Ridgely in Caroline County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Ridgely Memorial Park
— 1919 - 1938 —
It was in the teens when an select group of ladies formed a Community Club in Ridgely. Their goal was to improve the town's appearance. The bulk of the members consisted of the "wives of local merchants, cannery owners, and farmers."
Shortly after World War I in order to clean up land around the train station, the "Memorial Park Project" got underway, conceived by the chairman of the Civic Committee of Ridgely's Community Club, Mrs. Lillie Swing Pearsall.
In memory of men who served in the Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I, shrubs and trees were planted in the park. On Memorial Day a dedication service was held and names of men who served along with men who never returned were named. Townfolks began referring to the park as "Memorial Park", but it wasn't until the 1930's it became official.
From the early 1930's, memorial in the park expanded beyond the memories of those who served their country, to include: living postmasters, school teachers, RR agents, Community Club officers and members, school board members, former prominent citizens, etc.
With the ever changing methods of transportation we cannot offer you title to the grounds you have undertaken to improve…you may have our assurance that in case of further development…(it will) be made in such a manner as to preserve, to the fullest extent, the improvement you will have accomplished."
A community Christmas tree is planted next to the water fountain in memory of Mrs. Mary Worthington Long, the first president of the Ridgely Community Club. A number of trees are also planted as a memorial to other Community Club members who had passed away.
Late May — Memorial Park is dedicated. A Japanese cherry tree is planted in honor of George Washington. The town's 67th anniversary is celebrated and recently planted tree and shrubs are dedicated to specific Civil War and WWI veterans.
Memorial Park expands from Central Avenue out of Breyer's Milk Plant. St. Gertrude's Academy, one of the first to place a memorial in the new section, plants a group of evergreen bushes.
The number of memorials in the park reaches sixty. An article in the Denton Journal reports, "…this park has become one of the shining examples what civic pride, co-operation of all interested persons and hard work can accomplish."
The Railroad terminates passenger service in 1949 and the the idea of the park as a place of remembrance gradually fades from the public consciousness of many. No record remains today correlating specific trees or bushes to individuals.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Parks & Recreational Areas • Railroads & Streetcars • Women. A significant historical year for this entry is 1919.
Location. 38° 56.849′ N, 75° 53.119′ W. Marker is in Ridgely, Maryland, in Caroline County. Marker is on West Belle Street west of Central Avenue (Maryland Route 312), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7 W Belle St, Ridgely MD 21660, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Drinking Fountain (within shouting distance of this marker); Ridgely Railroad Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Saulsbury House - Fifer Hospital - Ridgely House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Town of Ridgely Flag (about 400 feet away); Ridgely, MD 1888 - 1917 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Adkins Arboretum (approx. 2.6 miles away); Wood Ducks (approx. 2.6 miles away); St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ridgely.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 5, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 5, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 5, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.