When I was a kid I remember traveling to Springfield, Illinois for vacation. My sister Debbie and I stayed with my grandfather one summer and went to a family reunion where we fed the ducks and geese in this historic park. Today I took a walk with my daughter and she too fed the ducks with left over bread crumbs. One beautiful, but greedy Mallard gobbled up most of the leavings.
We stopped at this site that was only constructed in 2010. The pergola and Iron Spring was restored in honor of Otto Wenneborg by his daughter. The rock out front of the site shared that he thought the spring offered restorative and healthy benefits from the iron and mineral mix. At one time, the water had been kept on tap at the once famous, but now gone, Leland Hotel because of belief that it was beneficial for its cure of rheumatism, gout, and indigestion.
Many others over the years have enjoyed Washington Park. Located on the west side of Springfield, this 150-acre site was added to the Springfield Park District in 1901. The park website shares, “This is one of the historic parks, developed as termini of the urban trolley line in use at the time. Designed by Ossian Simonds, noted for his naturalistic style of landscape design, the park is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its design and many features date back to its original development.”
I wish I could have ridden on that trolley and heard the words of visitors to the park so many years ago. A poem that Otto Wenneborg wrote is engraved on the rock in front of the Iron Spring and his first stanza invites visitors to reflect on the beauty of this public place:
“When the leaves are ripe and golden
And their edges trimmed with red,
And the hybrids of the forest are looking for their winter bed
Then I marvel at the beauty
And the One that put it there…
How beautifully stated and how apt for this beautiful fall day where I too marveled at the beauty through the eyes of an adult and the memories of a child!