Friday Flashback: Playing near a piece of history

I can recall playing at Robert’s Park when I was a child as it was close enough to our house to be a stopping point.  From what I can remember from back then, it was a little bit on the rickety side, containing equipment that is “too dangerous” today.  (Like metal tornado slides and teeter totters and such!)  I am positive I did not see the historical artifact that had to have been only feet from where I was playing.

Roberts Park pillar details

I think I even missed noticing this intricate piece of architectural beauty when I first took my kids to play at Roberts Park.  One day I must have been a little less sleep deprived because I finally noticed this sign.

Story behind Roberts Park pillars

Because I wanted to find out even more than what the sign said , I did some additional research.  This large carved capstone used to adorn Normal University.  This stately building was designed by famed architect Artemus Roberts and opened as a place ot train teachers in September 1892.  Somehow you could start taking classes whenever you wanted.  Room, board and tuition was a total sum of $24.  (Any takers, current university students?)  Unfortunately the building was destroyed by a fire 6 years later, so the university part ceased to exist.   (Note: additional information was found in the book Lincoln the Prairie Capital James L. McKee).

Roberts Park pillar 3

In 1930, the Roberts family (by then of Roberts Dairy fame) donated sixteen acres of their orchards to become a city park.  When I have been checking into historical information, I am discovering that the details seem to be a bit vague on the college even.  So I am unsure of when this capstone became the foundation of a park.

Roberts Park pillar 1

You can tell, especially on this side, where little feet have turned this monument into a climbing castle.  While the artwork may not be appreciated in the same manner as it once was, the stone “statue” is still being enjoyed.  What places of beauty have you also missed by rushing through your neighborhood?

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Categories: Flashback Fridays, Metro | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Friday Flashback: Playing near a piece of history

  1. Roylene Michels

    These have all been so interesting to read, Gretchen. I am proud of you in the research you have done, the pictures depicting what you are talking about and the general information you have shared. Love you.

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