22 - Norwayne Field

posted Dec 7, 2015, 5:25 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Dec 7, 2015, 5:25 PM ]
The trees of Norwayne Field have been decked out with lights and lots of people are enjoying evening walks around the park, listening to the Christmas music.  It only seems right that now is the time to share something of the history behind the park. 

Norwayne Field, a Works Progress Administration-built park 
Norwayne Field was built by the Work Projects Administration (WPA) in the 1930's.  Field stone bleachers traverse the hillside forming amphitheater seating for about 1000 spectators.  Originally used as an athletic field, an elevated stone and concrete stage was constructed in the 1990's and the facility is presently used for concerts and other entertainment, especially during the annual Mint Festival on Father's Day weekend in June.  A stone gazebo houses a memorial fountain to local veterans of the Civil and first World Wars.** Winding sidewalks and old-fashioned street lamps make this downtown park a popular place to visit.
**The Memorial Fountain was updated in 2008 to include veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Granada, and peacetime.

“Every possible kind of recreational facility was constructed by WPA, even such delights as skating ponds, ski slopes, and snow slides for children's sledding (one is still enjoyed in North Judson.) Zoos were expanded; many parks sported monkey islands or duck ponds. Community centers nearly always included-or often were little more than-gymnasiums, especially if they were attached to schools. The WPA built hundreds of athletic fields in Indiana for softball, baseball, and football, from simple graded spaces to quite elaborate stadiums, frequently, but not necessarily, adjacent to high schools. Some sports previously considered the domain of the country club set were given wide public access as WPA workers built or expanded tennis courts, golf courses, and swimming Pools in towns all across the state. Many of the bath houses erected for these were quite elaborate and still stand, though many have been abandoned, largely due to rising vandalism. South Bend's Rum Village Park bath house, vaguely inspired by Roman ruins, is one of the finest; a particularly nice fieldstone structure stands in New Castle. For children, almost every WPA park project included a concrete wading pool, but these are rather difficult to find today, as they were closed down with the polio scare of a few decades ago, and most torn out. All these increased recreational opportunities and facilities combined to make parks really for the people which were great sources of community pride." 
From The Works Progress Administration:  
The Legacy of New Deal Works Programs in Indiana
Text by Glory June, Project Director
Indianapolis, 1982
(unpaged, but approximately page 15)

The Veteran's Memorial at Norwayne Field in 1935.

Norwayne Tobaggan run