Glasgow Park Getting A Makeover

Glasgow Park Getting A Makeover
Glasgow Park Getting A Makeover
Glasgow Park Getting A Makeover

ABOVE, member Chris Flint and club members Jane Vaughn and Carol Davis work on the new brick walkway for the Glasgow Centennial Park last week. The work is part of the club’s efforts to redesign and revamp the park that was established in 1992-93. AT LEFT, TOP, in this photo from 1992, volunteers plant the new trees and shrubs in Glasgow Centennial Park. AT LEFT, BELOW, a young Teri Bradley Blake adjusts the mulch around a newly planted shrub in Centennial Park in this 1992 photo. She is one of the Glasgow residents responsible for seeing that the 1992 time capsule buried at the park is dug up in 2042.

Glasgow Park Getting A Makeover

GLASGOW Garden Club member Elaine Massie looks over the Frank Padget obelisk at the Centennial Park. The club is going to replant the area at the base of the monument. (Carolyn Bradley photo)

Garden Club Redesigning Centennial Park Space

The lot on the corner of Blue Ridge Road and McCulloch Street in Glasgow, located across from Town Hall, has long been a gathering place for the town’s people.

It is reported that men, women and children would congregate there after school and work to play ball with a homemade rag ball. If there were not enough ball players for two full teams, they would play one-eyed-cat ball, in which the batter had only to run to first base and back home. If the runner made it, he continued to bat; if he was put out, the team would rotate to the next batter. This was probably in the late 1930s to 1940s.

There were also festival-like activities held there where there were booths with various games of chance and food to purchase.

Glasgow celebrated its centennial year in 1992 with a number of activities commemorating its history. On Feb. 29 – yes, a leap year and a cold blustery day – then-Mayor Sam Blackburn read a centennial proclamation to a gathering of about 200 town folk and guests, and ground was broken for a Centennial Park to be built across from Town Hall. The new park was dedicated a year later, Feb. 28, 1993.

The town was chartered on Feb. 29, 1892. In 1992, the town purchased the lot from Mary Baldwin Denbo, a Florida resident who had ties to Glasgow’s past. Dale Huff designed the park, which represented the town with its small low-growing shrubs near one corner while the trees and grassy areas around the outer edges represented the fields and mountains surrounding the town. A brick walkway was added later, along with benches, a rail fence, planters and a sign showing the name Centennial Park.

A time capsule was also buried there to be dug up in 50 years, which will be in 2042. Three young citizens were chosen to be responsible for seeing that it is would be removed in 50 years. They are Nathan Paxton, Teri Bradley Blake and Sara Williams Tomlin.

The Centennial Committee members, along with volunteers from the community, helped plant the many trees and shrubs under the direction of Huff. Others prepared hotdogs on the grill for those working so diligently.

I took a trip now memory lane with the writing of this article. I served as co-chairperson on the Centennial Committee and found myself looking at old albums, news paper clippings, and notes from many meetings.

The granite obelisk honoring hero Frank Padget was moved a few years ago from the railroad property overlooking a canal lock by the river to the park. Padget drowned in the James River in 1854, after saving several folks who had jumped from the canal boat Clinton when it broke loose from its tow ropes and started floating towards Snowden on the swollen, flooded river.

In time, many of the trees and shrubs began to die out and the park began to lose its appeal. Many of the current citizens weren’t even born when it was designed and laid out. Some of the folks involved in the centennial celebration have passed on.

Last year, the Town Council approached the Glasgow Garden Club and asked if the members would consider making a new design for the park, one that would be more inviting for citizens to use on a regular basis.

They worked on plans and presented them to Council during a regular monthly meeting in the fall of 2019. The Council gave them the go-ahead with their plans that would consist of three phases.

In phase one, completed this fall, they removed old trees, the rail fencing, brick formations and timbers. They also removed stumps and scrubby plant material. They pruned, cleaned up, fed and mulched around some original trees left on the lot. The Centennial Park sign was repaired, painted and relocated to the outer corner of the lot and landscaped around it.

The time capsule, placed in the park on the day of the dedication, was also relocated within the park. The flagpole was relocated to the center of the park and lines up with the Padget obelisk. They cleaned out the obelisk base and will replace the plants at its base.

They are currently working on phase 2, which consists of laying a brick walkway from the entrance of the park, across from town hall, to the flagpole, flaring around it and continuing to the Padget obelisk. They also plan to plant hardy low-growing boxwood around the flag pole.

Phase 3 will be addressed in the spring of 2021. They plan to use landscape fabric in areas yet to be planted. They plan to install park lighting and a solar light for the flagpole, and install irrigation and mulch all areas. Members of the club told me they plan to add garden décor, like a sundial, seating and water feature. There are also plans to build a pergola.

Some areas will be just grassy areas that can be used for canopies for special occasions like weddings or birthday parties that could be rented from the town for such activities. The money could go back into a park fund for upkeep. Of course, with benches in place, it will be just a nice place to sit, rest and relax after a walk along Glasgow’s new walking trail now under construction.

We can’t wait to see the finished look and enjoy its many features for years to come.

The News-Gazette

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