Remember park’s past while planning for its future
The historical significance of Tecumseh Park to area residents should be considered as plans are being discussed for its reconstruction. While the argument can be made that the past has no impact on present plans, a brief reminder of what the park has meant to the community should never be overlooked.
Many of us who lived in the mid-1950s and ’60s remember the park’s Steel Bridge Picnic as the highlight of the year. Taking place in July near the beginning of our school year, a traveling carnival was set up in a large tree-shaded area at what was Tecumseh Park. In the place where we often went swimming or had family picnics, we waited in lines to ride the Ferris wheel or swing, watch the carnival games or listen to the old folks greeting and visiting their friends.
This Steel Bridge Picnic was begun to celebrate the building of the old steel bridge on Highway 160 (old Highway 80) in 1923. It was the first steel bridge in the county. It was a very significant event in the Tecumseh and Sand Ridge community. Before this, traffic across the river was sporadically served by a ferry.
Memories of this picnic, trips to swim in the cold water, family picnics, even a softball game with a rival school give a continuity to life. The remains of the flooded park are sad to see because memories could still be shared and made there with my grandchildren.
Lou Arta Gaddy Corbin, Tecumseh