The History of Coloma Township Park District
May 2, 1941, Charles & Bessie Nims Schoof donated 5.4 acres of land on Avenue E and East 3rd street, which is known as Nims Park. The park was donated in memory of Mrs. Schoof's parents. Nims Park is on of the most scenic and wooded parks in the district. Nims Park contains a large park picnic shelter, restrooms, playground equipment, a baseball diamond and drinking water. Furthermore, on April 15, 1947, the Coloma Township park District leased the canal property from the U.S. Cor of Engineers at Nims Park to use for recreational purposes. The park also provides fishing and canoeing to many recreational enthusiasts.
May 5th, 1951, Coloma Township Park District leased 1.6 acres along the Rock River on East 2nd street for one dollar per year from the Northwestern Steel & Wire Company to be used by the citizens for recreational purposes. The park was named P.W. Dillon Park at the start, but was later changed to Seward Riverside Park in honor of Frank Seward who served 29 years as a park district commissioner. The park contains a beautiful scenic view of the Rock River and the upper dam. The park is abundant in wildlife. Seward Park has plenty picnic area, a playground, and a free boat launch for local fisherman. Northwestern Steel & Wire Company has since donated the Park for future generations to enjoy!
Lower Dam Park
February 20th, 1959, a portion of the lower dam and surrounding land was transferred to the Coloma Township Park District from Sterling Hydraulic Company. The one acre park offers an exciting view of the Rock River and good fishing! In October, 1985, The Coloma Township Park district was awarded a $67,000 grant from Illinois Department of Conservation. This grant provided 100% funding for improvements to the park as well as access to the boat ramp. The Park District has taken note and gives great appreciation to the City of Rock Falls for installing dusk to dawn security lights for the protection of the community and the park facility. The Coloma Township Park District Board of Commissioners along with the Staff, invites the residents of our wonderful community to visit and enjoy the Park.
December 6th, 1967, park board president Ivan Larson and Mayor Pignatelli journeyed to Springfield, IL to begin work on a matching grant application to purchase property known as the West Canal Development project. The West Canal Development Project was dedicated at Centennial Park in honor of the 100th anniversary of the City of Rock Falls. The 50 acre park is located at Avenue D and East 11th street. It is the largest and most developed of all the parks. Upon entering the gate at Centennial the first park shelter you see is Storybook Village better known as the chicken park. This area is fenced in with a large shelter and all kinds of playground equipment and bathrooms. The next shelter is on the left called the Lions Shelter best known for its lion head water fountain. This shelter was graciously donated to the Park by the Rock Falls Lions Club and has plenty of room for picnics with electricity and a grill. Across from the Lions shelter is the Larson Shelter, This is the largest of the shelters and offers a wonderful view of all the memorial benches and plaques garden. It has a large area for large gatherings with electricity and bathrooms. One of the Larson shelters amenities is the beautifully kept ball diamonds located in back of the shelter. Next is the Krug Shelter which was constructed out of cedar wood in honor of their late father Don Krug. It is tucked in a quaint corner and offers a nice picnic area with electricity and is located next to the tennis courts. In 1976, an outdoor six court tennis complex was dedicated in a Memorial Day Ceremony. The complex has since been dedicated to Harry L. Helgeson for his efforts in bringing quality tennis to the Rock Falls High School and the Park District. The Heide Shelter sits next to the tennis courts as well and offers a nice view and has electricity and bathrooms. Once you pass the Heide Shelter you will see the Paddle boats and canoes that were added to the park 1975. The Park District in 2019 purchased four new paddle boats. These new paddleboats consisted of a Swan, Pirate Ship, Dragon, and a yellow non character boat. This was not the only new addition to the park, we recently finished the construction of the Sigel Shelter this shelter is in honor of our board of director, president, John T. Sigel it is a beautiful new shelter that offers a nice view of the pond and has bathrooms and electricity. This sits adjacent to the Michael Sterba Walk Bridge.
A.V. Sieglinger Memorial Park
A.V. Sieglinger Memorial Park a 17 acre park was a donation made to the Coloma Township Park District in the Fall of 1982 by the A.V. Sieglinger Memorial and Endowment Committee. The committee was created in the spring of 1973, when Allan V. Sieglinger dies at the age of 83 and leaving part of his estate the the A.V. Sieglinger Memorial and Endowment Trust Fund Committee. The total endowment was almost $105,000 but the stipulation on the money stated that only the interest could be spent and not the principal and the money should be used for the youth and youth related activities. During the years of 1973-1981 the committee invested the money wisely building up a substantial cash reserves. Several small projects during this time were funded but the bulk of the money was reinvested. In 1981, the A.V.S.M.E.C. began serious discussions to purchase a park site in Mr. Sieglinger's honor. A satisfactory site was found and purchased with the Park District taking possession in 1982. In the spring of 1983, a master development plan was proposed for the park. Development of the facility began in May of 1983 which included the construction of four baseball diamonds and a concession, storage, and restroom facility. The ball diamonds are completely enclosed with a chain link fence. All of the diamonds were graded, fertilized and seeded in 1983 and the fencing was installed in 1984. The Tee baseball building sits in the center of the four diamonds and features a 120 car parking lot. Containing concessions for the Tee Baseball Auxiliary, with two restrooms handicap acceptable fixtures as well as two storage rooms. Features a full kitchen with plenty of counter space. In 1985 the Sterling-Rock Falls JCA's donated a new flag, flagpole, and memorial plaque to the Coloma Township Park District. The flagpole was installed on the south side of the Concession/storage facility. The Allan V Sieglinger Memorial Park is located on 21st street and 9th avenue. In November of 1985 the Coloma Township Park District Board of Commissioners dedicated four Horseshoe Pitching Courts donated by the late Mr. McNitt family of Rock Falls. within the Allan V Sieglinger Memorial Park. In August of 1989 a new cedar wood family picnic shelter was dedicated. The funding was provided by the Allan V Sieglinger Memorial and Endowment Committee.
