submitted by Phyllis Hazen, January 15, 2008


The following paper written by W. S. Fultz was read at the picnic by H. R. Gurtner: In the northeast part of the city of Muscatine, Muscatine county, state of Iowa, there lays a tract of fine, rolling land comprising sixty-three acres, on which are many low mounds said to be Indian graves, large trees of oak, hickory, elm, wild cherry, sycamore and numerous other kinds, cover the main body of the land, while a large plat of natural sod makes an ideal play ground for baseball and other games. West of this land can be seen the home of Mr. James Weed, who for over fifty years has resided there and whose husband, Dr. James Weed, now dead, and herself gave to the city this tract now known as Weed park for a public park, to be used and improved as such.

South and east, half a mile distant flows the Mississippi river and directly east Heinz’s Pickle Farm, with its human bees busily at work can be seen. At the southwest corner the Citizen’s Street Railway cars bring from the city those seeking rest of pleasure. Five years ago at the time of this land being donated, an organization known as the Weed Park Association assumed the improvement of the park and by it and the city a caretaker has been put in charge and fine swings provided, also in the last year a well of water has been provided by the city. On July 19, 1904, eight ladies all representing the Old Settlers of Muscatine county, met at the Park and agreeing that improvements and conveniences were needed, organized a club to be known as the Weed Park Club, their object being to awaken interest in the gift and to show their gratitude by money or work or in what ever way they could by beautifying and improving the Park. An agreement was signed placing the fee of membership at ten cents per year and electing officers from East Hill property owners.

Their first work was to secure Mayor McNutt’s promise of the well which has been redeemed. The Lincoln school then gave pennys for tulip buds and 202 bulbs were planted. The first summer much work was done by Mesdames Gurtner, Gillman, Longstreth and others, carrying water to keep alive the flowers.

On Sept. 14, 1904, Weed Park Club gave its first supper which consisted of hot coffee, buns and ice cream. The president, Ruth McDonald, acting as general manager, and the day being cold, discouragements of all kinds arose, one being no matches or water on the grounds but it passed as a joke and the sum of $5.00 and some new members gave us the first public notice. Mrs. Mary Weed joining the club and expressing the wish to see Weed Park improved gave us new desires. A supper at Mrs. Phoebe Gillman’s, Nov. 22, was a success, although we were unable to feed the multitude who were willing to patronize us. A new sum was thus made and placed in the First National Bank until the end of the year. Then luncheons at homes of the members added to our mite and an oyster supper at the home of Mrs. Blanchard and another in April at Mrs. Gillman’s gave us a membership of sixty-six and $102 for the year’s work and after expenses were paid a balance of $83. A canna bed donated by Mrs. Gurtner and Mrs. Kulp , roses by Emma Bronner and Mrs. Bridgman and Mrs. Gurtner, verbenas by Lincoln Benner and others while everybody gave seeds and annuals, two yecca plants were bought by the club, since donated by Mrs. Longstreth. A bed of lilies planted years ago by Mr. Reppert at the entrance of the park.

In April the Weed Park Club declined to join the Ladies’ Federation of Clubs but received individuals from their club. In May the Weed Park Club joined the Civic Association but was not accepted as they have male members.

The location of a club house caused a difference of opinion among the members when the president seceded from the constitution and by-laws and organized another club, taking our name but not our money as that was voted to be used to buy eight steel swings and one iron chair which are in the park. With the vote of the club the succeeding president was removed and on the expiration of our first year Mrs. Phoebe Gillman was elected to the chair. The old motto of “Invincible” being renewed and with the wish that both clubs may continue and that the cause of our good name may not only bring a club house but many other improvements to the Park, this is submitted by the secretary of the Old Settler’ Association.

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