In the 1800s, a wealthy family of millers found themselves in possession of over 1,000 acres of land across Clark County and a desire to give back to the community. Over 217 acres of this land straddled Buck Creek in the City of Springfield; though not noted as the best land in the area, two of the brothers of this family thought the space would serve as a respectable city park.
And so, in 1895, John and David L. Snyder approached city leaders and struck a deal: the Snyder brothers would gift the land to the city, and the city would invest the time, resources and energy needed to transform the space into what is today one of Clark County’s largest parks. Sadly, both brothers passed away before they saw their dream realized. By the time the park was finished, two granite stones would stand at the Western Avenue entrance commemorating the men, and in 1902 the iconic stone arch was constructed to honor the park’s initiators.
A year after it was gifted, the park began taking shape under the guiding mind and hands of Mr. Herman Haerlin. The design improvements involved straightening the creek, forming several lakes, planting hundreds of trees and paving roadways throughout. Mr. Ed McIntire served as the park’s first superintendent and helped create a master plan for the roadways throughout the land. On April 22, 1897, nearly 5,000 people came together for a parade and celebration inaugurating Snyder Park.
The park has seen many changes throughout the years, hosting everything from a cement swimming pond to greenhouses, and a bandstand to a canoe house. Though its landscape and landmarks have morphed with the passage of time, Snyder Park still serves as a lush, vibrant space for the free use and enjoyment of our residents.