Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

1049 Park Avenue

National or State Register of Historic Places
1049 Park Avenue | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Columbus Fireman's Park Complex
Reference Number:04000106
Location (Address):1049 Park Avenue
Columbus Fireman's Park Complex
1049 Park Avenue
Columbus, Columbia County
Dates of Construction: 1917-1923

At the turn of the century, the single city park in Columbus lacked any recreational improvements and was inadequate to serve the rapidly growing population. Citizens began agitating for more parkland in 1915, and were successful in winning a budget allocation to purchase land eight blocks from the city center. Plans became more ambitious when the local volunteer fire department adopted the park as a civic project. Construction of the park was a community endeavor with improvements mostly funded by donations and much of the work conducted by local volunteers.

In June of 1917, the community dedicated its impressive wooden park pavilion with a record-breaking dance event. Seen as a wholesome alternative to the rowdy and bawdy private dance halls, the dances at Fireman's Park were chaperoned by volunteer firefighters who upheld community morals. At 35 cents a dance, hundreds attended each event, making the park a centerpiece of community life. The park pavilion hosted many other types of community events from exhibits to performances.

Local druggist James Quickenden funded the 1923 Prairie School building to serve the growing numbers of "tin-can" tourists, who found the park an idyllic location for the new recreational pastime of auto touring. Called "Rest Haven," the building, designed by noted Wisconsin architect Alfred C. Clas, provided sanitation and cooking facilities for visiting tourists.

The park continued to grow in size and amenities and still plays an active role in the community. Columbus' Fourth of July celebrations are still held in the park and both the Fireman's Pavilion and Rest Haven are used for public recreation.

The park is open to the public during regular hours of operation.

Period of Significance:1917-19231917-1953
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Entertainment/Recreation
Applicable Criteria:Event
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Music Facility
Historic Use:Recreation And Culture: Outdoor Recreation
Architectural Style:Late Victorian
Architectural Style:Prairie School
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Clas, Alfred C.
Architect:Callahan Brothers
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:02/25/2004
State Register Listing Date:10/17/2003
Number of Contributing Buildings:2
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:1
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:1
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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