Important moments in park history

1892 — Ashland's Chautauqua was established, opening the temple (dome) on July 5, 1893.

1906 — On June 27, W.J. Virgin deeded the mill, the land on which it stood and the water rights to the City of Ashland.

1908 — The citizens of Ashland approved a measure that established the Parks Commission and set aside property for the development of Lithia Park.

1909 — The council appointed the first five-member Parks Commission. Lithia water was found along the banks of Emigrant Creek, located to the southwest of Ashland. It was piped into the city as part of the community's aspirations of becoming a health resort town.

1914 — John McLaren was commissioned to make landscape improvements to the developing park.

1915 — The auto camp was established at the uppermost end of then Lithia Park.

1916 — On July 4-6, Lithia Park was formally dedicated. People gathered from as far away as Portland to San Francisco, drawing a crowd over five times that of the total population of Ashland.

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

1935 — On July 4, Angus Bowmer, an instructor of English at Southern Oregon Normal School, organized the first outdoor showing of a Shakespeare play in Ashland, "The Merchant of Venice."

1937 — Chester (Chet) E. Corry was hired as Park Superintendent. He planted many of the trees and shrubs that currently inhabit the park today. He favored rhododendrons, azaleas, spruce trees and many other species. He was also responsible for many of the paths that are still in use today.

1949 — Butler Band Shell was constructed. It has served the Ashland City Band and still features evening summertime concerts.

1961 — The auto camp was phased out of operation.

1974 — A devastating flood impacted much of the parkland. Residents voted for additional funding for the park, which went into repairing storm damage as well as improvements and repairs.

1997 — The New Years Day flood caused water shortages and sewer system failure for weeks for many Ashland residents. The flood also changed the face of the lower park.