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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Band Stand in 1906

This week, I posted an excerpt from The Transit Journal of 1906 describing a walk through Rock Springs Park during the early C.A. Smith Years. The article mentioned a band stand which rested on the hill above the lake.

“The grounds around the lake have been left in their natural state except that walks have been laid out, trees trimmed, and the grounds improved to make the hillside attractive and easy to access without destroying the natural scenery. In the midst of this wooded landscape has been erected the band stand where free band concerts are given by celebrated musical organizations.”
Many are familiar with the band shell (pictured above) which was added in 1940 during The Hand Years. It was the only structure built by Bob Hand. All the other structures were from previous owners, including the Ladies Rest House behind the band shell which was one of the original structures built by J.E. McDonald at the turn of the last century. (Courtesy of Mike West)
I was not familiar with the band stand mentioned in the 1906 article, however. I have examined every commercial postcard image of the park and hundreds of photographs, including many from the very early days of the park, but have not seen a band stand shown or labeled on any of them. This leads me to believe the Rustic House (shown below) must be the band stand. It sat exactly where the band stand mentioned in the article rested – on the hillside above the lake in the wooded area just below the crest of the hill.While postcards only label it as “The Rustic House”, I believe it must have also served as the band stand. Today, many bands play in park gazebos. The Rustic House is quite simply a rough hewn gazebo and would have provided ample room and a roof over the heads of band members.

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