In the earliest days before trees lined Kalispell’s residential streets, this was the town’s only wooded area. The dense, dark evergreens that surrounded a swamp were off limits to children because transients from the freight trains camped here and the mosquitoes were fierce. In 1903, the city acquired these 40 acres from the estate of pioneer businessman Charles Conrad. The area remained unimproved until 1911 when the city spent almost $4,000 draining the swamp, excavating for the lake, and landscaping. By 1912, residents enjoyed winter skating, skiing, and sledding on the grounds. A children’s playground, however, had to be removed because the park was still host to mosquitoes and hobos. With the help and cooperation of Mayor John Bruckhauser, the Works Projects Administration (WPA) transformed the “city’s swamp” into a recreational haven during the 1930s. The $120,000 project provided jobs for some 400 local workers and won recognition as one of the country’s “most unique and attractive civic improvements.” Today’s park offers recreational activities for all seasons, hosts weddings and family gatherings, and thus continues to be a favorite place for building memories.
The Montana National Register Sign Program
parks (recreation areas)
building | contributing
East Side Historic District