McKennan Park - A Park Born In Controversy
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member GPX Navigators
N 43° 31.921 W 096° 43.369
14T E 684002 N 4822416
Quick Description: Helen McKennan's will gifting 20 acres of land for a new park became the center of intense public debate after her death in 1906.
Location: South Dakota, United States
Date Posted: 5/9/2006 9:49:08 AM
Waymark Code: WMC86
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member cary1952
Views: 25

Long Description:
Helen McKennan's will gifting 20 acres of land for a new park became the center of intense public debate after her death in 1906. She also gave her home, the former residence of Col. Melvin Grigsby to be sold to fund park improvements.

Mayor Frank Pillsbury considered selling 10 park acres with the home but public sentiment and an appeal by Edward Sherman, estate executor, convinced the city council to honor Helen's wishes. Creation & development of the 20 acre park was assured.


The McKennan Historic District

The fine homes of this district are oriented around historic McKennan Park, a pleasant and popular gathering spot. Although the land in the area was platted early on, most of the historic residences developed from 1915 to 1935. Historic home styles are greatly varied and representative of the period. They include Prairie School, Mediterranean, Georgian, Tudor, Bungalow, Dutch Colonial, and other vernacular styles.

Earliest efforts to develop the area came in 1883 with the platting of the Boulevard Addition by Colonel Melvin Grigsby and Helen McKennan. Boulevard Street, now called 21st Street, remains a distinctive feature of the historic district. An attractively landscaped boulevard runs down the middle of 21st Street, bordered by a landmark park and well maintained homes with carefully manicured yards.

Mrs. McKennan, the district's namesake and one of the city's wealthiest residents, had extensive land holdings in and around the district. After consulting with Edwin A. Sherman, known as "the Father of the Sioux Falls Park System," she had a codicil drawn up to donate her home and 20 surrounding acres for use as a public park. She told Sherman, "I want it to be a place where mothers and their children can come and enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine, and the cooling shade."

The beautiful park today remains true to Mrs. McKennan's desires. The attractive park is a relaxing place, with a wading pool, picnic facilities, flower gardens, and a playground. Historic features of the park include a bronze fountain, the Sunken Gardens, a restored bandshell and a huge red oak tree with a memorial plaque dedicated to World War I patriot. The Pillars of the Nation--four masonry pillars at the west entrance of the park formed with stones from each of the continental states--are another notable historic feature of this remarkable park.
Marker Name: A Park Born In Controversy

Marker Type: City

Marker Text:
A Park Born in Controversy.


Visit Instructions:
A photo of the 'Marker' or 'Plaque' is required to identify the location, plus a picture of the 'Historic Site'. If you do not post a photo your log will be deleted.
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m&m O visited McKennan Park - A Park Born In Controversy 6/17/2013 m&m O visited it
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