loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

loading media...
Fulton St. Park

Fulton St. Park

GRHC - May 8th, 2012

Fulton St. Park, now known as Veteran's Park, was lovingly cared for by an enterprising citizen, Thomas Gilbert, who planted trees and cared for them because he had a vision of the future.



For many years the square we know as Fulton St. Park received no attention other than being a battleground for city and county officials. Citizens petitioned for permission to fence and clean up the square, to build walks and plant trees. Because of Thomas Gilbert’s determination to save the park, the authorities put it under his care for two years.

At his own expense he hired John Steketee to plow the square for two seasons, paying eight dollars each year and taking great care that the maple trees he had planted were not injured. To subdue the weeds and level the surface he planted potatoes one year and sowed oats another, later plowing the oats under for fertilizer.

After Gilbert had the square in good shape the council ordered the marshal to repair the fence and put locks on the gates. Young ladies and their beaus wishing to walk through the park climbed the fence—no small adventure in hoop skirts.

In 1881 the county supervisors replaced the fence and five days later the city marshal tore it up, leaving the postholes for night-walkers to fall into.

With his own hands Gilbert set out young trees, carrying water in pails to moisten their roots. They were his children and were protected and nourished with every care. He had a vision of the future; that is why a bust of Thomas D. Gilbert still resides in Fulton St. Park.



Full Details

TitleFulton St. Park
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; history; Fulton St. Park; Thomas Gilbert; Veteran's Park
Pubdate StringMay 8th, 2012

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC