Park dedicated to Dr. Maasch
Weyauwega gives park new name, more improvements
By James Card
Weyauwega Community Park was renamed after its founder Dr. Lloyd P. Maasch exactly 50 years after it first opened.
At a re-dedication ceremony near the park entrance, the high school band played the national anthem, the American Legion presented the colors and Robert Wisner showcased the months of hard work that he put into his Eagle Scout Project.
The park’s new sign cost $7,000. The city paid for half of it and Wisner fundraised the rest through local donations. It was built by TLC Sign and Warrior Welding helped with the structural base and poles.
The highlight of the anniversary ceremony was a speech by Robert Maasch, the son of Dr. Maasch.
Robert Maasch was 16 years old when his father gave a speech at the park in 1972. He returned to talk about his father’s vision for the park and to read the speech that his father originally gave when the park first opened.
In 1964, Dr. Maasch looked for a spot to open his medical office and the only spot he found was a part of the city square with a bandstand.
There was an archaic law that required cities to maintain a city square but the city of Weyauwega allowed him to purchase the land with the rationale that a doctor’s office provided more value to the community than an old bandstand.
This bothered Dr. Maasch: “Also in my heart, I wished might replace some area for the people of this city. When at a meeting at the chamber of commerce in 1965, a suggestion was made that it would be nice for Weyauwega to have a community park—an idea I had secretly thought of becoming known,” he said.
Welcome to the jungle
Dr. Maasch contacted a man in Minnesota who owned the land of what would eventually be the park. After a year of negotiation, he agreed to sell land. In the fall of 1967 it was purchased with a federal grant for half the purchase price and the city paying for the rest.
They had 14 acres of woods that was described in the words of Dr. Maasch as “almost jungle in appearance.”
Mayor Jack Spierings made opening and closing remarks at the ceremony and he recalled the area as “a good place to go rabbit hunting.”
Dr. Maasch and a gang of volunteers spent the first fall and winter cutting trees and thickets. They kept warm by burning brush piles. The area opened up and throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was whirlwind of volunteerism and community action.
American Legion built the first the first shelter and the Fire Department built the restrooms and storage buildings. They also purchased and refurbished playground equipment from closed country schools.
The road and circle drive were laid out, the softball diamond and tennis courts were constructed, and picnic tables built by industrial art students. A toboggan slide was made and two smaller shelters were built for family reunions.
The Little Red Schoolhouse was renovated and more land was purchased for a man-made swimming lake.
“When fellas are all working voluntarily and enjoying themselves, beer just had to be part of it. My wife wishes she had kept count of the cases of beer used in the construction of the park. She thinks that figure would be staggering,” said Dr. Maasch in his original speech.
Park gets better
Wisner’s sign wasn’t the only one unveiled. Mary Jane Baehman, President of the Weyauwega Area Historical Society, presented a new sign for the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum. On it is a summary of how the schoolhouse came to exist and the actions taken to preserve it for its historical significance.
City Administrator Jeremy Schroeder announced the opening of the new playground. The last bolt was just wrenched the day before.
However, there was still some work to be done. Some dirt needs to be spread and leveled near the playground edge and wood fiber chips need to be spread. Volunteers are welcome to stop by the playground and lend a hand with this work during this week. On the back of the ceremony program was a long list of donors and Schroeder thanked them for their support.
He also announced that city council’s public works committee approved the repaving of the entrance to the park along with the road and parking lot between shelters 1 and 2. This work will be done over the new few months as crews are available.