July 29, 1941, land was issued to develop Fireman's Park, which is now Wallingford Park on East 7th Street & Avenue C. Wallingford Park was named in honor of E.J. Wallingford who served 17 years on the park board and served 14 years of those as president. Wallingford Park consists of 4.7 acres and has been the home of the Rock Falls Little League for the last 37 years. The park contains three baseball diamonds (one lighted) including the Ike Rubin Diamond dedicated on the Rock Falls Little League's 25th anniversary and constructed with funds provided by the Ike Rubin estate. Restroom facilities, concession stand, and outdoor basketball court and playground equipment are available at Wallingford Park.
February 8th, 1956 the board motioned and approved to purchase 10 lots of land from the Dillon estate for $6,600.00. May 4th, 1956 the board purchased an additional six lots west of the previous ten lots to increase the size of the park. The park was dedicated in honor of Washington Dillon. Dillon Park serves as the new home of the Rock Falls Senior Boys Little League (formerly RF Babe Ruth League), with facilities such as restrooms, concession stand, playground and a lighted ball diamond for evening games. The park today measures around seven acres in area. The Coloma Township Park District and the RF Babe Ruth League officials held a dedication ceremony in May of 1985 marking the completion of construction of a new two story concession & storage facility at the park. The facility was constructed at the southwest corner of Dillon Park on the site of the old concession stand constructed in 1954. This was a joint effort between the RF Babe Ruth Officials and the Coloma Township Park District Board. In the fall of 1984, Babe Ruth officials attended one of the park's board meetings requesting funding to purchase materials to replace the old deteriorating concession stand at Dillon Park, in exchange the Babe Ruth League & volunteers would provide the labor and construct the new facility. The park board agreed to the arrangement and construction began in November 1984.
In 1968 the park board leased and then later purchased 1.5 acres of land from the Rock Falls School District #13,and dedicated the land as Optimist Park. The Park District and the Rock Falls Optimist Club agreed to help develop Optimist together. The amenities includes restrooms, a playground, picnic area and two small ball diamonds.
1979 Centennial Park Purchases and Renovates Administrative & Maintenance Facilities
In the spring of 1979 the Park District purchased and renovated the house at the entrance of Centennial Park. On October 1st, 1979, the Park District officially dedicated its new Administrative office, which has increased its public image of the Park district significantly. In addition to the new Administrative building, The Park District took possession of four lots that were adjacent to the North border of Centennial Park, which is the new Maintenance building which stands at 30 feet by 45 feet. In the same year the Park District completed the new pedestrian footbridge which added an additional ten acres of property on the west border of the park for future development.
Spring 1983 Jogging / Fitness Course Added
A twenty station jogging and fitness course was added along the West border of the park. Also located on the west border of the park is a new shelter, AAL Shelter, donated by the "Aid Association for Lutherans" which was completed in the summer of 1983 and compliments the use of the jogging course.
On August 12th, 1975, The Coloma Township Park District's Board approved the acceptance of Robert Hampton's 3.5 acre land donation which is located at the end of Minkle street. The land was later dedicated Rotary International Park when the Rock Falls Rotary Club offered to help develop the park. Since the park was donated it has seen several improvements including construction on the parking facilities, a practice ball diamond and the installation of the playground equipment. The picnic shelter was added and completed the summer of 1984
The Little Red Schoolhouse & Historical Museum
The Little Red Schoolhouse and Historical Museum is located in the northeast corner of Centennial Park. This is a one-room schoolhouse which were abundant in Whiteside County in 1925. The Coloma Township Park District felt it only appropriate to dedicate such a facility to tie the past to the present. The dedication took place on July of 1985 as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Coloma Township Park District. The Little Red Schoolhouse was made possible by a gift received from the Allan V Sieglinger Memorial and Endowment Committee. The committee stated they felt that such a facility was needed to preserve a major part of history here in Whiteside County. The Little Red Schoolhouse has been constructed to look as authentic as possible. The all-wood building was constructed on a raised concrete foundation and features a crawl space underneath the floor. There is a parking lot located just south of the school for the publics convenience. The schoolhouse will serve two functions. First, it will be a museum to the past that is open to the public by appoi9ntment. As many original authentic one room schoolhouse items as possible are located in the facility and marked accordingly. It will serve as a tangible relic and an ongoing reminder of an age almost forgotten in today's society that helped shaped this great country. The second function is that it will be a working facility. The Coloma Township Park District is holding the recreational orientate preschool "Tot Time" program in the facility 4 days per week in the Morning and in the evenings, the Park District is holding youth and adult skill programs such as art classes, photography and craft classes.