In the 75 years since its inception, Crawford State Park has compiled quite a history for itself.

BY BRETT DALTON
THE MORNING SUN
In the 75 years since its inception, Crawford State Park has compiled quite a history for itself.
From the first groundwork on the site in 1935 to the recent addition of new cabins, the park’s past is full of important dates and events that help make the park what it is today.
Steve Hoyle, a retired educator turned part-time park worker, recently paid homage to the park’s past by spending five months research and compiling some of the site’s most important dates into the booklet, “Crawford State Park: A Chronology 1934-2009.”
Hoyle said he created the booklet to both celebrate the park’s 75th anniversary and to help shed some light on the site’s history.
“It was timely,” he said, “with this year being the 75th anniversary. Plus, it’s been needed. There has been no compilation of facts and data and event leading up to today since the park’s inception.
“The information has been scattered,” he said. “It’s been just hearsay or it’s been in people’s drawers. But that information becomes public knowledge and publicly accessible if we can put it into a volume like this.”
The book includes as much information about the park’s past as Hoyle could uncover, he said. To research the subject, Hoyle searched through public records at the Crawford County Courthouse, read past issues of The Girard Press, visited the Special Collections department at Pittsburg State University and interviewed past and present residents of the area.
“I really looked every place I could,” he said. “I just started digging.”
Hoyle said the book he created is a starting point for those interested in the park’s history — a rough outline of the site’s first 75 years. He knows there is more information out there, and he encourages anyone who has possession of that history to come forward.
“Having looked at these last 75 years,” Hoyle said, “the park’s history is mostly still loose and unfinished. We want the public to come forward. I know there is more information out there that I haven’t uncovered. A lot of it is just going to be in people’s memories or in their private files.
“There are probably some other events that have happened that people know about or have records of that I couldn’t find,” he said. “I’d like this (book) to be a call to the public to contact me and we’ll get a document here that is more complete.”
Hoyle said anyone who would like to speak to him about the park’s history should call him at 620-362-3180. He said his book can be purchased by calling him and it’s also available at the park and the Girard Public Library.

A LOOK BACK
May 1935: Work begins on the site.
June 1949: J.O. Baker’s dad, Clyde Baker, puts in one of the early cabins – a caboose from $10.
February 1965: Dwight Reed becomes the park’s first manager.
June 1977: Farlington Lake’s Office and Shop building is constructed.
May 1986: Albert Dingus catches a 12.5-pound, 29.25-inch striped bass.
May 1997: The Drywood Creek Mountain Bike Trail opens.
April 2009: The Evening Breeze Cabins are ready for use.