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Lithia Park timeline

Lithia Park timeline

1892 — Ashland's Chautauqua is established and a dome to seat 1,000 people is built on a hill above the Plaza in 1893. The dome is expanded in 1905.

1906 — W.J. Virgin deeds Ashland Mills' land south of the Plaza and its water rights to the city of Ashland.

1908 — On Dec. 15, Ashland residents overwhelmingly approve a measure to develop Lithia Park on the mill site and to levy taxes to pay for it.

1909 — City Council appoints the first five-member Parks Commission.

1914-15 — Lithia water near Emigrant Creek is piped into the city as part of the community's aspirations of becoming a health resort town, giving Lithia Park its name. John McLaren, designer of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, is commissioned to make landscape improvements. Gwin S. Butler and D. Perozzi donate land above the Chautauqua for the park. An auto camp is established at the uppermost end.

1916 — On July 4-6, Lithia Park is formally dedicated. People gather from as far away as Portland and San Francisco, drawing a crowd more than five times greater than the total population of Ashland.

1930 — Cabins built during the auto camp days are replaced by bungalows. One cabin that was restored remains today.

1935 — On July 4, Angus Bowmer, an English instructor at Southern Oregon Normal School, organizes the first outdoor showing of a Shakespeare play in Ashland, "The Merchant of Venice," at the Chautauqua. Bowmer later founds the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on the site.

1937 — Chester (Chet) E. Corry is hired as park superintendent. He plants many of the trees and shrubs and lays many of the paths that remain to this day. Among his favorite species: rhododendrons, azaleas and spruce trees.

1949 — Butler Band Shell is constructed.

1961 — The auto camp is phased out of operation.

1974 — A devastating flood impacts much of the park. Residents vote for additional funding for the park to repair damage and make improvements.

1997 — The New Year's Day flood again changes the face of the lower park, prompting another round of improvements — this time with enough room to let the creek chart its own path.