Marshall Parks and Recreation History

Purchase of the Park

 On March 20th, 1933, on the recommendation of Mayor Joe F. Swisher the Marshall City Council approved the purchase of 110 acres from Ralph H. and Juanita Beth Duggins for $5,000. The purchase of this land was not looked upon with much favor among the citizens of Marshall, as this land was commonly referred to as “goat hill”. Over the years an additional 215.4 acres have been purchased to make a total of 325.4 acres within the park system. 

Celebrate the Opening of the Park

 City Park was dedicated on July 4th, 1933. The celebration included baseball games, a public marriage, speeches by dignitaries, and a rodeo and concluded with a fireworks display. It was estimated that over 25,000 people attended the day’s activities.  

First Park Board

 On August 7th, 1933, Mayor Joe F. Swisher, with the approval of the City Council appointed the first Board that included: Wm. T. Bellamy, Mary Fisher, P.J. Cole, Mrs. E.A. Fake, I.N. Evrard, Imanuel Wittrup, Mrs. George Hatton, Sr., Ben F. Hatcher and R.P. McElwain. 


 Turley Rumans January 3, 1938 – December 31, 1941
Frank Evans January 1, 1942 – May 31, 1943
W.H. Lyons June 1, 1943 – July 27, 1963
C. Edwin Brown August 8, 1963 – December 31, 1974
Dan Rippel January 1, 1975 – August 15, 1975
William Johnston September 1, 1975 – August 1, 1977
J. Marvin Sprigg September 14, 1977 – September 1, 1979
George Brown October 15, 1979 – October 17, 1986
Jack Harvey November 1, 1986 – September 30, 2001
Mel Smith December 15, 2001 – March 15, 2004
Jeff Stubblefield July 1, 2004 – 2018

 Chad Unterreiner 2019 - Current

The First 4th of July Celebration


There were two baseball games played in the morning; one with Slater and the other with Hardeman.


A public marriage was performed by Judge Homer E. Rich between W.A. Davenport and Miss Laura Benton.
Speeches were made by W.L. Nelson of Columbia, Missouri, who had announced for Congressman for the 2nd District and Lou L. Lozier of the State Highway Department.
The Rollins Rodeo and show was held in the afternoon and evening.
The night ended with a fireworks show which became a tradition and is now a big event every 4th of July.

Naming of the Park


From the time of the purchase of the Park, April 3rd, 1933, until September 3rd, 1934, the Park was known merely as the City Park. September 3rd, 1934, the City Council with the approval of the Park Board named this area Indian Foothills Park. The name seems quite appropriate in as much as some think the hills might be Indian mounds. 

Land Purchases/Donated

  • February, 1945, Ridge Park Cemetery leases 100 acres to the Park for the original 9 holes of Golf Course
  • December 2, 1952, Bonnie Gordon donates 23 acres to the City for the Park
  • June 12, 1981, Marshall Housing Authority sells 2.396 acres to the Park for $1.00. This is the site of the Center School which was originally the colored school. This park is named in Honor of Henry W. Peyton, Superintendent of Center School
  • September 23, 1997, Park purchases 10 acres from George R. and Elisabeth L. Hamilton for $1,500.00
  • September 1998/November 2, 1998, City approves “Certificate of Participation Bond” for the purchase of 80 acres for additional 9 holes to Indian Foothills Golf Course

Bond Issues/Sales Tax Votes

  • August 5, 1935, $30K Bond Issue for Swimming Pool, 2/3 majority needed: 769 YES / 750 NO, Vote DEFEATED
  • August 12, 1936, $30K Bond Issue for Swimming Pool, 2/3 majority needed: 1691 YES / 683 NO, Vote PASSED, 71% Approval
  • July 15, 1942, Election held to vote on annual tax of one mill on all taxable property within City of Marshall for the Parks, Vote (Passed)
  • 1945 another one mill was voted on and (Passed)
  • August 5, 1997, ½ cent Sales Tax for Golf Course Expansion was voted down: 1072 NO / 667 YES, Vote DEFEATED, 38% Approval
  • August 7, 2001, ½ cent Sales Tax after 7 years goes to ¼ cent Sales Tax: 1089 YES / 403 NO, Vote PASSED, 73% Approval
  • February 5, 2008, ½ cent Sales Tax added to current ¼ cent Sales Tax (for ½ cent total) in Perpetuity: 1512 YES – 701 NO, Vote PASSED, 67% Approval
  • November 2, 1998, City Council approves “Certificate of Participation Bond” with Golf Construction of America, L.L.C. for construction of Back 9, Driving Range, Practice Greens and Golf House.

