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Aug 13

[ARCHIVED] Washington & Lafayette Parks

The original item was published from August 13, 2020 12:46 PM to August 13, 2020 12:47 PM

Washington & Lafayette Parks

Here’s a Throwback Thursday Parks Pick-Me-Up, featuring two historic parks we consider to be sisters: Lafayette Park and Washington Park. Why are they sisters? Both were established in 1869, just before the Frisco Railway brought the railroad to North Springfield — a separate city from Springfield until 1887! Both were named for Revolutionary War heroes: Lafayette Park’s namesake is Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman and officer who served under Washington Park’s namesake, Gen. George Washington. The two became lifelong friends.

Both parks were privately maintained until they were acquired by the then-new Park Board in 1913. At the time, they were the only two public parks in Springfield.

Both parks feature a large gazebo and both serve as gathering spots for neighborhood associations: Lafayette serves Woodland Heights and Moon CIty Creative DIstrict, and Washington serves Midtown. Lafayette Park also serves as a school-park for Reed Academy, and is the home of the Charlie Noor Community Center. Fun fact: when the Park Board voted to add the first playground equipment to Washington Park in 1915, park neighbors were concerned it would disturb the peace! The Park Board asked neighbors to give it a chance, and even hired a local teacher to supervise the playground after it opened. (It turned out to not be a problem.)

Don’t forget to be smart if you visiting a park or trail: stay six feet away from others, avoid gathering in groups, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home if you’re showing symptoms of illness.

Tag(s): Video, Explore