Whitman Public Park
Built - 1908
Whitman initially was largely an agricultural community but soon grew into an important industrial center, as many New England towns became back in the early days of our country's rich history. The town developed into a great timber-producing area once its forests were tapped of their natural resource and such timber was used in several seaport towns along the New England coast and most importantly in the construction of the frigate U. S. S. Constitution a.k.a. "Old Ironsides." Whitman also developed into an important manufacturing center producing the first shoe racks, cannon balls for the American Revolution, wooden boxes, and nails and tacks at the once Dunbar, Hobart and Whidden Tack Factory which was erected in 1864 and was the largest in the world at that time. The D. B. Gurney Company, still in operation, dates back to 1825 and produces shoes and boots.
In 1908 the Department of Public Works of Whitman, along with the famous Regal (Shoe) Band, got together and summoned up $350 from town funds and another $40 from private donations to construct their very sturdy bandstand which is gazebo-shaped and is raised on a 6-foot stone and mortar foundation with storage space underneath for removable stairs and equipment. The structure was also outfitted with lighting and provides power receptacles for equipment used during concerts and other events.
The bandstand has had many renovations made to it in its over 100 years of existence but maintains its original foundation and floor and is the first and only one Whitman has ever had.
No doubt, a countless number of concerts and private and community events have taken place in Whitman Public Park, designed originally by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted, and on the bandstand. Many bands have taken advantage of Whitman's wonderful structure to play for the citizens of the town and visitors. Some of the bands are Whitman's own Regal Shoe Band and the local American Legion Band. Community functions on the bandstand have been quite varied with the structure playing host to Cub and Boy Scout Troops #22 and #697 who have gathered on the bandstand also to sing Christmas songs.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY:
Frank Lyman, Vice Chairman
Whitman Historical Society