Harrisburg Park system 1918

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Harrisburg Park system
NEEDS AND GROWTH OF THE PARK, SYSTEM EXPLAINED Assistant Superintendent Forrer Takes Reporter Over City Property For a Tour of Inspection; Labor Shortage Tells "What is doing around the parks, these days, Mr. Forrer?" asked ttia inquisitive reporter of the city's most industrious employe, V. Grant Forrer. whose name has been connected with Harrisburg's magnificent park development through a period of thirteerj years. ;.., 1 . - The agile - superintendent sprang from his swift cruising motor and after untangling himself from a group of picks, shovels and other impedimenta which he was first - aiding to some workmen up alpng Front street, observed that this was a rather broad question, seeing that Harrisburg, estimated from its size is more amply provided with parks than perhaps any other city in America. It struck the reporter that this was the steady slogan in park ac tivities. 'Also he began to wonder very shortly how in the world our parks and drives are kept in such good condition, when the force of help is so limited. This latter fact hit him like a Berlin - Paris shell when looking in at Wildwood Park where one ancient employe has to look after more than 500 acres of land and over eight miles of drives and paths, not to mention a couple miles of lake. This seemed almost funny when one recalled that a foreman and six expert workers are needed all the time to keep the small State Capitol Park ship - shape, the Capitol Park which includes not more than perhaps eleven acres. Ready For Anything The force employed at Front street to lay a walk consisted of two ,men and even the most critical would concede that they know not only how to put down a crushed stone path mixed with cinders but that their talents are versatile as the far - famed "soldiers and sailors, too," of Rudyard Kipling. Your full - jeweled, six - cylinder park employe in these days must be ready to tackle anything, on land or sea; nurse a baby at the Romper Day exercises if called upon. He must be a water man, gardener, carpenter, plumber and fifty other things. Only with this variety of talent could the park de partment maintain its beautiful plant with any degree of perfection. The Front street path extends from Maclay to Calder street. Heretofore it was of clay and most unattractive. The combination of crushed stone and cinders make it, when packed down, an admirable promenade. Alongside of this path the grass has been worn away by myriad footsteps and it was up to the handy - jacks to plant grass, which, however, will not be up before next year. When this lawn is . developed and when the . rip - rapping on the river side of the path is completed no spot along the Susquehanna will be pret tier. As the reporter visited this neighborhood, a trusted man from the nursery on the Island was planting rambler roses in a thousand crevices on the rip - rap, also trailing vines which in a very short time will make a soft, green cover for the now unsightly rocks. Many thousands of cubic yards of dirt were needed to fill in this long walk, but the job was regarded merely as part of the day's work. No more than two men were on this contract and from time to time they were called for immediate assistance to some distant part of the system. The rip - rapping extends from Hamilton to Maclay street. "Where does the lack of help hurt the park system most," was asked Superintendent Forrer. "Either in the policing end or tne nursery," said he after some thought. "In the Island nursery we have at least $15,000 worth of beautiful flowers, ornamental shrubs - and trees. These should be set out at MOTHER CRATS SWEET POWDERS FOR CHILDREN, Htomach TrBlM, Jeethlj in COc - M 1 II I ,.. - k. Warns. IMIB iti my UUrt MOTHER 6 RAT CO, U ), N. T points which have long since been decided upon, and they would great - 1 ly add to the city's general attractiveness. But we absolutely have no men to do this planting. The routine work is so considerable that it is impossible' to get at these things. Another job that challenges us is that' of dressing the Reservoir roads with limestone and putting on a good binder necessary now by reason of the heavy automobile traffic." Shooting down Front street from the paving operations the park hustler pulled up .at the pumping station and called attention to the disappearance of the big sixteen - inch pipes that used to clutter the landscape on the terrace. "We got hold of a Peipher line express wagon one day and rushed the pipes out to Wildwood," said Forrer, "and will use them there for drainage." Hardby gaped the empty lily pond which has caused some sharp comment and Forrer explained that the pond sprung a bad leak in the winter which necessitated draining it and filling it up with tons of clay. When finally adjusted it will be permanently , remedied and any connoisseur can get an eye full of lilies if he lingers about long enough. A loud cry for aid came at this moment from one of the park marines who announced that more hands were instantly needed to launch the floating bathhouse which will be hauled up to the foot of Seneca street next week. It was built by these same park huskies who would be of vast use over with General Pershing, for they can lay a hand to everything. It is a most substantial craft, - witt. twenty - four dressing rooms, planned and built under the direction of Ray T. Stewart. The introduction of this floating bath only emphasizes what the aggressive Forrer would like to see, namely, a huge public bathing place which would give Harrisburg the attraction of an Atlantic City. But again there Is heard the cry: "No Funds." A swing through Cameron Park revealed that one lone employe has these sixty acres to take care of and also two miles of road. It was here that Mr. Forrer reminded what an an immense benefit it would be to have a mounted policeman patrol this road, which forms part of the great higlrway linking . the various parks. It should be understood, too, that sections of this highway remain to be purchased and that if the city does not act soon there is a chance of the property being otherwise disposed of. "A mounted policeman would be a mighty good thing for this place, too," commented Forrer as Wildwood Park loomed up with its 550 - acres and its forty - two acres of placid lake. "It is impossible for a single attendant busy all day to get over this territory on foot." It appeared to the reporter that Wildwood was not excessively popular, judging by the few persons en joying it, and it is a fact t,hat the ten - cent trolley fare has resulted In knocking off the patronage. The same was true in skating davs. Reervoir Park, the beauty spot of the whole great system, most nearly approaches what would be ideal con' ditions for maintaining the proper ties. There were found a foreman and six men to take care of the eighty - nine acres, with wide rolling hills of grass, eight tennis courts, picnic grounds, formal gardens and playgrounds. The latter have just opened and such is the demand for repair and attention that the bulk of the help must pitch in at these activ itles. Then, too, McCormick's Island open up presently, and that calls fo." concentration of forces. Ue Few Men Speaking of Reservoir Park, a re cent visitor, wno ranas nign as a landscape artist, observed that on his tract of fourteen acres twelve men were needed and yet his grass could not compare with the quality main tained at Reservoir. With the num ber or employes aiiowea, it seems quite a marvel that the vast arena nf I grass an be so well kent. Tt is the. custom, related Forrer, to cut the trass along Front street, operating two horsemoweis and two hand - niowert, every week when the weather is rainy. The same mowing force trims the grass at the Island athletic field and at the H. A. C. field, also at the Twelfth street playgrounds and the State street ' plots, which run beyond Eighteenth street. The Harrisburg park system now l"uluaea 1.u,a acres, - or one acre to each seventy of population. In 1903 incie were oniv iorlv - two nrre.. The small force of workmen look after this million - dollar proposition with an incredible economy and efficiency, due in great measure to the energy and knowledge of Superintendent Forrei, who is all over the immense tract every day. In the departure of James A. Shope for Army service the superintendent loses his most able foreman, but, in the final analysis, Forrer is himself almost entirely responsible for the maintenance of park properties. - When one identifies the enormous variety of labor required to keep this monsiei plant running smoothly and cleanly, tlie annual budget of $42, - 088.57 sfenis quite trivial, compared, for example, to the garbage expense o: $70,000. Here are eighten playgrounds, twenty - one tennis courts, basketball courts, football and baseball Ik - Ids,' lunningtracks, all advance. I, model n out - door playground apparatus, skating ponds, nursery camp?. i!iagnific.ent parkways, golf courso and tiiou. - aiics of acres of lawn t" mew ccnlinuously, ii job one would say big enough for a regiment, and the reporter's concluf ion was that Harrisbutg may jis':t1ab)y open the throttle of cnllu'Masm for one municipal activity that practices economy with effiiirrcy. Impersonated His Elder Brother in Great Battle London. How a boy of fourteen impersonated his . elder brother in the great battle in France in April was told in a Folkstone police court recently, when Arthur Stephens was charged with wearing a military uniform without authority, i Young Stephen's elder brother came home on leave early . in the winter and - failed to return to his unit at the proper time.. Eager to get into the fighting, the Tjoy surrendered to the police in the name of his brother. He was sent to his brother's unit, and after sixteen days 'of fighting in the German offensive his identity was discovered and he was sent home Meanwhile, the older brother had rejoined his regiment The fourteen - year - old sol dier was discharged. Sergeant H. G. Miller Now Safely Overseas SERGEANT: H. G. MIDLER Sergeant Harry G. Miller, Company F, 103d Ammunition Train, 28th Division, has arrived safely overseas, notification to his wife, Mrs. Harry G. Miller, 547 South Front street says. He had been in 1 mz'f - I ( ''' r ttr w : , 7 ' f Li wJ.38aw j training at Camp HancockvGa. I

Clipped from
  1. Harrisburg Telegraph,
  2. 20 Jun 1918, Thu,
  3. Page 12

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