In the late 1940’s after World War II, American soldiers returned home to begin a family, build their family homes and purchase automobiles. Most families would go on weekend trips to area towns to see the sights and have a little adventure. Bill and Marjorie Beasley, owners of Curtis Sporting Goods of Bartlesville, was one such family who would take their son on trips. On one of their trips, they heard about a neighboring town that had a park, a zoo, a small playground and train. As they were returning home from a fun day with their son Ed, he began to ask his parents why their hometown did not have a park for children. Of course, his comments did become their topic of converstation before going to bed. They agreed before retiring for the night that they would pray about it and perhaps the Lord would send them a message.
The next day, they went to church and while they were there, they began some conversation with their church friends. They agreed their son poised a very good question. Soon the vision of creating a park for children caught on and their friends started to work raising monies through downtown bake sales and pie suppers. Area merchants and businesses joined into donate and raise money as well.
In 1947, the CIty of Bartlesville had a spot of land located at the corner West Frank Phillips Boulevard and Santa Fe Street that they were willing to lease. The park was called the “Play Pen”. Not long after the land was acquired, Mr. and Mrs. Beasley and their church families began to purchase rides for the park. During this period, the park had five rides and ride tickets were only 5 cents. In 1953, the City notified the park that an area businessman had approached the City with a request to purchase the property to expand his company’s business site. The City advised the park that it had to move, so the City offered to lease a portion of the land in Johnstone Park.
After this was approved by the City, Mr. and Mrs. Beasley saw the need for the park to incorporate and form a non-profit organization, with a Board of Directors to oversee the operations of the park known as Bartlesville Playground Association, Inc. The Board of Directors consisted of all local business people willing to volunteer their time. They saw the need to hire a staff to manage the operating of the park and decided to create a whole new name and called it the “Kiddie Park”.
“When your travel’n down the road and looking for fun things to do with your children, “Stop in and visit our park and build your childhood memories with the adventure of fun and laughter. “Remember! The Last Train Ride Is Always Free”.
To see photos of the original Park when it was moved to Johnstone Park Click on the Park History link below.