Wednesday Jun 08 2011
Let's learn more about Memorial Park, Hall
By: Nancy Hagman, Special to Colfax Record
Hunting for Heavy Metal in Colfax
An empty bag; if you have ever been a hunter you know the term. It means you came home from the hunt empty handed. Therefore, I am starting a list of places that need a plaque. Since the community is trying really hard to get funds for refurbishing their community park and build a pool, this is a good time to tell the story. The Memorial Park and Hall sit on the hillside above historic Colfax. They must have a fascinating history; and yet, the historic significance seems to be lost. I’ve covered all the plaques that are at the ballpark in previous columns – but they turn out to be individual stories of contributors to the cause of the facility needs, dugouts and such. That’s just not the whole story. In the aftermath of World War II, there was a respectful surge of effort to remember the fallen. The Blue Star Highway program of the Garden Clubs of America, which the local group embraced, is an example. After the big war, creating “living” war memorials was the cause celebre. This makes total sense, something that you enjoy everyday like playing softball, and at the same time remember those who made your freedom possible. To the Colfax residents in the post-war era, that meant building a ballpark. There was a ballpark on Ben Taylor Road on the Hubley orchard property. Evidently, that was too far away and not within city limits. Cutting away an entire hillside made sense for a park nearer to town. In the late 1940s, Colfax had acquired what they referred to as the “western addition” to the city. They set aside part of the land for a ballpark and playground. Grace Hubley donated a slice of her property to finish out the needed space. All the community groups and particularly the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed the project. Mayor Oswald Marson, along with a citizens’ committee, spearheaded the fundraising efforts. In January 1948, the official name given was Colfax Area Living War Memorial Park. Today, I am sure, just Memorial Park will do. It gradually consisted of a ballpark, swimming pool, children’s play area, basketball court, and picnic tables. The county got into the act by erecting the Memorial Hall just below the field. Construction of the hall was started in 1949. However, 60 years has taken its toll and the loss of the pool has had a great impact. Today, another citizens’ committee is active and community organizations are discussing how they are going to be involved in improving the park. You can honor the memory of those lost in war by filling out one of the surveys available around town or by calling Kathy Ito at 401-0829.