Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jan 25

Shawnee Park Pavilion

Posted on January 25, 2019 at 3:00 PM by Melissa Dalton

We continue our series on historic buildings and structures of Greene County, with this week’s feature being the Shawnee Park Pavilion (Fig 1).

Fig 1. Sketch of Shawnee Park Pavilion by Richard Mauck, as seen in the August 21, 1974 issue of the
Fig 1. Sketch of Shawnee Park Pavilion by Richard L. Mauck, as seen in the August 21, 1974 issue of the Xenia Daily Gazette (Greene County Archives)

Shawnee Park was conceived in 1925 when Patrick H. Flynn, a shoe manufacturer in Xenia, donated 10 acres of land to the Xenia Recreation Association for the creation of a city park as a memorial to his late wife, Elizabeth Trebein Flynn (Fig 2). The land was donated with the restriction that the land could only be used as a park. Although the Association was given the land, they still had to fund development of the park within the 3-year time period determined by the donation.

Fig 2. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated December 10, 1924 (JPG)
Fig 2. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated December 10, 1924 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Within a few months of accepting the land, the Association developed a funding campaign, with an initial goal of collecting $10,000 during a one-day fund drive. This initial goal would fund the construction of a lagoon, rustic bridges, tennis courts, playground, park equipment, gravel walkways, the planting of trees and shrubs (Figs 3 & 4).

Fig 3. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated March 10, 1925 (JPG)
Fig 3. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated March 10, 1925 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig 4. Sketch of proposed park in Xenia Daily Gazette, dated May 27, 1925 (JPG)
Fig 4. Sketch of proposed park (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

After completion, Shawnee Park was a gem to the community, but many felt it needed an auditorium or pavilion. In 1928, after raising over $6000 of the roughly $8000 needed, the cornerstone of the pavilion was laid.

The pavilion became a centerpiece of the park. The park wasn’t just for those seeking a place to walk, run, or bike, but provided a central location to host concerts, church services, school events, social organizations, family gatherings, and the list could go on.

Almost 50 years after the park and pavilion were constructed, the area witnessed the storm of a lifetime. In April 1974, a tornado ripped through Xenia, severely damaging the park and pavilion. As the park was so vital to the citizens, many wanted to see their beloved park brought back to life (Fig 5). Due to the federal and state funding available, and with the help from many businesses and the Greene County Department of Recreation and Parks, Shawnee Park was able to get a complete overhaul, with the pavilion remaining the focal point of the park (Fig 6). According to various newspaper articles, the cost to restore the pavilion alone was roughly $60,000 (which would equate to over $300,000 today). The park also expanded the lagoon and increased picnic and recreational space.

Fig 5. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated October 11, 1974 (JPG)
Fig 5. Article from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated July 8, 1974 (JPG)
Fig 5. Images of the park and pavilion after the 1974 tornado (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Fig 6. Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 25, 1974 (JPG)
Fig 6. Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated September 25, 1974 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

Today, Shawnee Park Pavilion still is a focal point of downtown Xenia. On any given day, people are biking or running through the park, kids are seen playing, and it is a prime location for professional photographs of all kinds (Fig 7)!

Fig 7. Image of Shawnee Park Pavilion (JPG)
Fig 7. Image of Shawnee Park Pavilion (Greene County GIS Maps)

Shawnee Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary in just a few short years, and I think Patrick Flynn would be proud that his donation of 10 acres has remained a treasure in the city he called home.

Until Next Time…

Sources:
City of Xenia
Greene County Archives
Greene County GIS Maps
NewspaperARCHIVE.com


Comments

Janet Hicks
January 25, 2019 at 4:15 PM
Hello. I really enjoy reading your articles about Greene County history. Thank you.

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