Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, Ohio updated 27 October 2013

 

Yoctangee Park entrance
Yoctangee Park entrance
Chillicothe Eagle Band Stand abt 1907
Eagle Band Stand abt. 1907
 Chillicothe Raccoon, Yoctangee, -WO

Raccoon cage in Yoctangee Park abt. 1918 note WWI soldier by the cage.

In 1904 the 12 sided cage, designed by John F. Cook, Chillicothe's leading architect, was built around a ginko tree. The pen contained a two-story shelter with 6 rooms in each story and a concrete water basin.

Six Belgian hares were donated and were housed on the island where they could not eat the flowers in the flower beds. A gate was placed on the bridge so that they could not escape and so dogs could not reach them.

September 1905, a den was built for a pair of foxes. The zoo also housed two alligators for a very short time as they climbed a fence and escaped. After recapture it was decided it was to dangerous to keep so they were sent elsewhere.

Deer in Yoctangee Park abt. 1905

Deer in Yoctangee Park abt.. 1905. The Zoo in the park started with two deer donated in 1903 by Richard Enderlin. An area of the park was fenced off as a corral. The two deer were named Dick and Bessie after the donor and his wife. Within a few weeks Bessie gave birth to a fawn which was named Jakie after the hotel owner Jacob Warner by Enderlin. A year later Bessie had twin fawns named Major and Anna.

Soon followed within a year donations of two ducks, two Mongolian pheasants, six peacocks, and three golden pheasants.

flooding in yoctangee park in 1907

The Zoo in the park ended in 1907 following a disaster. On Wednesday, March 12, torrential rains began sending streams out of there banks and causing flooding most of the city east of Paint street to the N&W tracts and south of Seventh as far east as Mulberry, and thence from Fifth street south. Conditions worsened as the bank on the east side of the canal along Hickory Street near Poland Park sending water over Eastern Ave. and onto the southeastern parts of the city. Yoctangee park sustained the greatest damage. The city officials decided to drain the canal into the park to prevent its banks from giving way. The caged animals were moved to higher ground before doing so and the deer freeded.. At 5:30 Friday morning the racing waters broke through the rail embankment that separated the park from the Scioto River. As a result of the flooding only the deer survived and one raccoon was rescued out of the top of a tree and the water fowl.

rail road wreck in flood

After the 1907 flood work began to repair the break in the embankment. a crew with an engine pulling a pile driver, two flat cars loaded with pilings, and a helper engine approaching the site from the northwest nearly reaching their destination when the bank collapsed. Two men were killed in the wreck.

Lake View, Yoctangee Park
Lake View, Yoctangee Park 1918

Yoctangee Lake & park

Yoctangee Park

Flower Beds at Yoctangee Park
Flower Beds, Yoctangee Park 1918

Yocktangee Flower Beds

Flower Beds in Yoctangee Park

Chillicothe Sunset in City Park abt 1912
Sunset in the park about 1912

Chillicothe Yoctangee park 1910

Yoctangee Park about 1910

!940s view of the armory and WW memorial in Yoctangee Park
1940s Armory and WW memorial in Yoctangee Park The Armory was built in 1926.
Yoctangee Park bridge & power house
Park Bridge and Power House
1913 lake and Island Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, OH
1913 Lake & Island Yoctangee Park
Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, Ohio
Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, OH
1910 View of the Pumping Station at Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, Ohio

1910 View of the Plumping Station in Yoctangee Park that was used to to move the water from the wells located near the park up the hill to the water tower.

2008 Pump House Museum, Chillicothe
Pump House Museum 2008
1930s Keepers House at Yoctangee Park, Chillicothe, OH
1930's Keepers house at Yoctangee Park

Yoctangee Park in Chillicothe, Ohio is adjacent to the Historic First Capital District. City Park was the official name of the park from its establishment in 1875 until it was changed to Yoctangee Park sometime in the 1890's by William H. Hunter. The name Yoctangee is a Native American word for "paint", a reference to the skin and clothing pigments of the culture native to the area. The park was once known as the "Old Bed" of the River, or the "Island", because the old Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad (later became the Baltimore and Ohio and now gone) built an embankment to redirect the Scioto River, leaving a marshy river bed with an island left in the center where the river once flowed through the park. For twenty years afterwards Chillicotheans attributed the chills and fever and the shaking ague to the overgrowth in the park, and every epidemic of malaria was attributed to the area, considered a plague spot. The "Old Bed" is a part of the original Ebenezer Zane Section. This man of history is the one who blazed the trail from Wheeling to Maysville, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, under a contract with the Government, that for his services in laying out the large highway, he was to receive, at the crossing of every navigable stream, a full section of land at Wheeling one near Lancaster, and one down on the Ohio River across from Maysville, he was given a patent right by the United States of America to a plot of ground, on February 14th, 1800, and surveyed the required area which ran Northwardly for the South bank of the old Scioto River, between what are now Bridge and Mill Streets, and Northwardly, almost up to Hopetown. Zanesville got its name from Ebenezer Zane, and Zane's Trace and Trail is to become a National Pike. After the Civil War, Chillicothe's newspapers regularly had communications from citizens and physicians, demanding that the great nuisance of the "Old Bed" had to be abated. There came a demand for the acquirement of this spot by the city, for the purpose of draining and cleaning up this pestilential and poisonous cesspool. To finance the purchase of the property, Honorable John H. Putnam member of the Ohio Legislature from this city, had a special Act passed, whereby the municipality had a right to levy a tax for the purchase.

William Poland, a city council member, in the 1870s proposed transforming the swamp into a park. Because of his leadership in the park's development he has become know as the "father of Chillicothe parks."

In 1884 the park board hired well-known landscape architect, Herman Haerlin, to design the park grounds. By the fall of 1904, butternut, oak, chestnut, buckeye, beech, hickory, and other nut bearing trees had been planted. By August of 1905, fifty-six varieties of trees had been planted. Planting of trees and shrubs from the Botanical Gardens at Washington, D.C. were later added through the efforts of Congressman Albert Douglass, of Chillicothe.

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