Ashland, PA Parks & Fields

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Dec 19, 2003
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Parks and Fields The great Depression began with the stock market crash in October of 1929. To keep themselves busy, groups of idle neighborhood men - with assistance from borough workers and the W.P.A. - began clearing areas to create parks in the town. Three such parks are in this general part of town.
Willow Park
Willow Park was the first to be completed with swings, slides, pavilions, and at one time, home of the Ashland Little League Field. With recent efforts, the Willow park was brought back, and home of the Ashland Girls Softball League.
Higher-Ups Park
The Higher-Ups Park at 18th and Spruce Streets, is second. In 1932 a group known as the Higher-Ups Community Club, entered an agreement with the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company to lease this former dumping ground at the cost of $1.00 per year for the purpose of creating a park. It was opened to the public in 1933 - much the same as it appears now: a baseball field, restrooms, swings, picnic tables, basketball court and etc. The pavilion was originally an open bandstand that was later enclosed with windows. The Higher-Ups got their name from entries in the annual ABA Parade. They carried paper mache heads on tall poles, higher up than spectators. In 1963 the Pioneer Tunnel was founded adjacent from the Higher-Ups Park. Snyder Drive is the street that runs between them.
Eureka Park
The third park is the Eureka, meaning "I have found it"." It is situated across town between North Fifteenth and Seventeenth Streets, behind Market Street. Work on the park had begun in 1933. In the beginning, park financing was done through festivals, penny bingo and consession stands. the park had a memorable huge sliding board, which was taken down due to the borough's liability insurance on safety concerns. The park today has restrooms, swings, see-saws, monkey bars, pavilions, and etc. the tennis court is below the Ashland Little League's left field next to Arch Street.
Eureka Park Basketball Courts - The lighted basketball courts was another hopping place for the Eureka Park. A little over a decade, starting in the mid 1980's, the basketball courts at the Eureka park brought some fine talent to the North Schuylkill Lady Spartan basketball team. Many career 1000 point scorers came from these dedicated girls, who either practiced on there own time, or played summer leagues sponsored by the Ashland Trusts. These girls were faithfully in the Eureka park until the lights were turned off for curfew, and their performance spoke for themselves. The Lady Spartans had a great run for years with Schuylkill League and District Crowns, and how could we not forget the 1992 State Championship Team. Ashland native Amy Chubb, who shoveled snow off the basketball courts in the winter to practice shooting hoops, was the first Lady Spartan to score a 1000 points. Also another well known Ashland native dedicated to the Eureka Park basketball courts was Amy Wetzel. The most popular Lady Spartan in school history, later played Division I basketball at Virginia Tech.
Toewe-Rebuck Field
The Toewe-Rebuck Field is adjacent to the Eureka Park, Vine Street runs between hem. Toewe-Rebuck field is home of the Ashland Little League Field. The scoreboard is in memory of James Coyne, and the highest achevement award earned for a little league player was named after Mark Trautmen (Award). Toewe Field was the original name, and honored after Elmer Toewe. Later, a dedicated and most popular Ashland Little League and District 24 President James Rebuck who spent many years with the little league, passed away in 1997. In his memory and honor, a monument at center field was established and his was name added to rename: Toewe-Rebuck Field. On the monument has the picture of Rebuck wearing a Notre Dame hat. Also on the monument has the names of people who dedicated themselves with more than 10 years service to the Ashland Little League organization. Names on the memorial listed below:
Elmer Toewe Jack Fickinger Sam Chillis, Sr. William Urbanowicz Wilbur Tiley Raymond Fishburn, Sr. James Coyne Adam J. Bernodin, Jr. Edward Hede Carol Hughes Mark Trautman Sueann & Kevin Kowalick Robert K. Felker Jean Miller John L. Snyder Doug Gressens Sis Mervine Joe & Betsy Woodward Bob Gressens Matthew Stutzcavage
Washington Park
Washington Park is owned and maintained by the Washington Fire Company. It had its beginnings sometime in the late 1800s and was the site for many celebrations and outings over the years. The Ashland Boys Association held its Labor Day Reunions here form about 1906 until they were moved to Eureka park in 1955. The ABA was a unique organization where only men and boys got together for a day of reflection and camaraderie. The full story is in the ABA room at the Ashland Area Historic Preservation Society.
During the 1920s, some of the top bands in the country attracted large dance crowds here, rivaling Lakeside Park. In 1934, an amateur walkathon was heldhere. It was an endurance contest where 36 participants from the entire area walked or danced as teams. It continued for about a month and was broadcast WKOK radio. A couple from Locust gap won quite a substantial sum of money. During the depression people did all sorts of things to make money.
The icehouse is about all that's remaining of the original structures - the outdoor theatre, skatiing/dance pavilion and concession stands are gone since 1965 when the fire company voted to demolishion. Today, every weekend is booked well in advance for parties, picnics, fire company events and etc.
Memorial Field
There was a ball field on the north side of Centre Street, near 23rd Street, known as the West End Park or the 23rd Street Field. Memorial field is located at the intersection of Centre Street and Memorial Blvd. During the 1902 miners strike, Ashland was not a center of disturbances, but state militia, in case of trouble erected a tent city in this vicinity. The field was made into a stadium for the Ashland High School football and dedicated on October 24, 1932. Three thousand people attended the dedication.The 1933 football team was first tabbed with the school nickname "Black Diamonds." The first night game ever played under the lights at Memorial Field was against Gilberton High School in 1945. Memorial Field is Home of the 1935 State Championship Team coached by Al Julian and Home of the 1948 Eastern Conference Champs coached by Stan Hino.
In 1966, after the North Schuylkill School District was established. Memorial Field was Home of the North Schuylkill Spartans Football team. In 1978, a new field was built and all home games were played at the new high school complex. The bleachers and light poles from Memorial field were moved to the new Spartan Stadium.
After the North Schuylkill School District moved the football games out of Memorial Field. The Ashland Borough took ownership and responsibility of the field. the Ashland Midget Football Association has played on the field for years and takes part in beautification of the field. Softball games have been played there over the years, American Hose Company's 4th of July Fireworks, ABA Car Cruise/Shows and many other events.
Oakland Park
Oakland Park is a little park located along Oakland Avenue. This park was formed for the children in the Oakland Avenue section of the borough. The park has a basketball court, swings, sliding board, and a couple picnic tables.
Stormy Hill Park
The Stormy Hill park, or sometimes called the German Park, is located on 5th and Spruce Streets. There's swings and a merry-go-round. Stormy Hill Park is famous for sleigh riding in the winter.
9th Street Park
The 9th Street Park, was a park between Spruce and Pine Streets, on the 800 block. The park was formally the site of the 9th Street School, that burned down in 1970. The park consisted of a lighted basketball and tennis court, a merry-go-round, a motorcycle spring moving ride and a rabbit spring moving ride. Today the park doesn't exist, and the property was purchased off the Borough of Ashland from a nearby neighbor.
In 1967, convert|154|acre|km2 of grounds in various parts of town was purchased under Project '70, equally using state and local funds. as a result, the parks are now owned by the borough, with the exception of Washington Park, and the closure and sale of the 9th Street Park.

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