“The Jewel of the Park System”
Before there was the park, there was the prairie. It stretched for miles above the valley of the Big Sioux River, unbroken and unblemished. Before 1856, the prairie above the little river was home only to creatures of the prairie, and to the native people who roamed through its grassland. The only sound that fell across the prairie skies was the breeze rustling through the time-less sod of the earth. The crickets serenaded the night above the prairie, and the prairie larks sang to the land through the day. Boiling, simmering heat that was occasionally broken by thunderstorms and hail marked the summers, and sleet and snow that was driven before the great white wind from the north accompanied the darkness of winter. Above the Big Sioux River Valley, the land lay pregnant with fertility and beauty. For nearly 100 years, McKennan Park has served the city as a place of beauty and open space. The land has never felt the touch of the plow, and the prairie remains the same as it was. It has now been surrounded by the city, but the park land remains open to whoever wishes to stroll beneath the historic trees in the park, or smell the blooms of the rose garden. Helen McKennan wanted her land to be a place where "children, young people, and mothers with their little babies could come and rest in the cool shade, drinking in the fresh air." Today, the prairie land has changed into a park, and McKennan Park has become the crown jewel of the park system. That is exactly what Helen McKennan and E.A. Sherman wanted.
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Sunken Garden/McKennan Park
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
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