Wild Rural Park - Macoupin County Illinois
©compiled 2009 Gloria Frazier
Wild Rural Park - Nilwood Township SW Section 25, Macoupin County IL
Sketch of the park from The History of Macoupin County IL
Sections 25 and 26, Nilwood Township
Wild Rural Park Area in 2009...second pic of area
In 2009, using the 911 road names, you would leave east out of Nilwood on the Waggoner Road to Boston Chapel Road. Turn south on Boston Chapel Road and go to the Sulphur Springs Church and Cemetery located on the west side of the road. The written history recalls that Wild Rural Park was east of the church. It is east of the church but further east than just across the road. The park was located north side of Sulphur Springs road and 1/4 mile west of Slightom Road.
The Story of Macoupin County 1829-1879, Sesquicentennial Historic Committee, 1979
Article compiled by Margaret Klaus.
In the late 1870's, Wild Rural Park was established at Sulphur Springs in the southeast part of Nilwood Township across the road from the union church. It consisted of 60 acres, including a 5-acre animal park where a variety of wild animals were kept; 15 acres of People's Park, including the lake Minnie Bell; the little steamer "Maggie, Lady of the Lake"; an amphitheater, which was memorable for its Dedicatory Camp Meeting of 1875; and 40 acres of wild timberland for Free Ground, Wagon Yard, etc. The grounds were made available free to "all civil societies for holding their mass meetings, picnics, celebrations, etc., excepting on the Lord's Day, which is reserved especially for religious worship." People visiting the grounds were to be of good character and observe the rules of the park. This park was in existence until the 1930's.
From the History of the Nilwood Baptist Church, History Committee, 1969
"At this time there existed a wonderful recreation park at Sulphur Springs, in the southeast part of Nilwood Township, across the road east of Union Church. It was visited by many of the Nilwood townspeople. Called "Wild Rural Park," it consisted of sixty acres, including an Animal Park, in which were kept a variety of wild animals of the West; a park in which there was a small lake, and on the lake shore, the Amphitheatre. The grounds were made available free to "all civil societies for holding their mass meetings, picnics, celebrations, etc., excepting on the Lord's day, which is reserved especially for religious worship." (Several of today's members recall attending church picnics at Wild Rural Park about 1915 to 1920.) Later, Stead's Park, a pond and picnic grounds, would be developed on property settled by Samuel Stead, three miles east of Nilwood and one-half mile west of McVey. Many are still around who have fond memories of pleasant hours spent at Stead's Park, which at one time was leased by Nilwood.)" Some remember swimming in the pond as late as the 1950's.
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