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Dodge Park

Dodge ParkLocation: Burncoat Street to Randolph Road -
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Size/Land Area: 13 Acres.

Playground? No.

Ball Field? No.

Pool? No.

 


 

In 1864, Thomas and Eliza Dodge moved to Worcester, where they became generous donors to many organizations. In 1881, he and Charles Washburn organized the Worcester Barbed Wire Fence Company. Thomas Dodge donated the 13 acres of land to establish Dodge Park in 1889.

Thomas H. Dodge was born in Eden, Vermont, September 27, 1823. He grew up on a farm and attended district schools. At age 14, he was employed in the cotton business and started out as a lowly materials roll carrier. He read many books on the spinning and preparation of raw product. Because of his expertise, he delivered a lecture on "The Rise, Progress and Importance of the Cotton Manufacturing of the United States" in 1850.

He was a born inventor and invented a bobbin that saved thousands of dollars per year in the manufacturing of cloth. He also invented a safety valve for a steam boiler while he worked at a cotton factory in Nashua, New Hampshire. In 1851, Dodge noticed that the motion of the wheels of a steam locomotive could be used for a printing press. He designed a press that would print on a roll of paper or cloth. The invention was patented November 18, 1851 and started the chain of inventions leading to the modern printing presses. In 1857, Dodge invented a device to raise and lower the cutting apparatus of a mowing machine, saving hours in manpower.

Dodge studied law in New Hampshire and passed his exam in 1854. He and his wife Eliza moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked in the U.S. patent office. He proposed to the Postmaster General a plan for returning undeliverable letters to their owners that is still in practice today. He continued to merge his law and business careers.

Dodge died on February 12, 1910, leaving a rich legacy of philanthropy to the City of Worcester. After remembering family and friends, Dodge left the remainder of his estate for the establishment of the "Eliza D. and Cora J. D. Dodge Hospital" Fund. This fund continues to provide for needy women and children through the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

History

1889 - Thomas Dodge donated 13 acres of land to establish Dodge Park.

1897 - "The extent to which the park has been patronized the past year has been quite a surprise to the members of the commission. It is of access by the streetcar service, and its natural grove, with the famous Arthur Spring, has furnished an inviting and restful respite for small picnic parties....a new walk has been laid out and constructed....a rustic stone bridge, to span the brook at the edge of the wood has also been built....designed by Martin Green, ex-Commissioner. The expenditures on account of Dodge Park are as follows: manual labor, stone and skilled labor on the bridge, $501.78."

1898 - "The work on Dodge Park for the season of 1898 has been building of a rustic stone structure to cover and protect the natural spring....This beautiful spring of pure water is one of the attractive features of the park, and the increasing number of people who go there daily on the electric cars to fill their jugs and pails and carry the water home for drinking purposes I, in the minds of the commission, the best evidence of the need of protecting the spring from impurities that might contaminate it by the washing of foreign substances from the sloping embankment in close proximity to it....indebted to ex-Commissioner Martin Green who designed this covering....Every year patronage of Dodge Park increases. Family picnicking parties and people seeking a place of quiet and shade are attracted to the spot, which is easy of access to the electric cars and has many natural features not found in other parks in the city....the expenditures on account of Dodge Park are as follows: manual labor, team labor, hardware, tools and repairs, cement, sand and brick, lumber and carpentry, $407.86."

1899 - "Landscape Architect Clewley was engaged to make a topographical survey of the land, and to submit to the board his suggestions for the development of this park. His studies met with general approval....set of working plans embracing walks, lagoons, play-fields, and general planting next spring. Expenditures for the next year, $270.70."

1904 - "The draining and grading of the low and swampy land have been the most important work this past year. 2,302 feet of drain have been constructed, the trenches three and one-half feet deep and two and one-half feet wide being filled with the stone found on the premises and turned out where the land was plowed. After grading, the tract was seeded and rolled. Prior to the school vacation a ball field was laid out with suitable backstops and seats provided for spectators. On the knoll of the play-field adjoining the grove a merry-go-round and two sets of swings were erected."

1906 - "On the westerly and southerly sides of the park a plantation of forest trees has been established, the trees being taken from the North Park nursery. These plantations, with the original growth will surround the playground on three sides, which, it is believed, will be a desirable feature when they reach maturity. Two sanitary buildings have been constructed, that for men in a secluded spot adjoining the playgrounds, and that for women at the southerly end of the picnic grove."

1907 - "The ball grounds have received more attention than formerly. A new walk has been constructed on the hillside, about the spring."

2003 - Michael J. Brown completes an informational kiosk for his Eagle Scout Project, from Boy Scout Troop 54. The kiosk covers the history of Dodge Park, the Dodge Family, and the Greendale Community.

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