Whenever someone thinks about parks in Noblesville, usually Forest Park or James A. Dillon Park comes to mind. There are, however, two lovely “pocket” parks in old town Noblesville that not only add to the quality of life for the immediate neighbors, but also host city-wide events that have become traditions for our city. Those parks are Seminary Park, located on South 10th Street between Hannibal and Division streets and Southside Park, located on Pleasant Street between Third and Fourth streets.
The Gazebo in Seminary Park has been a focal point for various functions. During the warmer months, numerous weddings are held there. In the summer, the Gazebo has been the home for various Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission performances. It seems like just yesterday when Jane Campbell approached then-Mayor Mary Sue Rowland with the idea for a theater in the park. The mayor contacted me and asked whether I thought such a proposal would work on such a small property. My response was let’s try. A very young NHS drama teacher, Gregg Richards, proposed “Shakespeare in the Park,” and thus a new tradition was born. This year’s production will be “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Friday and Saturday and Aug. 2, 3 and 4.
That was 20 years ago. Since then, the Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission has added a two-month-long concert series to the Seminary calendar during July and August. The series features a wide range of music from small classical ensemble groups to the Army Jazz Band. This year’s concerts are performed every Sunday in July and August and begin at 6:30 p.m. Admission to all Seminary Park performances is free.
Southside Park has been a source of pride for near-south-side residents for many years. The ball diamond has served as a location for both softball and baseball games. The basketball court was a hotbed for Indiana’s favorite game and, one season, the park was the practice site for the Noblesville Football Grinders.
A longtime south side resident, Tomasina Anderson, lead the effort to beautify the park by adding flower gardens and, eventually, vegetable gardens. Inspired by these efforts, the Rev. Jay Miller and his congregation decided to bring a huge neighborhood activity to the park and the “Proud Heritage Picnic” was established. But, this year’s picnic will be Sept. 29 and will be hosted at Seminary Park, so that they can increase their reach and celebrate their heritage.