The New City Park: the Haymarket Square and the Polymorphian Club

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The New City Park: the Haymarket Square and the Polymorphian Club
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THE NEW CITY PARK. THE HAYMARKET SQUARE AND THE POLYMORPHIAN CLUB. What the Club Proposes Doing to Beautify the City. A little over a year ago, about April 12th, 1883, when the Centennial celebration of the landing of the Loyalists was being worked up, a club was formed under the name of the Haymarket Square Polymorphian Club. Its original object was only to take part in the Loyalist celebration. How well they accomplished this object is known to everyone who witnessed the parade of the eighteenth of May last year. Although composed for the most part of men who earned their living at mechanical pursuits during the day, they worked at nights until they got up the various tableaux which adorned their procession. The principal of these were the armored knights, the log cabin, the sloop King George and the 104th Regiment. On all of these a large amount of labor was expended, and as this was a labor of love, it was all the more appreciated by the thousands who witnessed the parade. When that event was over most persons thought the club would disband, but in this they were disappointed, for at a meeting held about the middle of May it was unanimously resolved to continue the club in existence until the fall of the year, the ostensible object being the erection of a drinking fountain on Hay Market Square. All summer long the members of the club solicited subscriptions for this purpose with great success. Money enough was secured for the purpose of the club and the erection of the fountain commenced. It was completed about October 1st, and on the evening of the 4th of that month the handsome fountain, which is an ornament to that part of the city, was unveiled and presented to the Mayor on behalf of the city with appropriate ceremonies. The club having completed their labors then disbanded. Mean-time a quiet agitation was commenced by the people of the locality to have the large space of ground known, as the new Haymarket Square turned into a public ground of the city. Heretofore, it has been a market for the sale of cord wood, hay and large timber. The revenue derived by the city from Wellington market, as it is described in the city accounts, was very small, and as the place was kept in a most unsightly condition the feeling of citizens generally was in favor of the proposed change. After the matter had boon discussed for some time Ald Peters, seconded by ex-Alderman C. A. Robertson, moved in the Common Council that the market committee take into consideration the propriety of making the change desired by the merchants. This proposition was backed by a strong petition from the property owners in the district, and was favorably considered by the market committee, who reported their decision to the Council, and it was adopted. It was not considered advisable to give up the whole space as a public ground, and a portion was still reserved as a market. The accompanying plan gives a very good idea of the new park, the space inside the dotted lines being the plot reserved:- The Council having decided to give up this square, or, more properly speaking, triangle, to the care of the public grounds committee to be kept as a park, the next thing to be done was to have it put in order. There were no available funds at the disposal of the committee to expend on the work, and therefore it was plain that the effort would have to be made by private enterprise. A meeting of the young men of the locality was accordingly called and it was decided to reorganize the Polymorphian club again and have the ground set aside put in decent condition. At a meeting held a month or so ago the club was re-formed with the following officers: Charles Nevins, president; Robert Carr, 1st vice-president; J.F. Fraser, 2nd “ “ Wm. Love, secretary; Wm. McAdoo, treasurer. The present membership of the club is about 100, and as these are all active young men anxious to accomplish the end they have in view, there is little doubt that their efforts will be successful and before the summer closes the new park will be one of the prettiest spots in the city. Like every other thing the club has attempted the men have gone to work with a will and only success can attend such an effort. That portion of the grounds set aside for a park is considerably below the level of the street, and consequently has to be filled in some places to a depth of two and even three feet. This will require a large amount of material. Already about 800 loads of earth and ashes have been delivered at the square, and although this makes quite a show it will take 1,000 or 2,000 loads more to bring the square up to the required level. So far, the work done on the square has been by private subscription, the city only giving the services of the engineer. It was decided at a meeting of the Polymorphian club to turn out in a body and level off the earth already delivered, and to get out all the ashes from the adjacent yards. Last evening about 80 members of the club assembled on the square, and from 7.30 to 0 p. m. the work of levelling of the earth was actively kept up. Every man had either a shovel, a pick or a wheelbarrow, and as every one of these articles was propelled by willing hands, a large amount of work was accomplished, and before the crowd left, the earth, which had lain just as it was dumped, was all levelled off, the ground is now in condition for the reception of more earth. The club will be thankful to any person, whether in the city government or not, for a thousand or more cartloads of earth. When the required filling in has been done and the place assumes a ship-shape appearance, the club will commence the erection of a band stand in the center of the park. It is the intention to make this a very handsome affair as well as a permanent one. It will be of octagonal form and large enough for the comfortable accommodation of any of the city bands. Unlike similar structures that have been erected in other portions of the city, it will have a canopy top, which will add greatly to its appearance. A flag staff will be erected in the center of the band stand, from which will be displayed on holidays the colors of the nation. The square will be laid out in walks and grass plots. Trees will be planted during the fall and it is hoped that next spring the Council will be in a position to erect a fence around the park and complete the sidewalk which as yet has no existence excepting on the plan. Something should be done as soon as possible towards paving the approach to the drinking fountain, for if this is not done the drinking trough can hardly escape without injury. It is too valuable and too useful to be defaced when the expenditure of a few dollars would prevent any injury.