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A History of Beaver Parks:

I was walking through the park one day

by Keith Shovlin

The Bobcat's ECHO

Beaver Area Schools

November 24, 1998

We live in a town with a rich history and a bright future. The Beaver parks are a symbol of our town's quaintness and a reminder of the past.

In 1791, the state of Pennsylvania sent a surveyor named Daniel Leet to Beaver. Leet laid out a town in a square lot broken down into 64 smaller squares. The four smaller squares in the center and the four corners were all designated as reserved public squares.

On March 12, 1793, all but the eight reserved squares in Beaver were sold. Each reserved square was to be for public use unless the state granted special permission for a structure to be constructed.

On November 24, 1903, the Borough Council of Beaver passed a resolution naming the eight parks.
The square containing the courthouse was named Gibson, in honor of General John Gibson who had commanded Fort McIntosh. In 1971, when the courthouse was expanded, the home of the Honorable Daniel Agnew, a former Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court, was torn down. For this reason, Gibson park was renamed Agnew Square.

The square across Market Street from the Courthouse was named Harmar. This honored Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Harmar, who also commanded Fort McIntosh. A few years later, the park was renamed Quay Square to honor Beaver native Senator Matthew S. Quay, a noted politician and winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The square containing the gazebo was named Irvine, in homage to General William Irvine. Irvine commanded the Western Department which administered Fort McIntosh.

The remaining center square was named McIntosh, for General Lachlan McIntosh who organized the building of the fort which bore his name.

The southwestern square, at the corner of Buffalo Street and River Road, was named Brodhead in honor of Colonel Daniel Brodhead who had commanded the Western Department. Recently, the park was renamed Robert P. Linn Square honoring Mayor Linn for his 50 years of service as the Mayor of Beaver.

The southeastern corner, at the intersection of Beaver Street and River Road, was named Wayne for General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. General Wayne led his army, known as the "Legion of the United States," into the battle of "Fallen Timbers" after training outside of Legionville (near Ambridge). This win over the Native Americans helped secure this area for future settlement.

The northeastern corner, on Fifth Street across from the water lot (Roosevelt Park), was named Bouquet after Colonel Henry Bouquet. He was a Swiss-born British officer who led an expedition against the Ohio Indians on the Beaver plateau in 1764.

The northwestern corner, at the intersection of Buffalo and Fifth Street, was named Clark. This was in honor of George Rogers Clark who was one of the Commissioners Plenipotentiary of the United States. This group, in 1785, wrote the Treaty of Fort McIntosh between the U.S. and the Delaware, Wyandot, Chippewa, and Ottawa Indians.

Several acts were passed over the years allowing buildings to be built on the squares. In 1803, the Beaver Academy was constructed in Irvine Square. Other acts were passed allowing for the building of a courthouse, a jail, and other public buildings on the squares.

In 1814, an act was passed allowing for Clark to be used as a burial ground. It was used for that purpose until the present cemetery was set up in 1865. Most of the bodies buried there remain. Some families have paid for their ancestors to be moved to the new cemetery. The gravestones were removed and a memorial was placed in the center.

Later, the remaining parks were used as playgrounds. The parks each received a playground set. In mid-1998, the playgrounds in Linn and Bouquet Squares were torn down and replaced by newer, safer equipment.

In 1824, part of Irvine Square was appropriated by the Presbyterians for the construction of a church. This church stood until they moved to College Avenue in 1892. In 1829, the Methodist Episcopal Church was built beside the Presbyterians. It was rebuilt in 1867 and was later torn down when they moved to College Avenue in 1905.

In 1834, the aforementioned Beaver Academy was allowed to expand into Wayne Square. In 1877, a new courthouse was built in Gibson Square. It remained there until burning down in 1932. The current courthouse was completed several months after the fire. A Soldier's Monument was erected in McIntosh square in 1900. Originally, it was placed as a memorial to the dead of the Civil War, but has since been regarded as a monument to the soldiers of all wars.

In Irvine Square, a memorial was placed for the soldiers who fought in World War II. In 1982, a memorial was placed in Quay Square for the local soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. Every year, wreaths are placed at both spots on Memorial Day.

In Quay Square, a stage was constructed a few years ago. It has been used many times for concerts and other events in the center parks. In McIntosh Square, a cannon was placed beside the Soldiers monument. This cannon has recently been cleaned and repainted as an Eagle Scout Project by Ian Finn, a senior at Beaver.

These parks were reserved by the state for public use, and have been used that way ever since.