The city of Bastrop has various spots for sports and recreation, and one of its more prominent ones, East Madison Park, opened on July 4 this week in 1927.
The idea of a city park first came up in about 1924 and was brought up by the Civic League, a group of Bastrop's leading women. Ludlum, Mayor at the time, appointed a Park Committee to oversee plans for one.
They chose a site of 14 acres of land at the intersection of East Madison and Elm Street on which to build the park. $50,000 in bonds were sold to raise money for the construction.
The park included a swimming pool, two bath houses with showers and lockers for storage, a concession house, a small fishing pond, and a band stand where the city band was set to play each Sunday afternoon. Additionally, the park included a zoo with animals such as alligators and opossums, donated by Bastrop locals. The park was completed in eight weeks.
The opening was attended by many and included the first band concert in the park. Judge J.T. Shell, Mayor A. G. McBride and Reverend Early gave speeches and guests enjoyed swimming in the pool and touring the grounds. Some 500 people were said to have visited the park on opening day.
Today East Madison has been renamed Smith and Wilson Park after two local detectives who gave their lives in the line of duty. Currently, the city is working on getting a new sign for the park to note the name change. The city is asking for donations to finance the project. Checks can be made to The City of Bastrop SWP. Any help is appreciated. For more information call 318-331-6220.