Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin is seeking input from the community on what to do with Bridal Veil Park.
The park is located just west of the Marmaton River on Second Street on the west side of town.
It is a low-lying area encompassed by an attractive, low rock fence on the south.
History of the park
Three concrete picnic tables, a pavilion, and numerous large tree stumps, with a meandering dirt road, are all that’s left of an area that was at first two community swimming pools, one for girls, one for boys.
“It began as Napp’s Park in the 1880s,” Fred Campbell, a local historian said. “It had a large artesian water well in the southeast corner of the park, 40 yards from the entrance. It flowed mineral water. As the water shot up about 20-30 feet from the spring, it looked like a bridal veil.”
In 1936, the Works Progress Administration of the federal government built a new community swimming pool at the current site on Main Street, said Don Miller, a local Fort Scott historian.
“At that point, the (Bridal Veil Park) swimming pools were turned over to the African-American community,” Miller said. “Segregation was the law until 1954.”
After desegregation became law the swimming pools were filled in, Miller said.
In 1986, a flood swept away the brick shelter house at the site, he said.
“After that, it was used for a hang-out place,” Miller said. “There was a lot of illegal activities going on.”
Keep or sell the property?
Fast forward to 2017.
Martin said there is still “suspicious activity” for the Fort Scott Police Department to investigate at that location and it floods easily because of its location near the Marmaton River.
The cost of maintaining the park is approximately $5,000 to $10,000 a year, Martin said.
“Taking care of that park, is it a vision for the future of our city?,” Martin asked in an interview with FortScott.biz.
“There is a vision to have a hookup between Gunn Park and Riverfront Park in the long-term,” Martin said. “We will try to keep an easement for that,” Martin said.
Input requested by November 21
“I’m wanting input from the community between now and November 21,” Martin said. “I talked to people who feel it would not be a good idea to sell the land.”
At the November 21 city commission meeting, a decision will likely be made, he said.
Emails can be sent to [email protected] or call Martin on his cell phone at 620-644-2498.
“I think it will be good for the city to sell the property,” Miller said. “But save the picnic tables. Those were built by the WPA, they have historical value.”