Brief History and Description of the Park District

The Granite City Park District came into existence as a result of a special election held on February 19,1921. The first taxes collected in 1921 were just over $5,000.

A bond issue of $135,000 was passed later in 1921 and Wilson Park was developed and opened to the public on June 1, 1923. An additional 18 acres was added to Wilson Park in 1926.

Mr. Ernest Svieking served as the first Superintendent and was responsible for the development of the beautiful garden area which occurred in the mid 1920s.

The first swimming pool was built in 1922 and had a sand bottom. The diving tower still exists and is now known as the sunken gardens. A new pool was completed in 1940, the result of a $55,000 bond issue and was used until 1992.  The latest (current) pool opened in July 1994 after the community passed a bond referendum for $1.8 million.  It was built adjacent to the ice rink which opened in 1967 after a successful campaign to sell $465,000 in bonds.

One of the first properties purchased by the Park District was the property across from St. Elizabeth Hospital (Now Gateway). It was purchased for $6,500 and was dedicated in 1921 as a memorial to war veterans. The fountain on the property was dedicated in 1961 and is currently undergoing a major renovation to be completed in the spring of 2004.

The information contained here, as well as a full pictorial history of Granite City, can be found in "Granite City A Pictorial History" published in 1996 during Granite City's 100th anniversary, which was the Park District's 75th anniversary.

Photos courtesy of Granite City: A Pictoral History

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