“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Recreation and Refreshment

Restoring the Vision ... Preserving the Legacy

Recreation and Refreshment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, June 12, 2010
1. Recreation and Refreshment Marker
Inscription. "We are definitely in an era of building; the best kind of buildings - the building of great projects for the benefit of the public and with the definite objectives of building human happiness".
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Delano park was created with the democratic vision of a space that provides recreation and refreshment for all. As part of the "City Beautiful" movement of the late 19th century, parks and greenspaces were important components of sound civic planning. Early known recreational uses of the park included a nine hole golf course and tennis courts. New public facilities added during the 1930's included a playground, wading pool, bandstand (gazebo), dance pavilion, and picnic shelters. The recreational improvements made in the park in the 1930's "revealed that economic and social hard times did not cause an abandonment of imagination, humor, or fun." As Decatur's oldest planned public park, Delano park continues its role as a space for all people to reconnect with one another and nature.

The improvements made at Delano Park in the 1930ís brought new recreational opportunities for area residents. A guidebook issued by the WPA in 1941 states that the park had baseball, football, tennis, and playground facilities. (above) In 1933, children enjoy old-fashioned recreation and fun
Delano Park "The Chicago of the South" image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
2. Delano Park "The Chicago of the South"
Under the direction of Capt. Barrett, the well-known landscape engineer, the residence portion of the city has been laid out with a view to beauty, comfort and recreation. The streets, avenues, and drives are broad and are dotted at intervals with beautiful parks. in 1886 a group of visionary men quietly set out to bring about the rebirth of the little village of Decatur. The Civil war devastated the lawn leaving only four structures standing in 1865. The financial panic that followed the war and the yellow fever epidemic of 1878 reduced the population to 400 in 1880. Nevertheless, Decatur's favorable location in the Tennessee Valley attracted the attention of Major EC Gardon, CC Harris, and WW Littlejohn. They envisioned New Decatur as "The Chicago of the South", because of its superior location on the river and the crossing of two great railroads. The Decatur land improvement and Furnace Company was formed on Jan 11, 1887. The land company chose Landscape Architect Nathan Franklin Barrett (1845-1918) renowned for his landscapes design of Pullman, Illinois, is lay out the Chicago of the south with broad boulevards, and a large organically shaped park as the focal point of the development Nationally acclaimed sanitary engineer, George Edwin Waring Jr. 1833-1888 designed the drainage and sanitary systems for the "Gateway city". This group of gifted men envisioned new Decatur as both industrial and transportation center and healthful and beautiful place in which to live. Stone structure made possible in part by generous gifts fro the State of Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel and Decatur Daily
on new playground equipment in Delano Park.

Lawson Davidson, pictured above with his sister Christine, was born across Gordon Drive from the park in 1906. He recalled a time when his cow grazed in the park and children built underground forts. In the 1920ís, he was paid 25 cents to caddy on the nine hole golf course. The park also served as an outdoor theatre for children, and during the summer, a Chautauqua provided formal entertainment for adults.

(top) The Civil Works Administration (CWA) bathhouse and wading pool, shown under construction in 1933, offered refreshment for Decatur children. (bottom) Claudia Wright and Shirley Blankenship enjoy the wading pool in the park in 1956.
Location. 34° 35.832′ N, 86° 58.65′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Alabama, in Morgan County. Marker is at the intersection of 8th Street and Prospect Drive, on the right when traveling north on 8th Street. Click for map. Marker located within Delano Park. Marker is in this post office area: Decatur AL 35601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Health and Civic Welfare (within shouting distance of this marker); Social and Cultural Opportunities (within shouting distance of this marker); Carolyn Cortner Smith
Delano Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
3. Delano Park
New Play Ground for Children to enjoy.
(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Beauty and Hope (about 400 feet away); Albany (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. John's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); War in Vietnam (approx. 0.8 miles away); World War One (approx. 0.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Decatur.
Categories. EntertainmentEnvironment
Delano Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
4. Delano Park
Walking trail, picnic shelters, public facilities.
Delano Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
5. Delano Park
No longer a wading pool but now a splash pad for children to enjoy.
Delano Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
6. Delano Park
Delano Park image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 13, 2009
7. Delano Park
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 445 times since then and 92 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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