Henry County IAGenWeb


C. S. Rogers, Publisher

Mt. Pleasant Daily News, May 20, 1915, pg 2


We have been hearing so much the last year about the dreadful expenditures which the council has been making down in Saunders’ Grove, “the City Cow Pasture”, the “Crap Shooters’ Paradise”, the “Boot-Leggers’ Haven”, as the beautiful grove is frequently called, that we concluded that we would take a stroll down there in that much abused and historic place and see what the council really had been doing. There has been created a pretty well defined impression that the council has been blowing in the people’s money down at the Grove with considerable disregard toward the present financial stringency of the times. No one has offered any figures as to the amount spent down there and a good many who have criticized the council have not taken the trouble to look into the matter. Hence, the information herewith given may throw some light upon the plans of the council, what they have been doing, and what they propose to do, and what it has cost the city, and afford the people some grounds for basing an opinion as to whether it has been worthwhile.

The city owns a tract of 26 acres known as the “Grove”. Everybody has been there and knows all about it, as one of the prettiest bits of natural scenery to be found anywhere, and with few towns blessed with such a play ground within four blocks of the business section of the city. The council is slowly landscaping the Grove, laying out drives, bridges, walks, play grounds and other public attractions. It is in fact to be the city play ground. The main or grand entrance is on South White street at the old entrance. Here has been erected four massive pillars of handsome cut stone, the two inner ones outlining the main drive and two outside, and lesser ones, the walks. Electric light wires were led to these posts and run up through the masonry and on the tops will be installed handsome electroliers. From here the drive leads down through the Grove in pleasing curves and easy grades and crossing Saunder’s Creek on a temporary bridge and leaves the grounds about where the Oakland road rises to cross the railroad. At the entrance at the railroad, four more pillars of stone will be erected of about the same shape and design as these at the main entrance. Later a handsome concrete bridge will span the creek just south of the historic spring. At the present time, Van Buren street stops on the north line of the Grove. It has been opened and will be extended south, probably as far as the Catholic church. Already the big ravine has been filled up and the road opened as far as the intersection with the drive leading from the main gate. In time, this north and south drive will be extended still further south and afford an entrance near the Catholic church. At the present time, carriages and automobiles can drive through the Main entrance and down and out by the railroad and in a short time the entrance on the north can also be used. A base ball diamond, tennis courts, croquet grounds and a golf link will be laid out and iron seats will be placed in the park at frequent intervals. Electric lights will be carried down through the drive and city water distributed over the ground. Arrangements will be made for swings and other attractions for the kiddies.

But here is the big question. What has all this cost? Has there been extravagance on the part of the city council? Not a bit of it. Those massive and handsome masonry entrances cost the city a mere song. Every particle of that handsome stone came from the old court house. Did not recognize it did you? Do you remember the massive footing course about the old building and the handsome masonry in the big vaults? As beautiful rocks as ever went into a foundation in this city. Well, Mr. Taft made the city a present of that rock if the city would haul it away. The city did haul it away and built up those entrances. It cost the city merely the hauling and the labor of erection. Extravagant, Wasn’t it? How about the oceans of cinders and material that have been hauled down there to make those drives? Same thing. Practically every cubic yard was secured absolutely free to the city, the only cost being the hauling. For instance, Mr. Hoaglin on the south side finds that his excavations and removal of the old ruins is providing a vast lot of broken stone, brickbats and other rubbish. What is he going to do with it? The city comes along and says, “Give it to us and we will haul it away for you”. So it is carried down to the Grove and made into a permanent drive. Anybody who has a lot of cinders or ashes or clean rubbish, like sand, broken stone or road making material can give it to the city who will haul it down to the Grove or out to the cemetery. Could you make roads cheaper if you tried?

As soon as the people get to going to the Grove, the undesirable element will leave with the advent of the general public. As a place to hold the Chautauqua, it is incomparable. Autos and rigs without number can now drive right into the grounds with all kinds of room to stop. The slope of the ground affords an opportunity for a regular amphitheater effect. There is a very strong effort being made to have the Chautauqua go down there. So before you condemn the city council for the work at the Grove, take the trouble to go down there; go all over the place; look into the cost of the improvement and then if you still think the council unwise and the expenditures unreasonable, go after them. But don’t criticize until you have looked into the matter.

Transcribed and contributed by Pat White, January 2020.

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