Spring Park

(Excerpts taken from 150 Years in Osage, Iowa 1856-2006)

Camping was a popular leisure-time activity in the late 1800's, and there was a need for a place close to town where they may go camping.  They needed a safe place for children, offering good water, shade, and a bathing beach.  Land owned by Jacob Haight was purchased on July 2, 1894.  The articles of incorporation for the Spring Park Association were drawn up that day, also.  The purchase price of the capital stock was $12.50, and each stockholder was to contribute $50.  There were 24 charter members in the corporation, which later grew to 55. 

The first season in 1894 was a glorious one.  As soon as school was out, parents and friends began to move down to the park.  Tents with wooden floors and screened front porches were used.  They were placed along the high ground near the river, forming a "Tent City".

The spring was cleaned out and cased in.  The creek was cleaned to the river.  Each family had a container that was left near the spring in the cold water, providing "refrigeration" for their food.  Since Spring Park was a private park, the gates were locked to all but members.  Eash year, however, the park members would hold a "Farmer's Night" for those who weren't members.  Friends and neighbors were invited to the park for an evening party.

In about 1916, K.J. Johnson built the first cottage at the park.  In later years, similar cottages were put up along the river.  But, as time went on, many of the original stockholders moved away, died, or lost interest in the park.  Automobiles made other summer resorts more accessible, and interest in Spring Park began to lag.  Few members were left to pay for the care of the park and it soon became a burden.  Many annual assessments were past due and some changes had to be made.

In 1935, the park property was leased to MItchell COunty for a period of 15 years, with the agreement that they would take care of the roads and the spring.  In 1937, the county wasn't keeping it in good condition, so the directors of the Spring Park Association decided to deed the property to the City of Osage.  In 1938, the park was officially given to the City and it has been well maintained as a city park ever since. 

Over the last 60 years, the park has seen several changes including doubling in size and loss of over 500 elm trees from Dutch Elm Disease.  The park's spring has maintained a constant flow to this day.  The water is tested frequently and tastes great at a temperature of 52°.  The park is used as a picnic, playground, and primitive camping area with numberous patrons annually.