Tucked away in the village of Waterman is an impressive monument honoring the founders of the area. Built in what was known as Greeley Park, the huge monument is lost in the redevelopment of the subdivision over the years.
The Greeley family were residents of Waterman from early on. In 1857 Eber Greeley purchased 80 acres along what is now Elm Street. The property was eventually subdivided by the Greeley family and sold as individual lots.
Greeley Park, or Pioneer Park, was located at the north side of Elm Street, the south east corner at the end of the “narrow cement” in Waterman.
In 1930, Dr. P.E.N. Greeley developed the park which had been a pasture for a neighbor’s cow. As a physician, Dr. Greeley operated a hospital known as the East Side hospital which he ran from 1901 until his death in 1940 in Waterman, but the park was his passion.
Mrs. Maud Greeley, Dr. Greeley’s wife, was a flower person who planted beautiful flowers to border the park. Evergreens, weeping willows, maples, sycamore, and elm trees were planted along with as assortment of flowering trees including ornamental plum and thorn apple trees. Shrubs were represented with white birch, red and yellow alders and others.
The park became an amazing place for people to stroll and an incredible space for botany field trips for children.
Some large and unusual boulders found in the area were placed in the park. Some of the boulders formed a huge monument with a bronze plaque which has the inscription: “Erected to the founders and builders of this community whose rugged spirit and sterling character are here typified, 1931.” Many of Dr. Greeley’s ancestors were among those pioneers.
Dr. Greeley was known to say that someday the park would be the beauty spot of Waterman.
Information provided by Sue Breese