Letter to the Editor

Letter To The Editor

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I have never written a letter to the editor before today, but I feel so strongly about this topic, I was compelled to do so.

I am speaking of the untimely destruction of the fireplace in Carl Miller Park. I am still quite disgruntled that this was allowed to happen! There was no advance warning to my knowledge, it just “happened”. Now a piece of Mountain Home history is forever removed from the fabric of this town! I grew up in the brick house directly across from the park on 10th. I spent countless hours playing on and around that fireplace.

It was a big deal to walk around the backside without falling off…did that many, many times. In the large grassy area right out in front of the fireplace, there was an elevated bandstand. It was a white, wooden structure. The weather took its toll, so it was rotted in places and had to be torn down. If you look at the trees encircling the grassy open area in front of the airplane, you can visualize what used to be there. It was a little piece of small-town America, gone, but the fireplace was still there at least. I always looked forward to the end of the school year, picnic in the park where we would walk from East Elementary for lunch and to play games. We had water balloon fights and played baseball, played on the merry-go-round and teeter-totters and the fireplace. It was always so much fun…wonderful memories! Lilacs used to line the 10th street side and were so beautiful and fragrant in the springtime! I remember people taking advantage of the lush grass and taking a nap under a tree. Apparently, the lilacs were a nuisance too because they were all torn out and never replaced.

I recently attended the Endless Summer Beer Festival in that park because the proceeds go to fund the Christmas lights and I am very much in favor of that! We sat to have something to eat at the tables in front of the fireplace. I reminisced to my husband about how much time I spent playing there. He commented that it was in pretty good shape for as old as it was! Our scout troops often used the fireplace for day camps. It was the focal point of the Jaycees Easter Egg Hunt. Yes, kids that were often up to no good, hung out there on occasion throughout the years, but if it hadn’t been there, they would have found someplace else to hang out. A month later, that landmark is gone because it was, “a nuisance” to law enforcement? It was stated that it was unsafe…did anyone discuss restoring it? We could have had a fund drive to raise money to restore it if that was the issue, but we weren’t given that option, or any other one for that matter! It was a rock structure that had survived many generations and would have survived many more if it had only been given a chance. It stood in the middle of Carl Miller Park for approximately 87 years! I remember when President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the city decorated the pine tree that stood in front of the fireplace with solid blue lights in his honor. It was a piece of Mountain Home history and growing up here and cannot be replaced with a Fine Arts Pavilion! There was plenty of room for both! It was senseless to tear it down. It’s a sad day that this happened and cannot be undone. I guess most of those in our city governing body, do not have their roots in this town so it didn’t mean anything to them.

Debra South

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