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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Brazil's Forest Park is over 85 years old

Monday, October 9, 2006

(Photo)
Diane Dierks photo

Forest Park was originally known as Staubitzer's woods. In 1921, the Staubitzer heirs deeded the land to the City of Brazil and the Brazil School Board.

By DIANE DIERKS

cddierks@yahoo.com

Ever wondered how Forest Park came to be?

In 1921, the Brazil Civic Club, a luncheon club for businessmen, generated community interest in purchasing the property known as Staubitzer's woods, after hearing that the Staubitzer family was going to sell the land to an Indianapolis lumber company.

The purchase of the land was controversial. Some thought citizens would refuse to pay the increased taxes necessary to carry the loan and maintain the land, according to the late historian, Sam W. Moore. Fortunately, Mayor John J. Jones and members of the city council approved the purchase and Staubitzer's woods became Forest Park on Sept. 8, 1921.

Since that time, Forest Park has become one of Brazil's crown jewels. It is a hub of community activity and a nature lover's haven.

"I've been coming here for 74 years", says Joe Spugnardi, a retired Brazil businessman.

Bill Houck, City Parks and Recreation superintendent, says that people walk year-round in the park, regardless of weather conditions. The park is part of their daily lives.

John James, a local resident who has been coming to the park for about 70 years, remembers a time when Forest Park was so crowded, that people spread their blankets on the ground because all the picnic tables were taken.

The pavilion, also known as the Cow Palace, was constructed in 1924 and was the home of the 4-H fair. According to Moore, the original round swimming pool was built for approximately $10,000 in 1931. The late historian Minnie M. Lewis wrote the log cabins were moved to the park in 1927 and the band shell was added in 1937. The 26-foot-high fountain monument, Chafariz Dos Contos (Fountain of the Tales), was a gift from the Republic of Brazil, South America and was dedicated May 19, 1956.

Today the park continues to grow and inspire the admiration of new generations. Forest Park is the site of the Rotary 4th of July Festival, the Popcorn Festival, Christmas in the Park and the annual go-cart race. The park houses four baseball diamonds, softball field, swimming pool and concessions, horseshoe pit, band shell, grand pavilion, 1/4-mile walking track, two historic log cabins, tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, shelter houses, 18-basket disc golf course and children's playground.

Forest Park is open year-round and closes daily at 11 p.m.



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