Marshall Aquatic Center


August 5th, 1935

The City Council called a Special Election to vote on a $30,000 bond issue for the construction of a Municipal Swimming Pool at the Park. The bond issue was not passed at this time.

August 12th, 1936

Another special eclection was called by the City Council for the purpose of issuing bonds in the amount of $30,000, for the construction of said swimming pool. The bond was passed.

August 17th, 1936

Bonds were sold and R.N. Perkins of Omaha, Nebraska, was employed as the architect for the swimming pool. Mr. Perkins recommended that the swimming pool be located in the south part of the park, north of the ball diamond.

September 11th, 1936

Construction was started on the swimming pool and concession stand after the Election on August 12, 1936 as additional monies were received from the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) Grant of $93,000 for a total of $123,000.

May 2nd, 1938

Volney Ashford was appointed manager of the swimming pool. 

June 1st, 1938

Marshall swimming pool opened to the public. 

Updates made since the pool was first opened:


Renovation to Equipment Room and Water Circulation System funded by 50/50 LWCF(Land & Water Conservation Fund) Grant $60,000 total

August 1, 2002

Complete renovation of Swimming Pool to Aquatic Center with Concession Stand begins after sales tax referendum passed on August 7, 2001 – Aquatic Center - $2,660,650, Concession Stand - $41,000, park improvement fund

May 26, 2003

Marshall Aquatic Center Opens


Main water pump fails and delays opening for two weeks - $12,000 park funds


Replaced sand filters - $10,000, park funds


Glass blocks removed and replaced by split faced block - $5,000 park funds


New drop slides installed - $5,000, park funds, paint large tube slide structure - $3,000, park funds

The Baseball Fields

Osage Field

  •  August 1940 City Council and Park Board approve WPA Project of Wooden Stadium and Ball Field
  • 1941, Osage Stadium is completed for $23,000 and a capacity of 1440
  • 1970’s, Stadium burnt down in suspicious in nature
  • 1978, new bleachers installed - $17,500, park funds
  • 1978, Concession Stand/Restroom built - $44,000 park funds
  • 2006, New Backstop/Dugouts built - $50,000 park funds
  • 2012, Field Leveled, New Irrigation, New Sod, New Fencing and new lighting - $13,000/$15,000/$30,000, MVC $15,000 and park funds

Lyon Bowl


  • 1963, City Council approved $5,000 to purchase lights/poles for the Bowl
  • 1964, ball fields in bowl were named Lyon Bowl in honor/memory of long time Parks and Recreation Director and coach, W.H. Lyons
  • 1964, The fields in the Lyon Bowl were completed and ready for play
  • 1967, water fountain installed in Memory of Orville Lee Merry who passed in 1966
  • 1968, Flag Pole erected in Bowl by Optimist Club of Marshall in Memory of Ricky Sims who passed in 1968
  • 2007, Field #3 renovated, new backstop, new bleachers and dugouts - $20,000 park funds with donations from Marshall Baseball Commission $20,000, $5,000 from MHS and $5,000 from MVC
  • 2017, construction completed Phase 1 renovations to Lyon Bowl Fields #1 and #2 with ADA access walkway to fields – estimated completions date of Phase 1 is June 2017 - $400,000 with donations from KC Royals $10,000, Optimist Club of Marshall $25,000, Wm. Houston Trust $141,000

Guthrey Play Area

Travis Guthrey


This is a children's play area named after Travis Guthrey, a school teacher who was very fond of children. In 1940 Travis Guthrey passed away and left some money to the park to be spent on a playground. This amount didn't cover all the cost of the playground, but it set the ball in motion for building a play area. The original play area included: Slides, swings of all kinds, ocean wave, trapeze bars, jungle gym, chinning bars, fire chief, tilt-a-whirl, kiddie cars, sand boxes, swinging gate, rolling-log, see-saws, merry-go-round, spring horses, and many other things. Since this time Guthrey Play area has had a make-over, the play area was redone in 2008. It now includes a giant web, a rock to climb, swings, slides, and many other things.

