Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gypsy Hill Park

Painting of the bandstand in Gypsy Hill Park by Staunton resident Mary Ann Vessey

Gypsy Hill Park is a 214 acre recreational destination adjacent to the northwest edge of downtown. The park began as the site of Staunton's water supply in the mid 1800s, when several springs dispensed water to the city via a pumping station. In 1876 the city purchased 30 acres of land around the springs to protect the water supply; by 1890 the city had acquired 90 acres and established a recreational tract known as Gypsy Hill Park, named for the wandering gypsies who camped near the springs. Throughout the 20th century expansion of the park, residents and visitors have been able to experience much of its original Victorian character and charm. For 25 years the Statler Brothers gave Independence Day concerts here to an audience of 100,000 fans. Facilities include a bandstand, golf course, swimming pool, barbecue areas, baseball fields, basketball courts, bicycle paths, duck pond, fishing, fitness station, football and soccer fields, horseshoes, mini-train, picnic shelters, playgrounds, running tracks, action skate park, tennis and volleyball courts.

Trivia (swear I'm not making this stuff up!):

There is a German made medium field Howitzer 8.8 ton cannon aimed at a row of houses behind a line of trees near the duck pond. Hmmm. It seems this was WW II "booty" shipped home by our armed forces. Great! A 17,600 pound souvenir.

Hollywood comes to Shenandoah! Portions of Evan Almighty were filmed in Staunton and nearby Waynesboro in the spring of 2006. In this still, Evan Baxter (portrayed by Steve Carell) is on the campaign trail (in Gypsy Hill Park).

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