Harrison Park - Hammond, Indiana
1898 - 1920

  Every family and every child in Hammond has, at one time or another, visited or played in Harrison Park, located on south central area of Hohman Avenue. City picnics, fishing derbies sponsored by the Park Department, public swimming (before the water became polluted and it was closed to swimming), city parades with marching bands, veterans groups, parade floats and scout troops met here before marching through the city.  


1907 Holiday Parade down Hohman Avenue



Harrison Park was acquired by the City of Hammond in 1898. This 25 acre park was a former cow pasture on south Hohman Avenue and sat across the street Fred Mott who happened to be Hammond's mayor.. Mott came under political attack for having a city park developed across the street from his residence. Local residents referred to the area as "Mott's Front Yard." The area south of Harrison Park was called Homewood





"Harrison Park was a cow-pasture and had the first barbed-wire fence I ever saw. The cows of thirty families of the town were kept here. I had to take our cow there each morning and call for her in the later afternoon. The men who watched after them during the day received $1 a month from each family - $30 per month was a real tidy sum in those days."

Warren A. Reeder, "Pages from the Past," 1991. p, 26








    Mystery Solved!

Although this 1916 picture postcard refers to the gravel path as "Harrison Park Speedway", it may have been improperly described by the photographer, anxious to show Hammond as an attractive place to live and to sell more postcards.

But the "speedway" may have been nothing more than an oval track used by high school athletes. An April 17, 1917 newspaper article talks about Hammond High School students using Harrison Park for training in track and field..

Thanks to HHS'59 classmate, Larry Crozier who researched this and solved the mystery!


    This early 1900 photo shows part of the small island surrounded by a watery moat. The size of the trees and the absence of the trees on the island date the photo.  
    This 1909 photo was called the Lagoon, a small island is seen in the center which was accessible from a white wooden bridge. The "island" would later be called "Wooden Island" because it had a small growth of trees. The path in the foreground may have been part of the "speedway track" mentioned above.  
    Finally, a 1911 hand colored photograph showing the footbridge spanning the water to the small island. This photo was taken looking east... you can see the railroad cars on the horizon in the Hammond switchyard.