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New Name for Hometown Park

The Hometown Park now features two informational markers detailing the history of the facility.

The roadside park along Route 62 in Hometown has a new name — a name which has links to the days when coal mining was booming in the area. The new moniker, Mitchell’s Grove, was revealed in a rededication event which was held on Friday, May 17. The event featured the musical talents of up-and-coming singer Mason Adkins of Winfield, as well as several local craft vendors.

Putnam County Parks and Recreation has installed two new informational markers at the Hometown Park, one which details the history of Mitchell’s Grove, and one which discusses the broader history of mining in Putnam County. Other improvements at the park include the installation of a disc golf basket, new mulch around the swing sets, refreshed paint on the picnic tables, and various other repairs.
In the 1920’s, the Hatfield and Mitchell Coal and Mining Company established a small recreation area for their workers in the area where the modern day Hometown Park is located. The superintendent of the mining company was William C. Mitchell, and the recreation area became known to locals as Mitchell’s Grove, or simply The Grove.

Since the park was created for coal miners, it is only fitting that several coal miners acted as caretakers over the years. In the 1940’s, this job fell to Christopher Columbus Priddy, a miner who lost his arm in an accident. In the 1950’s, Herbert H. Meeks, another disabled miner, oversaw the park’s upkeep.

Even though Putnam County’s coal mining days ended in the 1940’s, the park continued to be used by the community for picnics and family gatherings. The park even boasted a drinking fountain with running water, a feature not offered by other facilities in the area. The water fountain is still there to this day, although it is currently out of commission.

Putnam County Parks Director Justin Williams is interested in the future of Mitchell’s Grove and how the park might be used by the community. One of the purposes of the rededication event was to gage interest in the facility. While no more official events are planned for the park at this time, the public is welcome to gather there and enjoy this scenic location rich with history. Reservations are not needed as the Hometown Park operates on a first come, first serve basis, but organizers of larger events are asked to contact Putnam County Parks and Recreation prior to making plans to use the facility.

Winfield-based musician Mason Adkins performed at the rededication ceremony.
Children have fun on the playground equipment at Mitchell’s Grove. In the background are various vendors which were set up for the rededication event.
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