Marion's Central ParkMarion City Library at Historic Santa Fe Depot
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When the first three families to settle Marion Centre (the William Billings, George Griffith and William P. Shreve families) arrived, they knew they were where surveyors had told then was the "best land in the territory". Their wagons stopped ar the crest of a hill, on the east side of "Luta Creek." Below they saw the fertile valley of the Cottonwood River. Within the rocks of the bluff was a spring that supplied cool, clear water for their campsite. Today, that first campsite is Marion's Central Park.

Levi Billings settled in Marion Centre in 1865 and owned this land until 1894, when it was sold to the community for $1,000. The spring continued to flow until the devastating flood of 1951, when it's course was changed. Stately elm trees were part of the lush vegetation, during early settlement years.

Through the years, other attributes were added to this focal point of the community. In 1884, a fountain was added to the park, and still stands today. Several Chautauqua meetings, ice skating in winter months and swimming in the summer, were common activities at this gathering place. A lighted Memorial Fountain was constructed years later, adding to the charm of the park.

 

 

Hard work has gone into maintaining the natural beauty of the park, located just east of our Central Business District. All imporvements, including playground equipment, and a gazebo which contains public restroom and a small stage, have been strategically placed to blend with their surroundings.

From "Chingawassa Days," to "Art in the Park" and "Old Settler's Day", to everyday activities, the park received much use. This six acre park, is also the location for an annual car show, sponsored by the Marion Lion's Club. Family picnics, weddings, basketball games and an annual sand volleyball tournament, are other popular activities in the park.