The 35-foot square building contains men and womens rest rooms and a shower room.  Was also equipment storage place for the ball team.

 

Mens faced  baseball womans faced playground. Then the Park and rec summer camp faced Webster.  And the door that faces the parking lot was a shower an locker room for all the baseball players that used to use it.  I remember back in 91 the internal mens room/locker room was unlocked and we scared the park &rec adviser.    - Tj Scott

 

2008

MERKLE FIELD AT WASHINGTON PARK

 

2008             WHS_005_884

 

 

Cross References:

                Fred Merkle, chapter on

                Baseball at Washington Park

 

 

 

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