The Herald Bulletin

September 1, 2013

Scott Underwood: Shadyside Park remains source of community fun, pride

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Since the city purchased it in 1923 and dedicated it to Madison County’s war veterans, Shadyside Park has been a gathering point for Andersonians and other Madison County residents.

If you have any doubt that it’s still a vibrant part of the community, visit the park on a nice evening and you’ll find walkers walking, joggers jogging, anglers fishing and kids playing on the abundance of playground equipment.

The park also hosts a variety of events, including the following over the past few months: a back-to-school festival, a Humane Society dog walkathon, the “If You Grew Up in Anderson” get-together. And next Saturday, the Miriam Project Adoption Services’ annual walk/run will use the Shadyside trail system.

And Shadyside has had a special, personal significance, beyond being a place for entertainment, recreation and relaxation, to hundreds of folks. Here’s one recent example:

Kathryn Stiers and Craig Heman will wed Friday at Shadyside. She’s a member of Frankton High School’s Class of 2004 and graduated from Anderson University in 2010 and again in 2013. He’s a 2009 graduate of Anderson University.

Judging from their March engagement announcement in The Herald Bulletin, a cuter couple you will not find.

Here’s wishing Kathryn and Craig a long and happy marriage of the sort enjoyed by Robert and Theresa (Zion) Sallee, who were married at Shadyside and celebrated their 25th anniversary in June. Their anniversary announcement, noted, “They were both born and raised in Anderson, where they met and fell in love.”

Shadyside, which had first opened in 1987 as a private park for employees of the Inter-Urban Railroad, has two distinct parts. The main, original Shadyside portion, which can be accessed from Broadway. This area boasts the Veterans Commons, the Terraced Gardens, the extensive playground area, an ampitheater, a large stone shelter, the Shadyside Little League fields, a snow sledding hill and other attractions.

The uninitiated might not realize that the park has another dimension, if you cross the river over a walking bridge that leads to the Aqua Gardens area. Here, a paved trail circles Shadyside Lake, which is a favorite fishing spot for many local anglers.

Tom Haston, who died in March at age 85, and other local investors developed Aqua Gardens in the early 1960s. It featured a beach, two fishing lakes and “even lessons for water skiing,” according to Haston’s obituary.

The city of Anderson eventually bought Aqua Gardens, adding yet another set of attractions to Shadyside Park.

After General Motors left town and then the recession hit, Anderson’s parks department budget became only a fraction of what it once was. And Shadyside, like other city parks, has not gotten the attention and improvements that it did in other eras.

Nevertheless, Shadyside remains a jewel of Anderson and a source of community fun and pride.

Editor Scott Underwood’s column appears Mondays. This is the final installment of the Green Spaces series. Search for other columns in the series at

Labor Day Bash at Shadyside The City of Anderson will host its Labor Day Bash today at Shadyside Park. Music will be provided by the Toy Factory Band, 2-5 p.m.; DJ K9, 5 -7 p.m.; and Living Proof Band, 7-10 p.m. The public is invited to attend and bring grills, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks.