They are places of rest and relaxation. They are places of excitement and activity. There are places of meaning and memories. They are parks. Throughout our history we have carved out parcels of space to use for man’s need to revive, refresh, and reenergize ourselves. A park can be a place of quiet rolling hills given over to pools of clear waters spotted by graceful gliding swans that quietly reminds us of the beauty in our world. A park can be a place of bone crunching, stand’s screeching, and cowbell ringing sports arenas. Lastly, a park can be a place where history happened and continues to bore into our mind their actions that defined who we are as a generation.
The city leaders are deciding how they determine the name for the newly designed and hard fought for “park” located in old Dacula, near the railroad tracks, next to the city pharmacy. This tract of land has a long history. This tract of land has a citizen fight in its past. This new amenity needs a name. We do not want just any old name, no; we want a name worthy of this place.
How have the thousands of parks in America gotten their names? Why was each park named what it was named? Most park names come from one of three origins. First, a park can be names for a historical event that took place in the vicinity of the park. The name could be about a battle or a historical person. Parks like Centennial Olympic Park, Gettysburg, and Bowling Green Park are examples of parks where past historical events determined their names.
Another way to name a park is by its location or natural landmark that may be near the area. Stone Mountain Park is obviously named for the massive granite stone/mountain located there. Red Hood Park is located in the Red Hood neighborhood. Tallulah Gorge State Park is located in Tallulah, Georgia. Many times the name of a park is determined by the location of a park.
Another way a park is given its name is in honor of a historical person or a fallen person. Many past greats have been honored when their names are given to a park. At times, self-serving public officials see themselves important enough to have a park carry their names. A backlash from this back slapping honor is being challenged by many public entities by requiring personal names can only be used after the person has passed away. This stipulation judges if a person’s life achievements can withstand the test of time and not current politics. Henry Schmidt Park, Muir State Park and Roberto Clemente State Park are examples of honor name parks.
Sounds like hundreds of keen thinkers before us have laid out three simple ways to name our park; historical event method, natural landmark method, or a historical person or fallen person manner. First, let’s look at the historical event way of naming our new park. Do we have any noted historical events that are worthy of naming our park after? Our city was developed due to the railroad, so maybe the Seaboard Park, or Hamilton Park or even Hoke Park might do the trick. ( http://www.oldplaces.org/gwinnettga/towns/dacula.)
Secondly, we might employ the natural landmark/location method. The landmarks around that area might produce the names Main Street Park, Seaboard Park, Tracks Park, Railroad Park, Bridge Park, Old Oak Park, Historical City Park, or even Citizen’s Battle Park. If we were to use the location way, we could name it Dacula City Park. City of Dacula Park, Dacula Park, or Old Town Center Park. Hmmm.
Finally, the third method of naming a park is using a name of a historical, tragic, or famous person that has left the community a better place. Since we have had over 11 mayors in our history, any one of those could carry the name. How could we choose one mayor over another? Maybe one name sounds better than the others. Which rolls off your tongue better; Ambrose Park or Pharr Park? Do we have any worthy people in our past or present that would be worthy of a park’s name? How about Atherton Park? Atherton? Atherton is the last name of the man that has, for the last 18 years, developed and directed the Dacula Memorial Day Parade. How about Stone Park, the name of the man who has put together the festival on Memorial Day. How about the lady that fought for the library so hard?
I think any of the above methods are proper and sound. I know the park and gazebo was built for the citizens of Dacula to come down to the shops and places that are already there in Old Dacula proper. I feel that Dacula has moved further out that the area around the tracks. It is not a bad thing, it is just reality. Businesses build where they can find enough land to layout their developments and let’s face it, there is no space left downtown. We simple market the area as “Old Town” as all our neighboring towns have done.
Yet, let’s take that one step further, I think we need a title that will announce that something new, different, and exciting is happening in Old Town Dacula. What if we were to give the park and gazebo a name that would create an entirely new reason to visit downtown? I vote for the name "Gazebo of Love at Engagement Park!" It is just a good as Hamilton Gazebo at Dacula Park! These names will cause visitors to come to our quaint town with a specific reason. For years to come the question will be asked, ”Where did he propose to you?” “I can’t believe it, he found a quaint place called ‘The Gazebo of Love in Engagement Park!’ " “Wow! He is a keeper!” Don’t laugh! Niagara Falls is still in the honeymooning business! Let’s face it, Dacula Park is about as engaging as wet noodles. Just saying!