Harmon-Patridge Rededication

The following was written by Piper Brewer, Chair of the Historical Commission of the City of Owosso and presented by Master-of-Ceremonies Kevin Brown, a member of the Parks & Recreation Commission at the rededication ceremony September 22, 2002.


Welcome everyone! Welcome Representative Julian, City of Owosso representatives, Owosso Township representatives, Rotarians and Kiwanians. Thank you all for coming today to the re-dedication of this park. I am Kevin Brown of the Owosso Parks & Recreation Commission.

In September, 1928, 74 years ago, this part of the Green Meadows Farm along the Shiawassee River was given by Mrs. Laura Patridge to the City of Owosso. Her great grandson is Allan Getman, who is here with us today to celebrate the park's re-dedication. When these 13 acres were donated by Mrs. Patridge to be used only for a park, $2,000 was also donated by the Harmon Foundation of New York for improvements (Could this be the same? A Google.com search turned up - "The Harmon Foundation, a socially progressive organization founded in the 1920s and perhaps best known for creating the Harmon Collection of African-American art at the National Portrait Gallery" ??) Hence the name Harmon-Patridge Park. It is also known as Green Meadows Park named for the Green Meadows Farm.

The farm consisted of a total 200 acres that ran between the river and M-52 (then called M-47). The present 4-lane highway was a two-lane dirt road when the large farmhouse and barn were built in 1885. The farm ran 3/4 of a mile along m-52 from the Owosso city limits to Wilkinson Road.

The farm was bought by Laura Patridge's father, Mr. Pierce, for his daughter and her husband, Worthy Patridge. Allan Getman's middle name is Pierce. It was a beautiful farm that had nine acres of apple orchard. Laura Patridge died three years after she donated the land. Laura Lane is named for her. Laura's daughter, Carrie, and her husband, George Mason Getman, inherited the farm. They kept a lot of cows and also several sheep which were always sheared in late March.

Their son, George Arnold Getman, and his wife, Hilda, carried on the farm for many years. When George was growing up, long before it became a park, he used to bring the cows down to the river to get a drink here. Their sons, George Jr. and Allan, were the fourth generation to live and work on the Green Meadows farm.

Also, one of Owosso's famous native sons, James Oliver Curwood, also enjoyed spending many hours writing some of his short stories here beneath a large oak tree (which still stands at the north end of the park). This was one of Curwood's favorite places along the Shiawassee River and we agree with him that over 74 years later, it is one of the nicest places still.

Before Allan Getman does the honor of cutting the ribbon for the re-dedication, the Owosso Parks & Recreation Commission would like to thank the many individuals and organizations that have helped both financially and with the hundreds of hours of volunteer labor toward the many improvements in the park. 85th District Representative Larry Julian, for helping get the grant for the improvements; the Owosso Rotary Club for the pavilions; the Cook Family Foundation for the canoe launch; Owosso Kiwanis Club for the picnic tables; City of Owosso Employees and Volunteers, including those from the Community Integration Program at Shiawassee County Community Mental Health; John Archer, Owosso Building Supervisor, who designed the pavilions and helped build them with his son, Jonathan; Phil Hathaway, City Planning Director, for the Clean Michigan Initiative grant (he wrote it); Stan Jelinek, Bill Brooks, Mark Sedlak and Ron Baker (City Engineer) who all worked on the equipment and pavilions; Mayor John C.M. "Jack" Davis.

The Owosso Parks & Recreation Commission now invites you to enjoy the complimentary lunch, canoe rides, fly fishing demonstration, face painting and games provided today by Owosso Rotary, Celia's Restaurant, the Shiawassee Arts Council, Meijer of Corunna, Bannan's Foodland, McDonald's and Sue Osika, of the Shiawassee Chapter of the American Red Cross. Thank you all! Allan, please do the honors. (A "ceremonial" ribbon cutting, with the ribbon and over-sized scissors provided by the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce then took place).

It was a FUN DAY. Hope you enjoyed it if you were there and sorry you missed it if you weren't!