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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Brenham in Washington County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Fireman's Park

est. 1883

 

— Lone Star Legacy Park —

 
Fireman's Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
1. Fireman's Park Marker
Inscription.  

Historic Beginnings
A heated exchange between Union soldiers and local citizens in September 1866 led to the eventual development of the City of Brenham's flagship park. The soldiers, part of an infantry company, took issue with comments made in the local newspaper and set the town on fire not once, but twice. And so was born the Brenham Fire Department organized under the pretense of protecting the community from fire, but in reality as a way to defend it from the Union soldiers. The department's history, has been intertwined with that of the City since. It was through the firemen's generosity that Fireman's Park was founded. In November 1883, the Mechanics Engine Company No. 1 and the Hook and Ladder Company No.1, purchased 14 acres of land from Pocahontas Higgins through his guardian, David B. Williams. Together, these two companies paid $80 per acre for a total of $1,120. The tract of land was named Fireman's Park, a name it still holds today. It was deeded to the Brenham Fire Department in 1884 and eventually deeded to the City in 1917.

Heritage Preservation
Fireman's Park has been home to the annual
The Finke Pavilion and the Fireman's Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
2. The Finke Pavilion and the Fireman's Park Marker
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Maifest, a popular German festival, since 1884. It is also the original site of the Washington County Fair. The park houses the Flying Horses Antique Carousel, the Finke Pavilion, the American Legion Hall, Veteran's Plaza and Fireman's Field. Each building has history all its own. Two of the Washington County Little League's original fields, Greenwade and Pflughaupt fields, were part of Fireman's Park. Greenwade still remains as the site of a baseball themed playscape. Brenham is the Baseball Capital of Texas and is home to Fireman's Field, one of the nicest high school ballparks in America. Nolan Ryan pitched against the Cubs at Fireman's Field in 1965 and legend has it that the field was the site of the Texas A&M and University of Texas alumni baseball games.

Historic Features
A 16-sided building was constructed to house the Flying Horses Carousel, in 1932. That building, along with the original kitchen, American Legion Hall, beer garden and a small hut were part of a Works Progress Administration project. The carousel building received a new roof as part of a renovation of the park and a new kitchen was built as well, but the American Legion Hall and hut remain as they were originally constructed.

Community Support
Fireman's Park has always enjoyed strong community support. The Flying Horses Carousel was maintained for a number of
The Maipole is used in the Maifest festival image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
3. The Maipole is used in the Maifest festival
years by local civic groups like the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. The Washington County Arts Council sponsors a "Music in the Park" program during the summer, opening the carousel to children free of charge. And of course, Maifest continues its tradition of celebrating the local heritage at Fireman's. A community supported renovation of the Flying Horses and the building housing it turned into a total facelift for the park in 2005. A fund raising effort - "Rally Round the Carousel" - was started. A local family came forward with monies to construct a new pavilion in the old turnverein style. Nearly $200,000 was raised in private donations, grants and sales tax revenues to cover the renovations. The park "re-opened" in 2007 as part of the Maifest celebration and it continues to draw both local residents and visitors to its attractions.

Captions
Original Pavilion

1st Little League - 1950

Renovated Carousel Building

Finke Pavilion and Kitchen, 2007
 
Erected 2014 by Texas Recreation and Park Society.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational AreasWar, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1866.
 
Location. 30° 10.394′ N, 96° 24.042′ W. Marker is in Brenham, Texas, in Washington County. Marker
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can be reached from the intersection of North Park Street and Davis Street. The marker is located west of the the pavilion in the Fireman's Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 901 North Park Street, Brenham TX 77833, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Brenham Maifest (within shouting distance of this marker); Lest They Be Forgotten (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Methodist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); B'Nai Abraham Synagogue (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Baptist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Christian Church of Brenham (approx. 0.4 miles away); Washington County, C.S.A. (approx. 0.4 miles away); Washington County Courthouse (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brenham.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 24, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 23, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 23, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.

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May. 12, 2021