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How It All Began

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 conversation 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 posed 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 in to donate and raise money as well.

In 1947, the City of Bartlesville had a spot of land located at the corner of West Frank Phillips Boulevard and Santa Fe Street that they were willing to lease. Not long after the land was acquired, Mr. and Mrs. Beasley and their church families began to purchase rides for the park which they named the “Play Pen”. During this period, the park had five rides and charged 5 cents per ride. In 1953, the City notified the park that an area businessman, Armais Arutunoff, had approached the City with a request to purchase the property to expand his company’s business site. That company was Reda Pump which later became Schlumberger.  The city advised the park that it had to move, so the city offered to lease a portion of the land in Johnstone Park where the park is still currently located.

After the lease 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 businesspeople willing to volunteer their time to oversee the operations of the park. They saw the need to hire a staff to manage the operation of the park.  Bud Stapleton was hired to be the superintendent of the park and remained at the park until 1984 serving the park for over 40 years.  During the early years of the park, Bartlesville Playground got the nick name of the “Kiddie Park” and that name is still used today.

Over the years, the Kiddie Park added a few new rides bringing the total to 17 rides in 2021.  In 2022, a new board of directors stepped in and restructured the Park on how the park was managed, ensuring the park will be around for many years to come.  The new board was also able to renegotiate a new long-term lease with the city of Bartlesville and negotiate the land just North of the existing park to expand the Kiddie Park for Bartlesville and the surrounding areas to enjoy.  In 2023, nine new rides were purchased, five to populate the new North area and the other 4 to upgrade the original part of the park.  Also, a complete refurbishment of the old park was started.

“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”.