Waterloo Firemen's Park
In 1888, three members of the newly formed Waterloo Fire Department,
Robert Setz, George Frey and Hank Battien, were picnicking along with
their families in the grove of trees owned by William Lum, who at the
time was residing in
In 1905 the Firemenís Park was bought from Mr. Lum and the purchasing committee appointed was Romegus Langer, Fred Seeber, and Charles Janisch. Land purchased consisted of 38 acres and purchase price was $90.00 per acre.
After purchasing the Lum property, the Fire Department, with the aid of farmers in the nearby area, used teams of horses hitched to slip scrapers full of soil and then, by bearing down on the handles they could skid this bucket of soil down the hillside to the low, wet area, now the present day diamond. Once in position, the farmers would lift up on the handles making the scraper dig into the soil causing it to tip and dump its load where needed. With several teams in motion, they would form a regular carousel of horses and men filling in the baseball field. The wives of all the workers packed a picnic lunch and all were fed and refreshed before they began the afternoon schedule. If you look for them, you can still see the terraces left on the hillside from this operation.
Baseball became popular at the Park.
According to some of the oldest records,
Lights were installed in the mid 40ís. Through the years, many of the best players in the area have left their cleat marks on this very field.
1905: First Band Stand was built in June by Gust Hagel and cost was not to exceed $200.00.
1907: The Park was dedicated September 4-5, with a barbecue. A whole ox was roasted over an open fire and a revolving spit was kept turning as roasting proceeded.
In 1908 a 3-day clambake was the next big celebration. Clams which had been imported were roasted in open fireplace area.
1909: The first part of the Dance Pavilion and Dining Room was built and was to be 40 feet by 90 feet with an 8 foot porch and cost was not to exceed $3000.00.
1912: A 60 foot addition was built. The pavilion played host to many of the big name bands of the day: Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo, Wayne King, Eddie Howard, Kaye Kaiser, Ted Weems, and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey to name a few.
1918: Was the of building of
1923: The east portion of the grandstand was added and cost was not to exceed $2000.00.
1924: Park enlarged by purchase of about 3 acres known as the Bashford Property at a cost of $460.00.
1925: Was the date of purchase of the 1911 C.W. Parker Carousel at a cost of $1175.00 plus freight charges of $136.64.
1925: The first playground equipment was purchased.
1926: Roof was built over the Carousel at a cost of $1,568.00.
1931: Stone entrance to park built at a cost of $3000.00.
19 _ _: The Bingo Hall was built.
19 _ _: The current restrooms were built.
19 _ _: The upper 2 diamonds were built.
2000 Ė 2009: The main pavilion went through many repairs and upgrades such as heat and AC, a new roof, windows, siding, doors, insulation, wood dance floor, upgraded kitchen and upper bar, and wall trim.
Since 1925 the playground has been added to and reshaped into the current structures that you see today.
Waterloo Firemenís Park has long been the place to go to celebrate July 4th. Drawing high-class vaudeville performers as early as the twenties, the Parkís popularity grew until the mid-sixties when TV replaced vaudeville as a means of entertaining the public.
Today the 4th of July events still draw
large crowds with ball games, kidís games, food, raffles, live music,
fireworks, and more. Some of the latest acts include: The Classics,
In June of 2008 the Park was flooded by a once in a lifetime flood. It devastated over 50% of the Park including the main baseball and softball diamonds, the 1911 Carousel, and playground. After the flooding over 100 volunteers and some businesses helped the Trustees to clean up and restore the Park to the pre-flood state.
At present, the park consists of about 50 acres. Through additions, preservation, and maintenance by the Waterloo Fire Department Board of Trustees and the many volunteers, it remains a showcase of fun and beauty for all to enjoy.
In 2009 the Park begun a facelift with the repainting of Park buildings with a new paint scheme. Also, the Carousel which was damaged in the June 2008 flood begun it's move to a new location within the Park on higher ground.
To the memory of the pioneers of Waterloo; to their successors who took up the task to continue the development and promotion of the park and at the same time preserve the heritage of the past; to those of this generation who assume the same responsibilities; and to the youth and future generations of the area, upon whom the future history of Waterloo Firemenís Park depends.
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This site is maintained by members of the Waterloo Fire Department.
Copyright 2011 Waterloo Fire Department - Board of Trustees.