825 Gordon Drive SE
Decatur, Morgan County, Alabama, 35601
Photo: License: Public Domain
Delano Park, operated by the Decatur Parks and Recreation Board, is the oldest park in the city of Decatur, Alabama.
It was created in 1887, as part of a master plan to "re-invent" the City of Decatur, then New Decatur. The city created the "Decatur Land Improvement and Furnace Company" for this specific purpose. The company employed a landscape architect by the name of Nathan Franklin Barrett to design a whole new city that had been ravaged by a yellow fever epidemic and the Civil War. The park was designed to be the focal point of the entire plan.
The park, named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was dedicated in the 1930s by Roosevelt himself and later named in his honor as part of a newspaper contest, which sought to commemorate his vision for municipal parks across America. The land was donated to the city of Albany as part of the New Deal, which included a large plan to develop the poverty-ridden city.
The far eastern end once consisted of a swimming pool called the "Blue Haven". This pool has since been filled in, and the Decatur High marching band now uses a practice field that was created over the former swimming area.
The middle portion of the park contains a children's playground, the new "Splash Pad", and a ditch with a concrete bridge donated to the park. The bridge was moved in the 1930s from Ferry Street to accentuate the beauty of the park and has been a favorite location for young and old alike ever since.
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