Once a cow pasture, now the centerpiece of Guttenberg – Ingleside Park has been loved by generations of locals and travelers. Just as the town is intertwined with the Mississippi River, it is nearly impossible to describe the city of Guttenberg without mentioning Ingleside Park. Yet in the early 1900s, the park so integral to the city’s character was thick with weeds, garbage, and dairy cows. In 1902 a group of eight visionary women formed the Ingleside Club and began to transform the pasture into the three-mile park it is today.
In honor of the Ingleside Club and their great accomplishment and the 115th anniversary of their incorporation, Umbrella Arts have announced a cow theme for its fourth annual community sculpture project. Community members, organizations, and businesses are invited to create cows from wood, metal, corplastic, or other material of their choosing. Sculptures can be three-dimensional or flat and must be submitted by June 23.
“Cow sculptures are invited to be part of the June 30 River of Music concert, where Uncle Sam’s Band will participate in a half-time celebration,” said Juanita Loven, founder of Umbrella Arts and a member of Ingleside Club. Finished sculptures may be brought to Ingleside Park for the evening to commemorate a time when cows roamed the park.
The women of the Ingleside Club and their husbands put a great amount of effort into transforming the pasture into a park. One story tells of a cow owner who did not want to remove her cow from the pasture, and in protest refused to sell milk to an Ingleside member. As the pasture was starting to take on the appearance of a park, it became clear to the woman that this change was going to be positive for the community.
Hauling buckets of water from the river to tend to plantings, Ingleside Club members kept up the park themselves until 1930. It was then handed over to the City of Guttenberg, but the club continued their good work. Following in the footsteps of their founding mothers, the group remains active in land beautification projects, including contributing to the maintenance of Triangle Park on North River Park Drive and over 20 years of service in the Iowa DOT highway clean-up program. In 2003, the club raised $30,000 for a project to extend the park’s sidewalk all the way to the railroad tracks. Their commitment to the community remains firm, as they continue to support the arts, Guttenberg’s libraries, and Clayton Ridge scholarship programs.
Ingleside Club member Kay Degnan wrote the following at the time of the club’s 75th anniversary. “Over the years, the Ingleside Cub accomplished many things, but I concentrated on the park — their first and probably greatest contribution to the city, and for which they have never stopped working. It is a great memorial to the Ingleside Club. It stands for many wonderful memories: of pleasant times, of hard work, of laughter, of efforts of husbands and family members, of community togetherness, of accomplishment, and the enduring memories of our founders. The struggle to establish and maintain this beautiful area for the city is self-rewarding. It is enjoyed not only locally, but by everyone who comes to view it. It attracts many tourists and has become quite famous.”
To participate in the cow sculpture project, submit a photo of your entry with name, address and phone number to Juanita Loven at firstname.lastname@example.org. Prizes will be awarded to entries in traditional and whimsical categories. For more information, call 563-252-1310.
Photo courtesy of Umbrella Arts.