ROOSEVELT PARK HISTORY - Sign at Roosevelt Park
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Over the years, Roosevelt Park has seen many changes. The history of the park dates back to September of 1909 when a fire destroyed the J.H. Yost Lumber Company on the southwest corner of 4th and Jefferson. Upon the suggestion of some of the citizens, a large company of men assembled in the courthouse a few days later to consider purchasing the south half of Block Fifteen, and converting it into a public park. A committee of five was appointed to solicit support for the idea. Shortly after, the Hebron Businessmen’s Association stepped up and secured the property for $4,000 and raised an additional $1,000 to fix up the grounds and put it in suitable shape.
In 1910 the new park was named Citizen’s Park; a band stand and fountains were added to the grounds.
In March of 1915, the Businessmen’s Association conveyed the park to the City of Hebron, and it was renamed “Central Park”. In April of 1919, the city renamed the park “Roosevelt Park” in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt.
1909 – PARK SECURED
The park originated in 1909, following a devastating fire that destroyed the J.H. Yost Lumber Company in September of that year, when the Hebron Businessmen’s Association secured the current park property. A few days after the fire, a large group of men gathered to discuss purchasing the half of the block that was occupied by the lumber company. The men, along with other citizens, wanted to convert this property into a public park. After this discussion, a five-person committee was appointed to solicit support for the idea. Shortly after this, the Hebron Businessmen’s Association secured the park property for $4,000 and then raised an additional $1,000 to fix up the grounds and put them in suitable condition.
1910 – PARK PLAT APPROVED
A member of the Hebron Businessmen’s Association, C.C. Fletcher, painted a plat for the new park. His plat included a future band stand, terrace pool with a fountain, and seating. Mr. Fletcher could often be found at the park planting trees and flowers. Although the official name of the park was “Citizen’s Park” the park was nicknamed “Fletcher’s Park”. Fletcher, with the help of Lew Secret, designed a bandstand that would be made of cement and cost about $200.
1911 – “FLETCHER’S PARK”
Beautiful elm trees were set out and several loads of dirt were hauled to the park. A sidewalk was laid around the grounds, and preparations for the fountain and bandstand began. Mr. Fletcher and other park committee members helped with the construction of the fountains. One of these fountains would be for mineral water from the artesian well three blocks away, and the other fountain would be for fresh water for the terrace pool and fountain. The fountains were built by W.R. Talbot. The mineral fountain was placed in the northeast corner of the park. Many people would fill their water jugs with the water from the fountains. Two light poles were placed to provide light for the pool. Mr. Fletcher purchased benches to provide seating around the pool. It was proposed to plant flowers and shrubs and install a sand pile for the children, as well as, seats, swings, and hammocks.
1912 – BANDSTAND BUILD
After three years of planning and fundraising a permanent cement bandstand was built by W.R. Talbot. Local businesses purchased benches at a cost of $3.50 each. These benches were placed in front of the bandstand for spectators. The Businessmen’s Association helped to raise funds for placement of the sixteen-foot-long benches. On June 12th the bandstand held its first concert under the direction of Prof. Perry. The park received a gift from the U.S. Military including a canon, and shells for a patriotic display.
1915 – CENTRAL PARK
In March the City of Hebron approved Ordinance 136, which purchased Citizens Park from the Hebron Businessmen’s Association. The ordinance conveyed the real estate to the city for the purpose of a public park. The public park was named “Central Park”. The ordinance was approved on March 1, 1915.
1917 – FIEN FLAGPOLE FOR COLORS
New curved sidewalks were laid on the north and south sides of the fountain, running to the outer sidewalks at each side of the park. A flagpole was installed between the bandstand and the cannon. The pole was sixty-five foot tall and cost $65. The Daughter’s of the American Revolution made a flag in which forty-eight girls each made a star.
1919 – ROOSEVELT PARK
In April, the city of Hebron renamed the park “Roosevelt Park” in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt. The Hebron Woman’s Club worked to find an appropriate marker for the park. A petrified log about six foot long was found near Gilead. The log was then taken to Lennon Bros. where it was prepared for mounting. The log was nicknamed the “Big Stick”, a bronze name plate was mounted on it, and the log was set at the west entrance of the park.
1925 – PERGOLA BUILT
The Hebron Woman’s Club planned and had built a pergola in the park as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the World War I and maintained the flower beds and memorial rose garden.
1930 – MINERAL WATER CAPPED
The source of the piped mineral water came from an artesian well located east of the Hebron Broom Factory. However, as late as the early 30’s the supply pipe rusted and had to be capped.
1953 – TORNADO DAMAGE
The tornado of 1953 destroyed the large elm trees on the west edge of the park. Volunteers helped with the removal of trees and extensive clean-up. There was little damage done to the bandstand and fountain.
1956 – CONCERTS END
Due to budget cuts, the City of Hebron ended the weekly band concerts that took place in the bandstand.
1962 – NEW FLAGPOLE GIVEN BY HEBRON ROTARY
1962 – PORCH SWING MOVED TO ROOSEVELT PARK
The World’s Largest Porch Swing, at the time, was moved from its original home at Riverside Park, (Conservation Camp) to Roosevelt Park. Now, The World’s Largest Covered Porch Swing is a major tourist attraction for Hebron.
1994 – GAZEBO BUILT
The Hebron Rotary Club assisted Fuller Construction in building the 27 foot diameter gazebo on the site of the original bandstand, which had been removed in the early 1970’s
1994 – WATER FOUNTAIN DONATED BY HEBRON ROTARY
2018 – NEW PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT
The Hebron Park board raised funds to purchase new playground equipment, fence, and surface. This equipment replaced the swings and slides that were purchased by the Women’s Achievement Club.
2020 – BEAR TRIBUTE TO HEBRON, IT’S PEOPLE, AND SCHOOLS
A bronze bear in recognition of the Hebron Bears stands as a tribute to Hebron and its residents.