Celebrate 100 Years of Lithia Park
4th of July Festivities, including 100-year Time Capsule & Centennial Celebration Book
On July 4, 2016, Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) will join with Ashland Parks Foundation and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce to honor Lithia Park and its 100th Birthday at the Ashland 4th of July Celebration. The day will kick off with the 40th Annual APRC 4th of July Run at 7:45 a.m. (near the Ashland Library) followed by the Chamber’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July Parade at 10 a.m. The parade starts at Triangle Park and goes to the Ashland Plaza. The 2016 parade theme will be “Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Lithia Park.” APRC has been selected as the 2016 Parade Grand Marshal and four individuals will assist with this role:
- Ashland Parks Foundation vice-chair Marge Bernard will represent this fundraising non-profit created to assist APRC with reaching its goals.
- APRC Director Michael Black will represent the stewardship provided by Parks staff ove the past 100 years.
- Longtime Ashland resident and volunteer Tom Foster will represent the popular, long-running Lithia Park Nature Walk Program that he initiated. He will also represent the many APRC volunteers who have cared for Lithia Park for 100 years.
- Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Mike Gardiner will represent 108 years of dedicated public service from Ashland Parks & Recreation Commissioners.
During post-parade festivities, APRC will bury a time capsule, at approximately 1:30 p.m., near Enders Shelter in Lithia Park, with the contents revealed in 50 years—2066. The capsule will measure ten inches in diameter and 14 inches long. If you would like to contribute to the time capsule, please submit an item by our deadline of July 1, 2016. Items may be dropped off at the following locations:
Please include your name, business name if applicable, contact information and any other important details. (Please, no food products.) Every effort will be made to include all submitted items. Learn additional details on how to select and preserve items in a time capsule.
- The Grove at 1195 E Main St in Ashland
- The Oak Knoll Golf Course at 3070 Hwy 66 in Ashland
- The APRC Administrative offices at 340 S Pioneer Street in Ashland
“With its incomparable natural landscapes and rich history, Lithia Park has contributed to making Ashland a vibrant place to live and visit,” said Michael Black, APRC Director. “After the parade, we hope you can stop by our booth and say hello, then stay to enjoy the many activities, food and entertainment provided in the Park. On this special 4th of July, come celebrate the jewel of Ashland known as Lithia Park.”
Watch for an upcoming book on Lithia Park, written by local historian and journalist John Enders. This coffee table-style book entitled Lithia Park: The Heart and Soul of Ashland, sponsored by the Ashland Parks Foundation, will be published in October, 2016. Make a donation today by visiting AshlandParksFoundation.com. Donors contributing $100 or more will receive a free signed copy while donors contributing $500 or more will be acknowledged in the book!
Learn more about the past, present and future of Lithia Park…
2016 will also be the launch of a public engagement process for a master plan of the park looking out to the next twenty-plus years. The Park is getting older and requires extensive daily maintenance to keep it in its current condition. As the park ages, its facilities will also need major rehabilitation in order to continue to function.
One major renovation needed in the near future is the Butler-Perozzi Fountain; many others will be identified through the upcoming master planning process. The master plan will also establish a priority for those projects. Proceeds from sales of the Lithia Park book will go to Ashland Parks Foundation, which will provide some of the funding required to implement the plan.
History of Lithia Park…
In 1908, the City of Ashland set aside property on Ashland Creek for development of a city park, authorized a permanent tax levy to fund the park, and appointed members of the city’s first parks commission. These actions were part of a city charter amendment, overwhelmingly adopted by Ashland voters, that “reserved and forever dedicated” city lands bordering Ashland Creek, from the Plaza to the forest reserve, for park purposes. Several years later, John McLaren, the designer and superintendent of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, was hired to develop a landscape plan. After that work was completed, Lithia Park was formally dedicated over the Independence Day holiday, July 4-6, 1916.
An estimated 50,000 people turned out for the 3-day celebration, during which the Butler-Perozzi fountain also was dedicated. Since then, a great number of improvements have been made to the park, and hundreds of thousands of local residents and visitors alike have enjoyed its creeksides, tree canopies, pathways, ponds, picnic areas, children’s playground, Japanese Garden, mineral fountain, flowers, shrubs and amphitheater/bandshell. Lithia Park is truly Ashland’s heart and soul, and one of the finest examples of a public park in the western United States.
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