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Parks History 1921-1950

1921-1950

Year

Event

1921

  • John Franke donated 80 acres to establish Franke Park.
  • Statue of General Lawton dedicated in Lakeside Park.

1922

Statue of Colonel Foster was dedicated "Father of the Park System."

1923

Board of Park Commissioners assumed responsibility of all summer playgrounds from the school board as well as responsibility for community centers and other recreational activities.

1924

120 acres purchased as addition to Foster Park.

1926

  • Samuel and David Foster donated another 30 acres for Foster Park.
  • Construction of Foster Golf Course began.

1927

Fort Wayne issued bonds for park improvements for the very first time.

1928

  • First public golf course opened in Foster Park.
  • The gardens at Lakeside Park were named a National Rose Garden.
  • A Japanese Garden was developed in West Swinney Park.
  • National recognition given to Lakeside Park as the first municipal fish hatchery.

1930

Tea House Pavilion built in Swinney Park.

1937

The original 74 acres of land was donated by Mr. & Mrs. Dale W. McMillen Sr. and named McMillen Park.

1941

First full-time recreation director was hired by the Department.

1942

The name of the Japanese Gardens was changed to Jaenicke Gardens.

1945

Jefferson Recreation Center opened with programming for youth.

1946

  • Mr. Franklin B. Meade, Sr.'s world flower collection was presented to the city and planted in Foster Park.
  • Franke Park Day Camp initiated in Franke Park.

1947

  • McCulloch Center constructed at a cost of $61,500.
  • Shoaff Lake formed in Franke by dredging swamp bottom.
  • First center developed for senior citizens on the Bloomingdale School property.
  • Chrysanthemum Garden at Lawton Park enlarged making it the most complete selection in the mid-west.

1948

Memorial and McMillen Pools opened.

1949

  • Foellinger Theatre constructed in Franke Park as a gift of the News-Sentinel in honor of Oscar Foellinger.
  • Fort Wayne continued to be a pioneer city in the field of senior citizen programming.
  • First city tot lot built in Weisser Park.
  • Memorial Pool constructed at cost of $95,000 tax funds.
  • Emma J. Pond Trust Fund donated $22,000 to construct Pond Pavilion as a boating/ice skating shelter.
  • McMillen Foundation donated $95,000 toward construction of ultra-modern pool in McMillen Park. Total cost was $105,000. Dedicated August 13.

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