Rathbun Park (formerly Central Park) Mr. Hopkins, of Oswego, has been busy this week measuring Central Park previous to making important changes in its appearance. We learn that it is Mr. Rathbun’s intention to have it nicely laid off with flower beds and winding walks besides being ornamented with handsome shade trees thus rendering it in every sense a park and recreation ground. These changes will greatly add to the appearance of Deseronto and will be hailed with satisfaction by all our residents. The Tribune, October 16th, 1885 The ‘Mr. Rathbun’ referred to in this article from Deseronto’s local newspaper was Edward Wilkes Rathbun (1842-1903). E. W. Rathbun took over the day-to-day running of the Rathbun Company from his father, Hugo Burghardt Rathbun (1812-1886) in 1863. Under his management, the firm became a great success and E. W. Rathbun became a millionaire. The town of Deseronto flourished in these boom times, with its population rising to 3,550 by 1901. Many of these people would have been employed in the Rathbun Company’s mills, factories and works: at its peak, the company employed over 1,500 in the local area. Other inhabitants worked in the stores and local businesses which grew up to provide goods and services for the growing population. The Rathbun family were closely involved with the civic affairs of Deseronto. E. W. Rathbun was Mayor from its incorporation as a Town in 1889 to his death in 1903. The family funded the building of the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer [site 34], where E. W. Rathbun supervised the Sunday School and also purchased the land for the cemetery [site 22]. The cemetery was also landscaped by A. J. Hopkins. E. W. Rathbun’s own house was on the south side of Main Street, very close to this park. During the First World War the house was taken over by the Royal Flying Corps as a military hospital. Airmen injured at the training facilities of Camp Mohawk and Camp Rathbun would have been brought there to recover. The house is no longer standing. In the Hastings County directory of 1889 the park was described in this way: In the centre of the town, on Main street, is a small, well-kept park, at one side of which is a band stand, where the Rathbun Cornet Band discourse music at intervals during the summer months The park was restored in 1992 by the Town of Deseronto, when it was rededicated as the Rathbun Memorial Park to honour the family whose activities had such an impact on the development of the town. The construction of the gazebo was funded through contributions from the Province of Ontario, the Town of Deseronto, the Deseronto Lioness and Deseronto Lions Clubs. It was opened on December 6, 1997.

(Click on the image above for a closer look.)

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Rathbun Park (formerly Central Park)

Mr. Hopkins, of Oswego, has been busy this week measuring Central Park previous to making important changes in its appearance. We learn that it is Mr. Rathbun’s intention to have it nicely laid off with flower beds and winding walks besides being ornamented with handsome shade trees thus rendering it in every sense a park and recreation ground. These changes will greatly add to the appearance of Deseronto and will be hailed with satisfaction by all our residents.

The Tribune, October 16th, 1885

The ‘Mr. Rathbun’ referred to in this article from Deseronto’s local newspaper was Edward Wilkes Rathbun (1842-1903). E. W. Rathbun took over the day-to-day running of the Rathbun Company from his father, Hugo Burghardt Rathbun (1812-1886) in 1863. Under his management, the firm became a great success and E. W. Rathbun became a millionaire. The town of Deseronto flourished in these boom times, with its population rising to 3,550 by 1901. Many of these people would have been employed in the Rathbun Company’s mills, factories and works: at its peak, the company employed over 1,500 in the local area. Other inhabitants worked in the stores and local businesses which grew up to provide goods and services for the growing population.

The Rathbun family were closely involved with the civic affairs of Deseronto. E. W. Rathbun was Mayor from its incorporation as a Town in 1889 to his death in 1903. The family funded the building of the Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer, where E. W. Rathbun supervised the Sunday School, and also purchased the land for the Deseronto cemetery. The cemetery was also landscaped by A. J. Hopkins.

E. W. Rathbun’s own house was on the south side of Main Street, very close to this park. During the First World War the house was taken over by the Royal Flying Corps as a military hospital. Airmen injured at the training facilities of Camp Mohawk and Camp Rathbun would have been brought there to recover. The house is no longer standing.

In the Hastings County directory of 1889 the park was described in this way:

In the centre of the town, on Main street, is a small, well-kept park, at one side of which is a band stand, where the Rathbun Cornet Band discourse music at intervals during the summer months

The park was restored in 1992 by the Town of Deseronto, when it was rededicated as the Rathbun Memorial Park to honour the family whose activities had such an impact on the development of the town. The construction of the gazebo was funded through contributions from the Province of Ontario, the Town of Deseronto, the Deseronto Lioness and Deseronto Lions Clubs. It was opened on December 6, 1997.