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Where Beaumont Plays

NOT many years ago it would have been considered extravagant for a city to buy a tract of land and equip it as a place for play and recreation. Today such a proceeding is as essential in city life as the paving of streets, the laying of sidewalks, and the construction of sewers.

In small towns, parks and playgrounds are not of such great importance, for the houses are usually far apart and there are many places for outdoor recreation; but city life forces many people to live in crowded places where there is little space for yard or grass or trees, Because of such conditions, public parks and playgrounds are a necessity.

People now have shorter working hours than they did twenty or twenty-five years ago. This gives more time for healthful outdoor recreation.

Beaumont's parks are beauty spots where its children can play on green grass and under waving trees, and carry with them into manhood and womanhood the recollections of innocent joyous childhood.

Valentine Wiess at Age 21.
(click here for enlarged image)

V. Wiess Park

As a memorial to her father, Valentine Wiess, Mrs. Paul Sergent gave V. Wiess park to Beaumont in 1916, Mr. Wiess was a prominent figure in the upbuilding of Beaumont, and the member of a pioneer family, being the son of Simon Wiess, who built his home on the Neches river at Wiess Bluff after residing in Beaumont for a time.

In regard to the gift of V. Wiess Park, Mrs. Sergent said: "I make this gift to Beaumont because I love the city where I was born and I want to show that I appreciate all the people of Beaumont did for my father and me. My fat her made his fortune here, and in this gift I am merely returning a portion as my contribution to the sense of obligation I have always felt. Of course I want to perpetuate the memory of my father, and for that reason I wish the park to he named for him. But in the last analysis my whole purpose in making the gift, is that I simply want to do it because I love Beaumont and the people of Beaumont and because I want them to have this property, which I believe is very desirable for park purposes."

There is a little spot on Riverside Drive in New York city, where a small slab marked "To the memory of an obedient child" arrests the attention of countless passersby. In like manner V. Wiess Park will not only keep alive thoughts of a good citizen, but each succeeding year will enhance its significance as the memorial of a devoted daughter.

Keith Park

Keith Park is Beaumont's oldest park, and the citizens owe it to the generosity of the pioneers who laid out the town -- Nancy Tevis, Joseph Grigsby and the Pulsifer Company, composed of Joseph Pulsifer, Henry Millard, and Thomas P . Huling, who, in the original partition of the land in 1837, designated certain tracts for schools, parks and public buildings.

Until 1898, the park was undeveloped. Then J. Frank Keith, lumberman and greatly beloved public-spirited citizen, expended $3,000 in filling and beautifying and in appreciation of his efforts the park was named for him. In early days, Keith park was shaded by giant forest trees, but pavements and buildings sounded the doom of the oaks. The trees there now were planted by Mr. Keith, and he also had the fountain installed.

Fourth of July celebrations in the early days were always held in Keith Park, and the one of July 4, 1878, stands out in the memory of the old-timers. Ox wagons and saddle horses circled the park on that occasion and calico frocks and sunbonnets constituted the picnic costumes of that year. Long tables were erected under the trees and here a barbecue and picnic spread were enjoyed. Mrs. T. A. Lamb was asked to cook squash, which she supplied in huge tubs. Potato and sack races and climbing the greasy pole furnished amusement.

Keith Park boasts three memorials, the Confederate monument, the walking beam of the old Clifton, and a marker to the Beaumont boys who lost their lives in the World War.

Magnolia Park

Magnolia Park was bought from the Beaumont Improvement company and W. P. H. McFaddin on September 9, 1913, by the city of Beaumont through E. A. Fletcher, mayor. Sixteen and one-fourth acres were deeded by the Beaumont Improvement company, for a consideration of $12,210, and a little more than half an acre from W. P. H. McFaddin for $433.50.

Tyrrell Park

Tyrrell Park, a tract of 500 acres, was deeded to the city by Captain W. C. Tyrrell on May 22, 1920, for the purposes of recreation grounds. The land lies west of Hildebrandt's bayou on the Fannett paved highway, and is yet undeveloped into park grounds.

Fletcher Park

In 1910 Capt. W. A. Fletcher deeded to the city certain lots on Collier's Ferry road near the Country Club for public park sites. This property is also unimproved as yet.

One-Hundred-Acres Park

The city also owns a park in the Cartwright addition of 100 acres bought in 1918 for $50,000. The park fronts on Lafayette street between Fannin and Wall.

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