Jo-Ann Boepple: 3 Edwardsburg places not seen in a first impression

Published 6:57 pm Friday, September 9, 2011

Last week I wrote about first impressions of this town, what people see upon entering this village from the major roadways. But the beauty of this town is what they don’t see.
We are very fortunate to have three parks within this small village: Library Park, Lindbergh Park and Gunn Park. Thanks to those before us who had a vision and reserved space in this town we have lovely green space for all of us to enjoy.
Library Park is not its official name. It probably never had an official title but is well-known as Library Park because the village library building was moved there.
The park is a triangular piece of ground that was once a cow pasture. It is bordered by Elkhart Street, Cass Street and Church Street.
It was used by the school children as a playground as it was close to the school building built in 1863 across from the Presbyterian church.
In 1911 the Rev. Benjamin Jones came to Edwardsburg as the pastor of the Presbyterian church. He organized a society for the young and old. One section of this society was name the Civic Center with Mrs. Crandall as chairman.
The Civic Center decided to buy and improve this small piece of land, but being short of funds Mr. Redfield, the Rev. Jones and Mr. Allen Dunning  solicited funds from the people in and around Edwardsburg. With the $155 collected they purchased from Blenda Weed the land for $150. However, in Otis Montgomery’s book Edwardsburg, the First One Hundred Fifty Years he states that it was purchased from Mrs. Mertie Reese.
In the purchase agreement it was designated to be a public park and nothing else.
The clearing and plowing of the land was donated by William Runkle and others. With money donated by the Monday Evening Club maple trees were purchased and set in the park along with an evergreen tree. A beautiful canna bed was planted in the center of the park by Mr. Redfield.
Later a building that was to be the library was moved to the park from another location.
The second park is Lindbergh Park, which is at the bottom of the hill on Dailey Road going to Pleasant Lake. It is a small piece of land on the edge of the lake. For many years it was just a neglected, weed-infested strip of land on the lake shore. It latter became the property of the village and was named for Mrs. Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh’s mother.
Mrs. Evangeline Lindbergh’s plane was forced down in a snow storm near that location in a flight from Mexico City to Detroit in 1928. Charles Lindbergh is well-known for flying solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.
So the park was named for Mrs. Lindbergh’s unexpected visit to Edwardsburg.
The last village park is Gunn Park. Mrs. Gunn sold the property to the village for the purpose of providing a park on the shore of Pleasant Lake, where she and her husband raised their family.
This park is on Lake Street and covers 3.2 acres. It is maintained by the village and is the site of the annual Memorial Day Festival.
Area residents are very fortunate to be able to enjoy the pleasant solitude of these three parks. The parks are the three beauties of Edwardsburg and are never seen as a part of a good first impression.