Marker honors Ingleside Club's community legacy

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Some of Ingleside Club's 14 members recently posed with the new marker sign that recognizes the transformation of a turn-of-the-century cow pasture into today's beautiful community park. From left are Jane Staebler, Julie Parker, Lee Johnston, Dorothy Tangeman, Joanne Finch and Kathy Brown. (Press photo by Shelia Tomkins)

By Shelia Tomkins

Guttenberg’s Ingleside Park now hosts a marker purchased by Ingleside Club honoring the club's role in establishing the beautiful and unique riverfront park that borders the Mississippi River.

Club member Lee Johnston furnished the following information on the current project and the role that members have played in community betterment for the past 116 years.

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In 2017, then-current Ingleside Club members Lori Anderson, Bertha Behrend, Katherine Brown, Joanne Finch, Mary Ford, Joan Good, Lee Johnston, Helene Kuempel, Juanita Loven, Cindy Moser, Julie Parker, MJ Smith, Jane Staebler, and Dorothy Tangeman, plus the late Jane Lechner and Borgie Tuecke, decided that the park should have a permanent sign with the park’s name.

The club voted to fund fabrication, delivery and placement of the sign. After approval was received from the park board and city officials, the sign was ordered.  It now rests near the band shell near the intersection of North River Park Drive and China Street. The sign will soon be set off with a few native plants. The Ingleside Club will maintain this area as they currently maintain Triangle Park.

Park history

The story of how the park was founded is excerpted below from Kay E. Degnan’s History of Ingleside Club written in 1977.

“The Ingleside Club was organized as a social and fancy work club by eight ladies of Guttenberg on Nov. 20, 1902.  Ingleside means fireside. Members included Jesse Beyer, Anna McErlain, Augusta Friedlein, Lottie Ihm, Gertrude Pohle, Yetta Purnhage, Olive Pye, and Lulu Schroeder.

“These were energetic, ambitious young matrons who decided early that they would do things other than just socialize and finish their embroidering.  They held a rummage sale and netted $80. This paid for lights in the Methodist church.

“After that, they decided to really do something for the town itself. Someone related what she had read in a newspaper about ladies in a neighboring city beautifying their river front. That was it! A committee was appointed to interview the mayor and council.  Members informed their husbands when they got home, and the idea was heartily endorsed."

Jesse Beyer was then Ingleside president and wife of the town’s doctor, Dr. A. E. Beyer.  “Dr. Beyer met Martin Keller about that time and told him of the plan.” Keller, formerly of Guttenberg and by then a prominent civil engineer, was given the specifications and maps of the area.  Mr. Keller “sent back an intricate plan for Ingleside Park.”  This original map is now on display in the Lockmaster’s House Museum.

“Work was begun on a Sunday.  Husbands arrived with shovels and teams, and that was the beginning of a beautiful park that had been a cow pasture.”  The park stretched north from the school.

“Yes, there was opposition.  Some residents who owned cows that grazed on the area rebelled.  One woman refused to sell milk to a club member, but she later apologized. The club paid for the entire upkeep of the park until the 1930’s.”

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