Although the year 2020 did not allow Plymouth’s Centennial Park to play host to the 53rd Annual Marshall County Blueberry Festival, it will remember the man whose vision for its future allowed it to become home to Indiana’s largest four day festival. Mayor Charles O. Glaub as the 27th mayor to serve the people of Plymouth, had a dream to expand then 53 year old Centennial Park to include an adjacent 78 acres of farm and orchard ground owned by Alice E. Pratt and once home to the Allen Rudd Family. The Glaub family recalls many Sunday drives about the city after church and breakfast at Schori’s. But they especially remember the rides down a farm lane in the family Buick to hear more of his vision for a better park system as he pointed out every ball diamond.
In September of 1970, Mayor Glaub presented this idea to the Park Board, headed by President Jack Wilhelm, Dr. Leslie Parrett, Shirley Morrow, Russ Moriarty, and Carl Coplen. With the support of Wilhelm, Director Al Lattimer and Superintendent Adrian Allen, the plan was submitted for review and in October it received full approval by the city council to move forward on the $52,000 purchase. An estimated cost for the entire project reached $418,000. Federal funds were obtained from the Division of Outdoor Recreation, a program administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Now marking the 50th anniversary of that decision, Mayor Mark Senter as stated in his 2020 ‘state of the city’ remarks, honor will be given Mayor Charles O. Glaub in the naming of that addition.
This in turn received the support of the Plymouth Parks and Recreation Board. Park Board President, Dave Morrow has announced that on Saturday, September 26th at 10 a.m. near the Randolph Drive north entrance, a public dedication ceremony will take place with the unveiling of signs announcing that you are entering The Charles O. Glaub Addition to Centennial Park. All are invited to attend.
The original Centennial Park was named in March of 1917 after the city acquired the 24 acre fairgrounds and in 1916 for a sum of $6,000. The new addition was designed by architect Dan Woolley of the William Wilcockson architectural firm, city engineer Arthur Thomson and greatly assisted by city attorney’s Richard Joyce and William Fortin. The project was nearly complete in 1973 with the installation of new electric, water and sewer lines throughout the old and new park, a covered bridge (named after Thomson) connecting the two sectors, new ball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, and pavilions for picnics, shuffleboard, walking trails and a dog park compliment this addition that has now served generations.
Charles Orlando “Chuck” Glaub was elected mayor of Plymouth in 1968. He and his brother Walter A. Glaub owned and operated the G&G Supermarket that was founded by their father Charles H. Glaub, as well a former mayor of Plymouth. Chuck and Walt were cut of the same cloth as generations of the Glaub Family have provided public service.
Henry C. Freyman was acting superintendent of Centennial Park from 1929 until 1947 and was instrumental in growing the beauty of the park from a ‘cow pasture’ to include ball diamonds laced with shrubbery and flower gardens. The many large trees providing shade today were of his making. He resigned at the age of 81.
In fact some of Chuck’s fondness for the park may have come from his love for and marriage to Helen Klein, the granddaughter of Henry C. Freyman. Together they raised four children; Cathy, Charles, John and Andrew. Helen recalled this memory… “When I was in grade school we would go to ‘Grandpa’s park’. We would take wax paper off a loaf of bread and run to the ‘Curly Q’. By the ‘Curly Q’ there were two slides, one straight and the other one was wavy. Before long grandpa would come to the door and start yelling at the boys, who were trying to walk up the slides the wrong way. That brought him outside in a hurry!! Grandpa and grandma lived at the park in a small three room house. Grandma had a large flower garden. She won a merit award in 1929 for her beautiful flowers in the community.”
Mayor Glaub and Walt who became the head of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce had the same mindset for Plymouth as did the Nation’s 35th President John F. Kennedy when stating; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Together, they were able to accomplish much throughout the city.
Expanding Centennial Park and many other improvements during the Glaub administration were highly applauded. His ability to garner grants from state and federal agencies helped expand services in other areaslike the shaping of an industrial complex under PIDCO, waste water treatment, child day-care services, housing for low-income older adults, paving the way for a new hospital and the construction of New Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel. Quite possibly his greatest achievement for the city of Plymouth lies hidden today. During his fifth term in office, when it became critical for the city to separate storm water from the sewer system and disrupt nearly every street in doing so, he was warned it would cost him the election. He signed on to the project because; “It’s the right thing to do.”
The rest is history.
Provided by Randy Danielson