It was a very special weekend for the Park at Morrisons Cove, as generations of volunteers and supporters celebrated the 90th anniversary of this very special recreational facility.
What started as an idea by picnickers in the 1920s has grown and evolved to meet the needs of the community around it. It is an ever-changing, yet always-present treasure of Martinsburg and the surrounding region.
The park has not only supported the community of Morrisons Cove, it has been defined by it. Agriculture is rich in the region, and the park has been home to livestock shows, and other events showcasing farm culture. The area is rich in recreation; the park provides facilities for a wide variety of sports and activities. The region is dedicated to family; the park has marked the milestones of generations: weddings, fairs, festivals, reunions and memorial services.
During Saturday evening's celebration dinner, the park honored a long-time volunteer and former board president, Samuel G. Beegle, who has served the park for decades. His love of the park, and talent with woodworking can be found everywhere you look, from the sign welcoming guests, to bookshelves and benches, to the very podium at which he expressed his deep appreciation for the honor.
Through the park's 90 years, it has not relied on government funding. Just as a grassroots effort forged the foundation of the Park, volunteer work and fundraising has sustained it, keeping the facility going through all of society's ups and downs, never once closing its doors in the last 90 years.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Park in its 10th decade will be connecting with the next generation. Kids today seem to make more friends online than they do on a playground. Appealing to teenagers whose social circles revolve around Facebook and video games is much more difficult than it was in the 1920s, when pick-up baseball games and afternoons at the pool were mainstays of summertime fun.
Morrisons Cove Memorial Park began as a tribute to local war veterans, and a dream of a beautiful picnic area for residents to enjoy. Today, it is all of those things, and so much more. Board President Luanne Eckenrode compared it to a resort, complete with banquet facilities, swimming, bowling, roller skating, playgrounds, basketball courts, little league field, camping, and even a community library, all in one quaint and beautiful place.
There is no doubt that the park is ready and able to face the challenges and needs of today's families. Those attending the 90th anniversary celebration shared an appreciation of the park that only time can provide. Young people enjoying the park today will undoubtedly share the sentimentality and nostalgia with generations who have come before them.
Congratulations to all who have helped make the Park everything that it is, and all that it will be for many more anniversaries to come.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.