History of Buckley Park
In the early 1900's the residents of Stromsburg had a dream. They wanted a place to develop for recreation in addition to the City Square Park. As any community project takes time, this venture took about two years to complete. In 1912 the City Council accepted a deed for an 11-acre plot of ground on Prairie Creek from J.B. Buckley to be used as a public park. Thus Buckley Park became a part of the City of Stromsburg.
In 1927, interest began for more grounds so that tennis courts might be built and other athletics staged in the park. Through the leadership of the American Legion, Mrs. Buckley, the widow of John B. Buckley, donated another tract of 15 acres joining Buckley Park on the south.
Many hours of work and planning were required to develop Buckley Park and that determination continues today. Through the years a frame pavilion was built on the north side along with a campground. In 1968, tennis courts were constructed as a memorial to H. Ray Anderson by his wife, Winnie. The courts were refurbished in 1995 by Vayden Anderson in memory of his parents, Ray and Winnie. A gift from the Olga Gustafson estate in 1980 resulted in the construction of a basketball court to the south of the tennis courts. Funds were also used for fencing at the tennis and basketball courts.
In 1972 and 1973, considerable improvements were built at the park including a brick pavilion with fireplace and rest rooms, water and sewer lines and asphalt drives. Many charcoal grills for picnickers were also installed. These improvements were made possible in part with a grant from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
A gift in 1986 from Lanny McCormick in memory of his parents, Clair and Helen, was used to install a concrete bridge across Prairie Creek to replace a rotted wooden bridge.
The baseball/football field has been used extensively through the years by youth baseball and softball, school football, men's semi-pro baseball and men's slow-pitch softball. In 1984, a matching grant was received from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for underground sprinklers for the outfield. The field was leveled, sprinklers installed and volunteers, coaches and players laid sod. Several years later, sprinklers were added to the infield and sod was also laid. In February of 1990, the field was named the Don E. Nordberg Field in honor of the long time mayor and Nebraska Baseball Hall of Famer. The lighting for the field was upgraded in 1992. Today the Don E. Nordberg Memorial Field boasts of a grass infield and perfectly manicured turf.
Because of the increasing numbers of youth playing baseball and softball, it was determined in 1988 that an additional field was needed. Ray and Lois Nyffeler donated an acre of land on the southwest edge of Buckley Park to provide enough area for the construction of a softball field. Since that time dugouts, lights, and a scoreboard have been added.
Sand volleyball became popular in the late 1980's and a court was built south of the basketball court. In 1989, a fund drive was held and a new computerized scoreboard was purchased for the baseball/football field and named the Max Quick Memorial Scoreboard.
In 1990 and 1993, Buckley Park received very generous gifts from the Lucy and Carl Holm Estate and the Merwin Carlson Estate. In 1996, a 65-foot-wide picnic shelter was built in memory of Lucy and Carl Holm. This Swedish designed building is a beautiful addition to the park and has been the site of numerous weddings and other special events. Decorative lighting was also installed along the Two Parks Trail. The Holm and Carlson funds have greatly benefited Buckley Park and will continue to do so in the future.
In 2009, the swimming pool was demolished and a new swimming pool was built close to the exact location of the old. The new swimming pool opened for the 2012 season.
What has been a showcase for years will become even more so in the years to come.