  • 1940 Travis Guthrey passed and left $1,500 for play equipment
  • 1954, built by park staff and park funds - $250
  • 1966 Tom Futaba donated $1000 for additional play equipment
  • 1988, shelter renovated - $1,000, park funds
  • 2009 Wayne & Jene Crook donate $15,000 in Memory of their Son Brian Crook for the Playground Renovation
  • 2009 Playground completely renovated w/Rubber play surface and equipment - $258,420, park improvement funds

Peyton Park

  • 1975 Peyton Park Shelter, (20x18) built by Housing Authority prior to selling property to the park in 1981. Shelter cost $2,000.
  • June 12, 1981, Marshall Housing Authority sells 2.396 acres to the Park for $1.00. This is the site of Center School and is named in Honor of Henry W. Peyton, Superintendent of Center School
  • 2009 New Playground Equipment installed - $56.223.00, park improvement fund
  • 2015 Basketball Courts renovated - $18,000, park funds

Disc Golf

Grab interest

  • 2005, 18-holes Disc Golf Course, built and designed by Marshall Disc Flyer Club members - $6,000, park funds
  • 2010, additional 18 holes built and designed by Marshall Disc Flyers Club members - $7,000 park funds
  • 2012, concrete tee pads and alternate pin locations installed by Marshall Disc Flyers Club members - $5,000 park funds
  • 2016, Trail Benches (18) added - DNR Recycling Tire Grant $9,600

Basketball Courts


  •  2007, Removed Basketball Courts for Guthrey Playground renovation
  • 2010, Basketball Courts built by Thompson Construction - $130,000, park improvement fund

Skate Park


October 28, 2006, Marshall Skate Park completed and Grand Opening, 24,000 concrete skate park designed by local skaters Nic Restitudo and Brandon Eades and concrete work led by George McComas - $160,000 park improvement fund 

Tennis Courts


  • 1964, 4 Rock dust courts built
  • 1975, 4 Courts asphalted with fencing/coating, $62,000
  • 1982, Shelter built donated by Doug & Susan Carney
  • 1986, 2 additional asphalt courts built
  • 1987, Re-coated 6 courts, $26,000
  • 2003, Re-surfaced (asphalt)and coated 6 courts - $41,500
  • 2005, concrete hit-back wall installed - $5,000 and wall donated by CSR Quinn
  • 2010, Re-coated 6 courts - $19,700, park improvement fund
  • 2015, Re-coated 6 courts - $41,000, ½ paid by Missouri Valley College

Sand Volleyball Courts


  • 1990, 2 courts built by park staff - $2,500, ½ park funds and ½ donated by Marshall Rotary Club 
  • 2001, 2 courts moved to current location 

Archery Range

Marshall Bow Hunters Club has leased this area for many years

1988, shelter house and concession built by Marshall Bow Hunters Club

1990, restrooms built by Marshall Bow Hunters Club

1992, storage shed built by Marshall Bow Hunters Club
2008, storage shed destroyed by fire
2009, storage shed rebuilt by Marshall Bow Hunters Club

2016, rebuilt walk bridge to 3-D range

Horseshoe Courts

1988, 12 National Horseshoe Pitchers Association approved courts built by Saline Co. Horseshoe Club and other individual donors’ - $1,500

1989, Shelter House built by park staff and funds - $5,000

2007, new lights purchased (park) and installed (MMU) - $2,700 park funds

Indian Foothills Golf Course


Golf Course

1945, construction begins on 9-hole golf course designed by Tom Talbot of Kansas City, MO

June 1, 1946, Indian Foothills Golf Course opened for play

1965, original golf house (now Administration Building) built - $12,500 park funds

1986, Shelter built on original #6, now #2, in Memory of Mr. Kent

1999, construction begins on additional 9 holes, designed by Craig Schreiner Golf Course Architects, Inc., Kansas City, MO

2000, New golf house built by MHS Building Trades Class and 9-Hole expansion, driving range and practice greens, built by Golf Construction of America, L.L.C. - total construction $1,200,000, golf course certificate bond

2002, Lucille Hare Shelter/Restrooms built, donated by Elmer Hare & Family - $13,174

2009, renovated deck and railing – park funds and golf improvement committee

2010, zoysia sod added to Fairways #1-5, park funds and golf improvement committee

2011, zoysia sod added to Fairways #6-9, park funds and golf improvement committee

2014, re-flooring of golf house, donated by Pocahontas golf league

2016, new fairway yardage makers, donated by golf improvement committee

Pro Shop

 The pro shop is operated in conjunction with the golf course. Here one may obtain everything that is needed for the game of golf. 

The park is a beautiful growing place that continues to make changes to help make the park even more enjoyable for everyone. Without the help and support of the community the park would not be where it is today.