Park founders aimed for swim site


HANCOCK COUNTY — Paul McNeal from the Hancock County Public Library tells us that the Hancock County Democrat (1862-1956) and the Daily Reporter (1908-63) have been uploaded. You can have free access to Inspire by going to This is part of the Digital Historic Newspapers program. For you genealogists this should be useful.

Barnes Sewer and Septic in Winchester just recently played host to its fifth annual “Crank In.” It seems that they have a circular sock-knitting machine which, as a result of World War I, became popular when the Army needed a million socks. It was invented in 1919.

Do you like Riley Park? I walk down sometimes just to enjoy the quiet. In 1921, the Greenfield City Council ordered the Brandywine be surveyed with the idea of establishing a park around the Old Swimmin’ Hole. The park was dedicated on Riley’s birthday in October 1925. During that day, 3,000 children marched with flowers and flags. There were many floats and speakers. East Greenfield School won the prize of a new flag for 100 percent attendance. According to local newspapers, the Greenfield Kiwanis was responsible for organizing the event.

On one Sunday in the summer of 1929, 500 people enjoyed the park. Also in 1929 three truckloads of iris bulbs were donated and planted by the Flower Growers Association. On July 1, 1930, a pool was dedicated in Riley Park near the current playground, and 57 people used the pool the first day.

In 1931 the Greenfield Federation of Women’s Club dedicated the well house, which is still in existence. The spring it covered is known as Irving Spring after a man who lived in a cabin near the site. The gentleman’s name was Irving Hunt, and he was a friend of James Whitcomb Riley. In 1930 the city sold $25,000 in bonds to improve James Whitcomb Riley Park.

Enough. I have told you everything that I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.