In early Osage, people went on camping trips to Nim's ford. This was about ten to twelve miles south of town on the Cedar River. Equipped with tents and provisions, the family might camp out for a week or more.
Some of the Osage campers had a private beach south of the west bridge, opposite the bluff. Here they would have swimming parties. The only means of travel to the camping site was by horse and buggy, ten or twelve miles was out of the question for daily trips so they would stay a week or more and ignore their duties at home. Since these long trips couldn't be taken often, people began looking for a site nearer town.
Jacob Haight owned part of the land where Spring Park is now located. He lived on a farm south of the river. The spring there was called Jacob Haight's Spring.
A committee was formed to look over Haights land. It was two or three miles from town and had a good wagon road. The men talked with Haight and decided to buy twenty acres of land for $60 an acre.
A deed for the land was prepared and signed by Haight July 2, 1894. The articles of incorporation for the Spring Park Association were drawn up that day also. Which stated each stockholder was to contribute $50.
J.W. Annis, president, Charles Sweney, vice-president, W.B. Kingsbury, secretary, and J.H. Johnson, treasurer.
The board of directors consisted of Annis, Sweney, Kingsbury, Henry Pettit and W.L. Eaton, with 24 charter members.
At first the entrance was on the east. A place to keep horses was provided near the entrance. A dam was built on the river. Later the entrance was moved to the northeast corner.
The association built a road down the hill west of the spring. It proved too steep even for horses, so they extended it further west. They moved the barns from the east gate to just south of the spring. There they remained until automobiles replaced horses and they were no longer needed.
Fearing the 21 acres west of their land might be sold and the timber cleared, the association bought the land from Arthur M. Bush on July 21, 1904 for $1,260.
The spring was cleaned out and cased in. The park was private and the gates were locked to all but members. Each year a "Farmers Night" was held for those who weren't members.
As time went on, many original stockholders moved away, died or lost interest in the park. Few were left to pay for the care of the park and it soon became a burden. In 1935 the park was leased by the city of Osage, and on December 5, 1938 it was sold to Osage for $1.
The cleaning and care of the park was done by various groups and organizations. In 1947 the conservation club was formed and from 1948 on they played a big part in the care
of the park.
Free will work was done until 1960 when Marshall "Shorty" Bascomb was hired for full time maintenance. He held this position until his death in November of 1963. At this time Tom Lincoln was hired.
This water is tested periodically and is drinkable. It does have high iron content. Enjoy your stay in Spring Park. Please do not leave litter. Help keep America beautiful.