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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Riverside Park

Picture of property North Oregon Street, NE corner of Oswego
Oswego (Labette County)
Listed in National Register Jul 17, 2012

Architect: Wilson & Company; Works Progress Administration
Category: park; outdoor recreation
Thematic Nomination: New Deal-era Resources of Kansas

A group of 36 Oswego-area women formed the Ladies' Entertainment Society in 1887 for the purpose of raising funds to acquire land to establish a park overlooking the Neosho River. They acquired a few acres at a time and in 1902 transferred ownership of the park to the City of Oswego. Small park projects were noted in local newspapers of the early 20th century, but there was no collective effort to fully develop the park until the 1930s. Today's park is largely the reflection of New Deal-era labor that constructed a swimming pool and bathhouse, picnic shelters, and landscape elements. The local newspapers covered seemingly every detail about the construction and subsequent dedication of the pool, but little else of the park's development in the 1930s. Events taking place in the newly developed park included band concerts, family and community picnics, and even "Parkshos," which was described in the Oswego Democrat as a new form of entertainment "where-in patrons view the show from the comfortable luxury of their own motor cars in the cool open air." In subsequent decades the park boundaries expanded, but only this 17-acre historic section is nominated for its local significance in the areas of recreation, entertainment, and architecture.

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